"A man who has friends must himself be friendly."1
The North American Indians had no written language before they met the white man. Their language, however, was far from primitive. Many of the Indians had as many words in their vocabulary as their English and French exploiters. Some of their words were much more picturesque, too. For example, "friend" to the Indians was "one-who-carries-my-sorrows-on-his-back."
Every one of us needs at least one trusted Indian-type friend with whom we can share our deepest sorrows and disappointments. We all need a helping hand and a listening ear when we're going through difficult times; a shoulder to cry on when we are hurting, loving arms to hug us when we are lonely, and a good friend to laugh with us when we are happy.
Choose friends who are encouragers. Avoid as far as possible friends who are negative—and those "who are cursed with the affliction to give advice" when it is neither asked for nor wanted. They're not your friends. They will drain you. Being loving doesn't mean that we let people walk over us. Being "as Jesus" to people often requires tough love which, when necessary, is the most loving thing to do.
And most important of all … be an Indian-type friend!
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to be an Indian-type friend to others and at the same time not allow others to walk over me. Give me the wisdom to know when to exercise tough love and the courage to do this when called for—but always in the Spirit and love of Jesus. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Proverbs 18:24 (NKJV).