What should I do if it bothers me that my friends do wrong things but they won’t listen to mussar? They just joke about it when I try to correct them.
The first thing is to look for other friends. And if you have no other friends, then you should be your best friend. I mean that! The truth is that nobody will care about you more than yourself. Your success in this world is dependent on you alone. So be your own best friend and start accomplishing. Are you going to push off making something of yourself for another whole year?!
It’s interesting that some Gedolim never had any chaveirim. The Chofetz Chaim didn’t have any chaveirim. People would come to his home and he would honor them and do chesed but he didn’t chaver with anybody.
Why not?! Because it is a waste of time. With a friend you’ll have to chaver. So you’ll sit and talk and you’ll be nichshal in loshon harah. You’re nichshal in bitul zman. You’re throwing your life away. The Chofetz Chaim did chesed. He did hachnasas orchim all the time. But he didn’t chaver with anybody for the sake of friendship. He didn’t go to any chaveirim. He didn’t associate with anybody more than was necessary. You don’t need friends. Hakodosh Boruch Hu is your friend. You yourself are your best friend.
Now, if you find the right person – someone who is going to help you learn Mesillas Yesharim – of course, why not? “Asei li’cha Rav. U’knei li’cha chaver.” Otherwise, forget about friends. People complain that they don’t have friends. Who cares that he has no friends?! I don’t have any friends. I never needed friends. Who cares for friends?!
If you want a good friend, take Mesillas Yesharim. He’s a very good friend, the Mesillas Yesharim. I guarantee you, a very good friend. Now, if somebody is sad and disheartened, let him find somebody to console him. Somebody, but not a friend. Run to a friend and you might get wrong advice. Go to a chochom. To a ba’al Torah. To a ba’al yo’eitz and he’ll give you good advice. It’s a very good idea to adopt somebody as your Rebbi. Rav Yisroel Salanter said that you could have a Rebbe for halacha and a different Rebbe for pilpul. And another Rebbe for Mussar. It doesn’t have to be the same Rebbe.
So make a commitment for this Rosh Hashanah. You want to live, don’t you? It’s fun to be alive. You want to be a success, don’t you? So choose a Rebbe for Mussar. Choose a Rebbe for Yiras Shamayim. Choose a Rebbe for halacha. Choose a Rebbe to pasken shai’lohs. Choose a Rebbe for pilpul. Each one is a separate Beis Medrash. And make sure to utilize all of them.