Friends are a great thing, but it's best to have the right friends. The Bible gives us various warnings about having the wrong friends and being in bad company. As such, we should all learn to choose who our friends will be.
To help you in choosing the right friends, here are a few tips:
1. Don't look at the outward appearances of people
It may look nice to make friends with that good-looking or decent-looking person there. But outward appearance shouldn't even be a part of your criteria. It wasn't part of God's, and neither should it be part of yours.
Consider how God instructed Samuel to look for David, Israel's beloved King, after God rejected Saul.
"But the Lord said to Samuel, 'Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.'' (1 Samuel 16:7)
David, who was "ruddy, with bright eyes, and good looking," apparently did not look kingly in Samuel's eyes, but he was the perfect choice for God (see 1 Samuel 16:12). In the same way, we should not choose who to accept and favour using just our eyes.
2. Consider their attitudes and behavior
1 Corinthians 15:33 gives us a sober warning: "Do not be deceived: 'Evil company corrupts good habits.'" We should discern what kind of people we want to be with. Are they good or bad influences?
Yes, we were commanded to reach out to everyone. But making friends with ungodly people will pose some danger to us. Jesus indeed became the "Friend of sinners" and spent time with them. But He spent more time with God the Father and His disciples.
In the same way, we should discern,but not become judgmental of others. Be wary of those who practice the works of the flesh, and avoid being one with them. See Galatians 5:19-21 for a list of works of the flesh.
2 Corinthians 6:14 also reminds us, "Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?"
3. Avoid people of counterfeit faith
Paul reminded young Timothy that he should turn away from some kinds of people – those who appear to be religious but are actually fake. Great thing is that we can recognise them by their fruits. Here's what Paul said, according to 2 Timothy 3:1-5.
"But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!"