You may not be able to. Don't let your friend influence your choice.
My take, rats are a hard pet to beat, smart enough to learn any sort of trick, not the dirty vermin many believe.
Very social, and affectionate
My mom had two main fears, spiders and mice, but still loved nature and the wee animals.
I found a baby orphaned mouse in he house, we couldn't just kill the thing and I wanted to keep it.
A vet a couple doors up helped me convince mom it would be just fine but the rule was, if it smelled, it was gone.
Had to learn a lot nursing baby mice but in time, grew up. Took longer my mom watching me hold and treat him, eventually she held him once in her hand watching him nibble on nuts, I think that was her turning point, but never got familiar with them for trust. Even she was saddened when he died of old age, lived even longer than the vet had though. As yet, the best pet rodent I have had out of dozens.
Yea, I like spiders too and kept a number of them.