A mishnah in chapter one of Pirkei Avot says, “Provide a teacher for yourself, buy yourself a friend and judge every man favorably.”

The Lubavitcher Rebbe says that these words provide us with instructions for relating to three different kinds of people.

There are righteous people, whom we should strive to emulate. When we meet special people like these, we can fulfill the first words of the mishnah, “Provide a teacher for yourself.” We can look up to them as inspiring role models.

Then there are people who are close to our own level, people who struggle with the same challenges that we do. These are the people we want to befriend, to “buy” as friends, because if we want to grow in our service of G‑d and in Torah study, we need good friends who will make sure we stay focused.

Then there are those people who don’t inspire us, who are on a low spiritual level. The mishnah concludes by saying that instead of judging the people we see as being on a lower level than us, we should look at them in a positive light and judge them favorably.