“Better is open rebuke than hidden love” (v5). The proverbs remind us that God made us social creatures, and how we treat others, and they treat us, changes us for better or worse. We can handle direct criticism, especially from a friend (v6), better than being ignored. The “earnest counsel” (v9) of someone who cares about us lifts our hearts, and reliable, available friends support us like family (v10). Finally, how we interact with those closest to us, in our homes, can drag us down or build us up (v15).
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” (v17). Over the course of our lives, who we become depends greatly on the friends we choose.