Quotations about   friendship

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Ultimately, the bond of all companionship, whether in marriage or friendship, is conversation.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
De Profundis, “Epistola: In Carcere et Vinculis” (1897)
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Added on 1-Jan-19 | Last updated 1-Jan-19
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One must be fond of people and trust them if one is not to make a mess of life, and it is therefore essential that they should not let one down. They often do. The moral of which is that I must, myself, be as reliable as possible, and this I try to be. But reliability is not a matter of contract — that is the main difference between the world of personal relationships and the world of business relationships. It is a matter for the heart, which signs no documents. In other words, reliability is impossible unless there is a natural warmth. Most men possess this warmth, though they often have bad luck and get chilled. Most of them, even when they are politicians, want to keep faith. And one can, at all events, show one’s own little light here, one’s own poor little trembling flame, with the knowledge that it is not the only light that is shining in the darkness, and not the only one which the darkness does not comprehend.

E. M. Forster (1879-1970) English novelist, essayist, critic, librettist [Edward Morgan Forster]
“What I Believe,” The Nation (16 Jul 1938)
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We don’t exist unless there is someone who can see us existing, what we say has no meaning until someone can understand, while to be surrounded by friends is constantly to have our identity confirmed; their knowledge and care for us have the power to pull us from our numbness. In small comments, many of them teasing, they reveal they know our foibles and accept them and so, in turn, accept that we have a place in the world.

Alain de Botton (b. 1969) Swiss-British author
The Consolations of Philosophy, ch. 2 “Consolation For Not having Enough Money” (2000)
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Added on 19-Oct-17 | Last updated 19-Oct-17
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Friendship, like love, is destroyed by long absence, though it may be increased by short intermissions.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English writer, lexicographer, critic
The Idler #23 (23 Sep 1758)
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The moral of it is, that if we would build on a sure foundation in friendship, we must love our friends for THEIR sakes rather than OUR OWN; we must look at their truth to THEMSELVES, full as much as their truth to US. In the latter case, every wound to self-love would be a cause of coldness; in the former, only some painful change in the friend’s character and disposition — some frightful breach in his allegiance to his better self — could alienate the heart.

Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855) British novelist [pseud. Currer Bell]
Letter to W S. Williams (21 Jul 1851)
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It’s no good trying to keep up old friendships. It’s painful for both sides. The fact is, one grows out of people, and the only thing is to face it.

W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) English novelist and playwright [William Somerset Maugham]
Cakes and Ale (1930)
Added on 1-Dec-16 | Last updated 1-Dec-16
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A friend in power is a friend lost.

Henry Adams (1838-1918) American journalist, historian, academic, novelist
The Education of Henry Adams, ch. 7 (1907)
Added on 20-Oct-16 | Last updated 20-Oct-16
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You find out who your real friends are when you’re involved in a scandal.

Elizabeth Taylor (b. 1932) American actress
Comment (1961)

When in Rome during the filming of Cleopatra and a highly publicized adulterous love affair with Richard Burton.
Added on 21-Sep-16 | Last updated 21-Sep-16
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Be slow in choosing a friend, slower in changing.

franklin-slower-in-changing-wist_info-quote

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist, philosopher
Poor Richard’s Almanack
Added on 19-Sep-16 | Last updated 19-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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There is nothing we like to see so much as the gleam of pleasure in a person’s eye when he feels that we have sympathized with him, understood him, interested ourself in his welfare. At these moments something fine and spiritual passes between two friends. These moments are the moments worth living.

Don Marquis (1878-1937) American journalist and humorist
Prefaces, “Preface to a Memorandum Book” (1919)
Added on 3-May-16 | Last updated 3-May-16
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There are no friends at cards or world politics

Finley Peter Dunne (1867-1936) American humorist and journalist
(Attributed)
Added on 12-Feb-16 | Last updated 12-Feb-16
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When my friend does something stupid, he is just my friend doing something stupid. When I do something stupid, I have deeply betrayed myself.

James Richardson (b. 1950) American poet
Vectors: Aphorisms and Ten-Second Essays (2001)
Added on 13-Nov-15 | Last updated 13-Nov-15
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PETRI: We cannot make peace with people we detest.

KIRK: Stop trying to kill each other. Then worry about being friendly.

John Meredyth Lucas (1919-2002) American screenwriter
Star Trek, 3×13 “Elaan of Troyius” (20 Dec 1968)
Added on 19-Oct-15 | Last updated 19-Oct-15
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Would you have a friend who talks to you the way you talk to yourself?

Carolyn Ann "Callie" Khouri (b. 1957) American screenwriter, producer, director, feminist
Commencement Address, Sweet Briar College (22 May 1994)
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Added on 17-Jun-15 | Last updated 17-Jun-15
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Speak well of your friend in public, admonish him in secret.

Publilius Syrus (d. 42 BC) Assyrian slave, writer, philosopher [less correctly Publius Syrus]
Sententiae [Moral Sayings], # 870 [tr. Lyman, Jr (1862)]
Added on 3-Jun-15 | Last updated 15-Feb-17
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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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In giving advice, seek to help, not please, your friend.

Solon (c. 638 BC - 558 BC) Athenian statesman, lawmaker, poet
(Attributed)
Added on 14-Jul-14 | Last updated 14-Jul-14
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Praise your friends, and let your friends praise you.

James Burgh (1714-1775) British politician and writer
The Dignity of Human Nature, Sec. 5 “Miscellaneous Thoughts on Prudence in Conversation” (1754)
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Added on 19-Jun-14 | Last updated 19-Jun-14
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Agreement in likes and dislikes — this, and this only, is what constitutes true friendship.

[Nam idem velle atque idem nolle, ea demum firma amicitia est.]

Catiline (108-62 BC) Roman politician [Lucius Sergius Catilina]
Quoted in Sallust, Catiline’s War [Bellum Catilinae], 20.4 (42 BC) [tr. Rolf]

Alt. trans.: "For to like the same things and to dislike the same things, only this is a strong friendship."
Added on 29-May-14 | Last updated 29-May-14
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But when our country had grown great through toil and the practice of justice, when great kings had been vanquished in war, savage tribes and mighty peoples subdued by force of arms, when Carthage, the rival of Rome’s sway, had perished root and branch, and all seas and lands were open, then Fortune began to grow cruel and to bring confusion into all our affairs. 2 Those who had found it easy to bear hardship and dangers, anxiety and adversity, found leisure and wealth, desirable under other circumstances, a burden and a curse. 3 Hence the lust for money first, then for power, grew upon them; these were, I may say, the root of all evils. 4 For avarice destroyed honour, integrity, and all other noble qualities; taught in their place insolence, cruelty, to neglect the gods, to set a price on everything. 5 Ambition drove many men to become false; to have one thought locked in the breast, another ready on the tongue; to value friendships and enmities not on their merits but by the standard of self-interest, and to show a good front rather than a good heart.

[Sed ubi labore atque iustitia res publica crevit, reges magni bello domiti, nationes ferae et populi ingentes vi subacti, Carthago aemula imperi Romani p18ab stirpe interiit, cuncta maria terraeque patebant, saevire fortuna ac miscere omnia coepit. 2 Qui labores, pericula, dubias atque asperas res facile toleraverant, eis otium, divitiae,7 optanda alias, oneri miseriaeque fuere. 3 Igitur primo pecuniae, deinde imperi cupido crevit; ea quasi materies omnium malorum fuere. 4 Namque avaritia fidem, probitatem ceterasque artis bonas subvortit; pro his superbiam, crudelitatem, deos neglegere, omnia venalia habere edocuit. 5 Ambitio multos mortalis falsos fieri subegit, aliud clausum in pectore aliud in lingua promptum habere, amicitias inimicitiasque non ex re sed ex commodo aestumare magisque voltum quam ingenium bonum habere.]

Sallust (c. 86-35 BC) Roman historian and politician [Gaius Sallustius Crispus]
Catiline’s War [Bellum Catilinae], pt. 10 (42 BC) [tr. Loeb (1921)]

Alt. trans.:
  • "Ambition prompted many to become deceitful; to keep one thing concealed in the breast, and another ready on the tongue; to estimate friendships and enmities, not by their worth, but according to interest; and to carry rather a specious countenance than an honest heart."
  • "It is the nature of ambition to make men liars and cheats, to hide the truth in their breasts, and show, like jugglers, another thing in their mouths, to cut all friendships and enmities to the measure of their own interest, and to make a good countenance without the help of good will." (Source)
Added on 1-May-14 | Last updated 1-May-14
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No good thing is pleasant to possess without friends to share it.

Seneca the Younger (c. 4 BC-AD 65) Roman statesman, philosopher, playwright [Lucius Annaeus Seneca]
Moral Letters to Lucilius [Epistulae morales ad Lucilium], letter 6 “On Sharing Knowledge,” sec. 4 [tr. Gummere (1918)]
Added on 22-Nov-13 | Last updated 16-Jun-14
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Do not choose for your wife any woman you would not choose for a friend if she were a man.

Joseph Joubert (1754-1824) French moralist
Pensées (1838) [ed. Auster (1983)]
Added on 26-Aug-13 | Last updated 13-May-16
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A person who is never duped cannot be a friend.

Joseph Joubert (1754-1824) French moralist
Pensées (1838) [ed. Auster (1983)]
Added on 1-Jul-13 | Last updated 13-May-16
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A part of kindness consists in loving people more than they deserve.

Joseph Joubert (1754-1824) French moralist
Pensées (1838) [ed. Auster (1983)]
Added on 10-Jun-13 | Last updated 13-May-16
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The best thing to give to your enemy is forgiveness; to an opponent, tolerance; to a friend, your heart; to your child, a good example; to a father, deference; to your mother, conduct that will make her proud of you; to yourself, respect; to all men, charity.

Clara Lucas Balfour (1808-1878) English novelist, lecturer, temperance campaigner
Sunbeams for All Seasons: Counsels, Cautions, and Precepts (1861 ed.)
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A crowd is not company; and faces are but a gallery of pictures; and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) English philosopher, scientist, author, statesman
“Of Friendship,” Essays, No. 27 (1625)
Added on 25-Jun-10 | Last updated 16-May-16
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Do not keep on with a mockery of friendship after the substance is gone — but part, while you can part friends. Bury the carcass of friendship: it is not worth embalming.

Hazlitt - mockery of friendship - wist_info quote

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
“On The Conduct of Life” (1822)
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All love that has not friendship for its base
Is like a mansion built upon the sand.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919) American author and poet.
“Upon the Sand” (1910)
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No guest is so welcome in a friend’s house that he will not become a nuisance after three days.

Plautus (b. c. 254 BC) Roman playright [Titus Macchius Plautus]
Miles Gloriosus, 3.2, l. 741
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Fellowship in woe doth woe assuage.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
“The Rape of Lucrece,” l. 790 (1594)
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The worst solitude is to be destitute of sincere friendship.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) English philosopher, scientist, author, statesman
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 16-May-16
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I hate the idea of causes, and if I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country.

E. M. Forster (1879-1970) English novelist, essayist, critic, librettist [Edward Morgan Forster]
“What I Believe,” The Nation (16 Jul 1938)
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Sometimes misquoted as: "If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the decency to betray my country."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 21-Nov-18
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The holy passion of friendship is so sweet and steady and loyal and enduring in nature that it will last through a whole lifetime, if not asked to lend money.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson, ch. 8, epigraph (1894)
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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 26-Jan-19
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