Solomon wants us to be careful in selecting companions. He warns us against being enticed by evil-doers (1:10ff) and setting foot on the path of the wicked (4:14ff). He tells us that a righteous man is cautious in selecting friends (12:26). The reason of course is that you tend to act like those with whom you surround yourself. “He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm (13:20).
We want to find people who will influence us for good, but just as much, we want trustworthy people who will “have our back” while we have theirs. It’s not how many friends we have. It’s the quality of friends we have. “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (19:24). That’s the friend we want.
Relying on untrustworthy people is like having a lame foot or a bad tooth in times of trouble: the pain just compounds (25:19). On the other hand, relying on a trustworthy person is like a cool drink on a hot day (25:13).
We have to be careful who we surround ourselves with. But equally important, we have to be careful who we are. Wise, trustworthy, faithful people will not want to be our companions if we are not wise, trustworthy and faithful.