"If you judge people, you have no time to love them."
- Mother Teresa
Choosing good friends now (and a partner later on in one's life) is a difficult labyrinth to navigate for people in general, but teenagers is specific. Getting kids to trust your judgement and advice can be swayed one way or another, in part, by how we try to communicate our feelings with them. Unfortunately, standing on the pulpit of life experiences and preaching down to them (unintentionally in many cases) will only cause them to role their eyes and exclaim that mom and dad are rambling on and on in lecture mode again.
In fact, telling them that they are hanging out with a bad crowd will most certainly get you off their Christmas list. Trying to prevent them from doing so will just confirm in their minds that we are so out of touch, and preaching about the virtues of good friendship can only go so far without children seeing the same attribute demonstrated in your own life. However, parents also tend to rush to judgement and write potential friends off because of their initial looks, manners, and demeanor. Pushed to much, children might emotionally check out of your own life, preferring to seek friendship and companionship elsewhere.
Whatever the case might be, we should recognize that a friend is one who will help you live the standards you have set for yourself and will never ask or influence you to do otherwise even if your standards are different from your own.
Yes, yes! Life will get difficult and romantic love will only carry you so far, but if you have great friends (in my case, my wife), they will stay firm in the midst of the angry waves.