When I was a teenager (which wasn't that long ago), I hated one idea that my parents mentioned from time to time. The idea that I should hangout with the kids who perform well in school.

They didn't say that I should shun the others, but I felt that it was implied. I felt that choosing to hangout with the "good" kids was the equivalent of considering myself to be too good for the not-so-good kids. My parents, for their part, were giving this advice out of a desire for me to be a high-achiever at school. They kept on referring to their life experiences but I never agreed because it felt so contrary to the other values that they had taught me, such as that of valuing people simply because they were people instead of whatever merits they did or didn't have.

Turns out I was wrong.

What had irked me back then was that instead of determining my relationship to people without bias, my parents were asking me to be selfish and simply befriend people for the benefits that I might garner from their presence.

What I realize now is that they were asking me to befriend people for certain benefits in the same way that I had already been doing so. Don't I befriend those who are fun, who seem deep, who are funny, those who are attractive? Because I did it on an unconscious level, I had never realized it but everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, picks their friend for their benefits.

So in reality my parents were only asking me to pick friends based on what they consider the right traits. They were asking me to value intelligence more than sociability. They weren't asking me to be a different kind of person. Rather, they were asking me to value what they considered to be the most important trait, one that guarantees success.

Having grown older, I still disagree with them about picking more intelligent friends. I have friends that are very smart and those that aren't so smart. I think I still value amicable personality more than I do the ever so valuable asset of a good head on your shoulders.