“He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.” Proverbs 13:20
When our son was in late elementary school we talked to him about friendships. We talked about the difference between being friendly with people and making close friends. We talked about making sure that his close friends had the same basic values.
That’s something The Furry Guy and I strive to practice. We have a fairly wide variety of friends. We have friends whose political and religious views differ wildly from ours. We enjoy the time we spend with these people. We care about them. They are not, however, our closest friends.
Just like we explained to our son, close friends are those from whom you seek counsel. They’re the people you trust with your most intimate cares, concerns, and secrets. If a person doesn’t come from the same basic starting point, their advice is probably not going to lead you in the direction you’d like. For example, I believe that marriage is a covenant. It’s meant to last a lifetime. Divorce is only for the most dire of circumstances (abuse of any kind, infidelity, etc.). Every marriage goes through tough times, though. If during those times I turn to a friend who shares my value for marriage, they’re likely to suggest ways to get past that rough spot to another sweet spot. If, however, I turn instead to someone who believes that the most important thing is to be happy in the moment, they’re likely to suggest that I’d be better off leaving my marriage.
Think about your friendships. If you never spend time with people who think differently than you do, you’re likely to become very narrow in your perspective. Your closest friends, though, your trusted advisors, should have the same basic worldview. They don’t’ have to agree with you in everything. They just need to be on the same page.