25 Rules for Strong Friendships

We could all use a little help in the relationship department from time to time. Here are twenty-five “rules” for friendship, straight out of the book of Proverbs.

Rule #1: Don’t get mad over nothing.

Do not contend with a man for no reason, when he has done you no harm (Prov. 3:30).

Rule #2: Don’t try to change a friend who is unwise.

Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you (Prov. 9:8).

Rule #3: Hatred leads to more fighting. Choose love.

Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses (Prov. 10:12).

Rule #4: Don’t be two-faced.

The one who conceals hatred has lying lips (Prov. 10:18).

Rule #5: Don’t talk trash.

Whoever utters slander is a fool (Prov. 10:18).

Rule #6: Pick humble friends.

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom (Prov. 11:2).

Rule #7: Keep criticism to yourself.

Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent (Prov. 11:12).

Rule #8: Keep secrets.

Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered (Prov. 11:13).

Rule #9: Don’t be a mean girl.

A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself (Prov. 11:17).

Rule #10: Be an encourager.

Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad (Prov. 12:25).

Rule #11: Just because you think it doesn’t mean you have to say it.

Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin (Prov. 13:3).

Rule #12: Choose wise friends.

Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm (Prov. 13:20).

Rule #13: Don’t get mad easily.

Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly (Prov. 14:29).

Rule #14: Don’t be jealous.

A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot (Prov. 14:30).

Rule #15: Don’t be cranky.

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger (Prov. 15:1).

Rule #16: Stay away from that girl with the temper.

A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention (Prov. 15:18).

Rule #17: Get advice from wise friends.

Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed (Prov. 15:22).

Rule #18: Speak sweetly.

Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body (Prov. 16:24).

Rule #19: Don’t talk behind your friends’ backs.

A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends (Prov. 16:28).

Rule #20: Don’t get mad easily.

Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city (Prov. 16:32).

Rule #21: Don’t jump ship.

A friend loves at all times (Prov. 17:17).

Rule #22: Pick a few close friends over lots of acquaintances.

A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Prov. 18:24).

Rule #23: Don’t be easily offended.

Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense (Prov. 19:11).

Rule #24: Avoid the drama.

It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling (Prov. 20:3).

Rule #25: Don’t celebrate when your frenemy has trouble.

Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, lest the LORD see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him (Prov. 24:17–18).

What friendship rules has the Lord shown you in His Word? Which “rules” are the most challenging for you to live out?

About the Author

Erin Davis

Erin Davis is married to her high school sweetheart, Jason, and together they parent four energetic boys on their small farm in the midwest. She is the author of more than a dozen books and Bible studies, the content manager for Revive Our Hearts, and a host of the Grounded videocast. You can hear her teach on The Deep Well with Erin Davis podcast.