If I play them, it is never in middle position or EP. I would raise on the button or the cutoff.
Perhaps jump into a multiway pot that has been raised in LP.
That is IF I play them. 8-9s is garbage. If we are talkkng cash table, put 'em in thw muck. There will better opportunities to make money.
FWIW I ran 8-9 hearts vs. Black A-A in the odds
calculation app. 8-9 suited was 22% to win. I think your friend has no clue what he is talking about.
Edit: And furthermore- If you want to go against aces with hands like 8-9 you are a fool.