Picture your life as blessed with many good friends. See yourself as part of a network of people who make time to speak with or see one another — frequently or occasionally. What's important is the quality and depth of the interactions.

Picture you and your friends laughing and talking together, sharing the ups and downs of your lives, discussing matters that are important, amusing, or perplexing. Envision yourself valuing the presence in your life of someone who is special to you, whose counsel you esteem, who delights in what delights you, who supplies a perspective that you can't get from members of your family because they may be too close to you and too enmeshed in your particular situation to provide wise and consistent counsel.

Imagine that you build your friendships for life, that regardless of the frequency of contact, you keep friends in your orbit. See yourself picking up where you left off, conversing whenever you encounter your friend as if no time had passed, even if years have gone by.

Picture your life enriched over the years by your friendships, how you celebrate your lives together. Imagine that you accommodate, accept, or tolerate the myriad changes that take place over the years, that you come through for your friends when they need you, that they make you feel special, that they participate in the important moments of your life.

See if you can imagine your friendships as a microcosm of the love that exists throughout your life and in the world, of the reciprocity and mutual regard with which your life is saturated. See if you can allow yourself to regard the overall condition of your life by the quality — and not the quantity — of your friendships.

Alan Epstein in How to Have More Love in Your Life