Quotations about   friends

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Continuous association with base men increases a disposition to crime.

[Φαύλων ὁμιλίη ξυνεχὴς ἕξιν κακίης συναέξει]

Democritus (c. 460 BC - c. 370 BC) Greek philosopher
Fragment 184 [tr. Freeman (1948)]
    (Source)

Collected in Joannes Stobaeus (Stobaios) Anthologium II, 31, 90

Alt. trans.
  • "Associating with scoundrels frequently increases the possession of wickedness." [tr. @sententiq, as Fr. 234]
  • "By associating with scoundrels, you will turn out a scoundrel"
  • "Continuous association with the wicked increases bad character."
Added on 26-Jun-20 | Last updated 26-Jun-20
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In politics you have no friends, only allies.

John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) US President (1961-63)
(Attributed)

A frequent maxim of Kennedy's.
Added on 29-May-20 | Last updated 29-May-20
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The presence of people we like gives a marvelous relish to our pleasures.

[C’est un merveilleux assaisonnement aux plaisirs qu’on goûte que la présence des gens qu’on aime.]

Molière (1622-1673) French playwright, actor [stage name for Jean-Baptiste Poquelin]
Le Misanthrope, Act 5, sc. 4 (1666) [tr. Page (1913)]
    (Source)

Alt. trans.: "It is a wonderful seasoning of all enjoyments to think of those we love." [tr. Wormeley (1894)]

Original French.
Added on 29-May-20 | Last updated 29-May-20
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[Tolerance] carries on when love gives out, and love generally gives out as soon as we move away from our home and our friends.

E. M. Forster (1879-1970) English novelist, essayist, critic, librettist [Edward Morgan Forster]
“The Unsung Virtue of Tolerance,” radio broadcast (Jul 1941)
    (Source)

Published as "Tolerance," Two Cheers for Democracy (1951)
Added on 19-Feb-20 | Last updated 19-Feb-20
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Animals are such agreeable friends — they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.

George Eliot (1819-1880) English novelist [pseud. of Mary Ann Evans]
“Mr. Gilfil’s Love Story,” ch. 7, Scenes of Clerical Life (1857)
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Added on 24-Mar-19 | Last updated 24-Mar-19
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Man has three friends on whose company he relies. First, wealth — which goes with him only while good fortune lasts. Second, his relatives — they go only as far as the grave and leave him there. The third friend, his good deeds, go with him beyond the grave.

The Talmud (AD 200-500) Collection of Jewish rabbinical writings
(Attributed)

I could not find an actual citation for this quotation, but the story (the explanation of a parable, in which a man is summoned before a king, and while his dearest friend will not go with him, and his second best friend will only go to the palace gates, his least-loved friend goes with him before the throne) shows up with different translation in multiple sources:
  • The Talmud: SelectionsPart 5 "Civil and Criminal Laws -- the Holy Days" - "The Day of Atonement" [tr. Polano (1876)].
  • Isaac Aboav, Lamp of Light [Menorat Hamoar] [14th C], Fifth Lamp "Teshuvah," Sec. 2 [ch. 3]  in Leonard Kravitz and Kerry Olitzky, <i>Journey of the Soul: Traditional Sources on the</i> Teshuvah (1995).
  • Talmudic and Other Legends [tr., comp. Weiss (1888 ed.), "Man's Three Friends" (Pirke R. Eliezer).
Added on 15-Jun-17 | Last updated 15-Jun-17
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When the character of a man is not clear to you, look at his friends.

Other Authors and Sources
Japanese proverb
Added on 21-Mar-17 | Last updated 21-Mar-17
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I have had playmates, I have had companions;
In my days of childhood, in my joyful school days —
All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.

Charles Lamb (1775-1834) Welsh-English essayist
“Old Familiar Faces” (1798)
Added on 20-Oct-16 | Last updated 20-Oct-16
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Fate chooses our relatives, we choose our friends.

Jacques Delille (1738-1813) French poet, translator
“Malheur et Pitié,” Canto 1 (1803)
Added on 3-Oct-16 | Last updated 3-Oct-16
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Be as careful of the books you read as of the company you keep, for your habits and character will be as much influenced by the former as the latter.

Edwin Paxton Hood (1820-1885) English nonconformist minister and author
Self-Formation (1858 ed.)
Added on 22-Sep-16 | Last updated 22-Sep-16
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We are as liable to be corrupted by our books as by our companions.

Henry Fielding (1707-1754) English novelist, dramatist, satirist
“A Fragment of a Comment on Lord Bolingbroke’s Essays” (1755)
Added on 8-Sep-16 | Last updated 8-Sep-16
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That is what trust is, you know: if we never had secrets from our friends and loved ones, there would never be any need for them to trust us.

Steven Brust (b. 1955) American writer, systems programmer
Orca [Kiera] (1996)
Added on 30-Jul-16 | Last updated 30-Jul-16
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Be very circumspect in the choice of thy company. In the society of thine equals thou shalt enjoy more pleasure; in the society of thy superiors thou shalt find more profit. To be the best in the company is the way to grow worse. The best means to grow better is to be the worst there.

Francis Quarles (1592-1644) English poet
Enchyridion, Book 2, ch. 24 (1641)
    (Source)
Added on 13-Jun-16 | Last updated 13-Jun-16
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Under a tyranny, most friends are a liability. One quarter of them turn “reasonable” and become your enemies, one quarter are afraid to speak, and one quarter are killed and you die with them. But the blessed final quarter keep you alive.

Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951) American novelist, playwright
It Can’t Happen Here (1935)
Added on 24-Nov-15 | Last updated 24-Nov-15
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Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: This is the ideal life.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
Mark Twain’s Notebook [ed. Paine (1935)]
Added on 27-Jul-15 | Last updated 26-Jan-19
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Our companions please us less from the charms we find in their conversation than from those they find in ours.

Fulke Greville (1554-1628) 1st Baron Brooke; Elizabethan poet, dramatist, and statesman
Maxims, Characters and Reflections, 98 (1757 ed.)
Added on 20-Oct-14 | Last updated 20-Oct-14
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He who has the most friends and the fewest enemies is the strongest.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (11 Nov 1752)
Added on 30-Sep-14 | Last updated 30-Sep-14
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Being honest may not get you many friends, but it’ll always get you the right ones.

John Lennon (1940-1980) English rock musician, singer, songwriter
(Attributed)

Frequently attributed to Lennon, but with no actual source ever provided.
Added on 24-Jul-14 | Last updated 24-Jul-14
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I don’t care about whose DNA has recombined with whose. When everything goes to hell, the people who stand by you without flinching — they are your family.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Proven Guilty (2006)
Added on 18-Mar-14 | Last updated 18-Mar-14
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Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.

Maya Angelou (1928-2014) American poet, memoirist, activist [b. Marguerite Ann Johnson]
Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now, ch. 2 “Passports to Understanding” (1993)
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Added on 21-May-09 | Last updated 23-May-20
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I live in the crowd of jollity, not so much to enjoy company as to shun myself.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English writer, lexicographer, critic
The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia, ch. 26 (1759)
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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 13-Oct-14
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In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, orator
“The Trumpet of Conscience,” Steeler Lecture (Nov 1967)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 7-Dec-15
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It is not so much our friends’ help that helps us as the confidence of their help.

Epicurus (341-270 BC) Greek philosopher
The Vatican Sayings

Alt. trans.: "It is not so much our friends' help that helps us as the confident knowledge that they will help us."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 20-Jan-19
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Alonso of Aragon was wont to say in commendation of age, that age appears to be best in four things — old wood best to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) English philosopher, scientist, author, statesman
Apothegms, # 97 (1624)

See Alfonso X.

Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 16-May-16
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Friendship improves happiness and abates misery, by the doubling of our joy and the dividing of our grief.

[Nam et secundas res splendidiores facit amicitia et adversas partiens communicansque leviores.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Amicitia, para. 22
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 20-Dec-13
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