Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Friendship

"True friendship... always involves the dominance of benevolent impulses, tending toward the benefit of the beloved, whereas the counterfeits of friendship spring primarily or purely from acquisitive desire - seeking something for one’s self." - Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren

"The movement of love has a twofold tendency: towards the good which a man wishes to someone, whether for himself or for another; and towards that to which he wishes some good. Accordingly, man has love of concupiscence towards the good that he wishes to another, and love of friendship towards him to whom he wishes good." -

"In love one has need of being believed, in friendship of being understood." - Abel Bonnard

"Pure friendship is something which men of an inferior intellect can never taste." - Jean de La Bruyère

"Sooner mayest thou trust thy pocket to a pickpocket than give loyal friendship to the man who boasts of eyes to which the heart never mounts in dew! Only when man weeps he should be alone, not because tars are weak, but they should be secret. Tears are akin to prayer - Pharisees parade prayers, impostors parade tears." -

"As friendship must be founded on mutual esteem, it cannot long exist among the vicious; for we soon find ill company to be like a dog, which dirts those the most whom he loves the best." - Paul Chatfield, pseudonym for Horace Smith

"Real friendship is shown in times of trouble; prosperity is full of friends." - Euripedes NULL

"The adult world is... built on the shifting grounds of friendship and competition. The double message of this society and economy are to get along and get ahead. We want our children to fit in and to stand out. We rarely address the conflict between these goals." - Ellen Goodman

"Always set a high value on spontaneous kindness. He whose inclination prompts him to cultivate your friendship of his own accord, will love you more than one whom you have been at pains to attach to you." -

"If a man does not make new acquaintances as he advances through life, he will soon find himself left alone. A man, sir, should keep his friendship in constant repair." -

"Marriage is the strictest tie of perpetual friendship, and there can be no friendship without confidence, and no confidence without integrity; and he must expect to be wretched, who pays to beauty, riches, or politeness that regard which only virtue and piety can claim." -

"Power admits no equal, and dismisses friendship for flattery." - Edward Moore

"As a man grows older, he values the voice of experience more and the voice of prophecy less. He finds more of life's wealth in the common pleasures - home, health, children. He thinks more about worth of men and less about their wealth. He boasts less and boosts more. He hurries less, and usually makes more progress. He esteems the friendship of God a little higher." - Roy L. Smith, aka Mr. Methodist

"People have generally three epochs in their confidence in man. In the first they believe him to be everything that is good, and they are lavish with their friendship and confidence. In the next, they have had experience, which has smitten down their confidence, and they; then have to be careful not to mistrust every one, and to put the worst construction upon everything. Later in life, they learn that the greater number of men have much; more good in them than bad, and that even when there is cause to blame, there is more reason to pity than condemn; and then a spirit of confidence again awakens within them." - Frederika Bremer

"Out of the ashes of misanthropy benevolence rises again; we find many virtues where we had imagined all was vice, many acts of disinterested friendship where we had fancied all was calculation and fraud - and so gradually from the two extremes we pass to the proper medium; and, feeling that no human being is wholly good or wholly base, we learn that true knowledge of mankind which induces us to expect little and forgive much. The world cures alike the optimist and the misanthrope." - Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton, fully Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, Lord Lytton

"False friendship, like the ivy, decays and ruins the walls it embraces; but true friendship gives new life and animation to the object it supports." - Richard Francis Burton, fully Sir Richard Francis Burton

"Without friendship life is nothing." -

"Nothing is more binding than the friendship of companions-in-arms." - George Stillman Hillard

"Youth fades; love droops, the leaves of friendship fall; a mother's secret hope outlives them all." - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

"Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political; peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none; the support of the State governments in all their rights, as the most competent administrations for our domestic concerns, and the surest bulwarks against anti-republican tendencies; the preservation of General Government in its whole constitutional vigor, as the sheet anchor of our peace at home and safety abroad... freedom of religion, freedom of the press; freedom of person under the protection of habeas corpus; and trials by juries impartially selected, these principles form the bright constellation which has gone before us, and guided our steps through an age of revolution and reformation." - Thomas Jefferson

"Science will never be able to reduce the value of a sunset to arithmetic. Nor can it reduce friendship to a formula. Laughter and love, pain and loneliness, the challenge of accomplishment in living, and the depth of insight into beauty and truth: these will always surpass the scientific mastery of nature." - Louis Orr

"There can be no Friendship where there is no Freedom. Friendship loves a free Air, and will not be penned up in streight and narrow Enclosures. It will speak freely, and act so too; and take nothing ill where no ill is meant; nay, where it is, ’twill easily forgive, and forget too, upon small Acknowledgments." - William Penn

"There is nothing that is meritorious but virtue and friendship; and, indeed, friendship itself is only a part of virtue." - Alexander Pope

"The best time to frame an answer to the letters of a friend is the moment you receive them; then the warmth of friendship and the intelligence received most forcibly co-operate." - William Shenstone

"Lost wealth may be restored by industry, the wreck of health regained by temperance, forgotten knowledge restored by study, alienated friendship smoothed into forgetfulness, even forfeited reputation won by penitence and virtue. But who ever looked upon his vanished hours, recalled his slighted years, stamped them with wisdom, or effaced from Heaven's record the fearful blot of wasted time?" - Lydia Sigourney, fully Lydia Huntley Sigourney, née Lydia Howard Huntley

"Of all things beyond my power, I value nothing more than friendship with people who sincerely love the truth, for I believe that of the things beyond our power, there is nothing in the world we can love with tranquillity except such people." -

"In solitude the mind gains strength, and learns to lean upon herself; in the world it seeks or accepts of a few treacherous supports - the feigned compassion of one, the flattery of a second, the civilities of a third, the friendship of a fourth - they all deceive and bring the mind back to retirement, reflection, and books." - Lawrence Sterne, alternatively Laurence Sterne

"If humanity wishes to strive to exist and if it wishes happiness and prosperity, then it must have mutual friendship and ought not to rely upon force for mutual extermination." - Li Dazhao

"The test of friendship is assistance in adversity – and that, too, unconditional assistance. Cooperation which needs consideration is a commercial contract, and not friendship. Conditional cooperation is like adulterated cement which does not bind." - Mahatma Gandhi, fully Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, aka Bapu

"True friendship comes when silence between two people is comfortable." - Dave Tyson Gentry

"Living life at its best means keeping on speaking terms with my conscience, to do nothing to outrage it or to inflict pain upon it. When my acts do violence to my moral or ethical standards, I sustain a loss for which no pleasure or material gain can compensate me, for I shrink in moral stature. When I keep my friendship with the best in me, I achieve a serenity which cloaks life with gentle beauty." - Sidney Greenberg

"Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none." - Thomas Jefferson

"If a person does not make new acquaintances as they advances through life, they will soon find themselves left alone. A person should keep their friendship in constant repair." - Samuel Johnson, aka Doctor Johnson

"They that love beyond the world cannot be separated by it. Death cannot kill what never dies. Nor can spirits ever be divided, that love and live in the same divine principle, the root and record of their friendship. If absence be not death, neither is theirs. Death is but crossing the world, as friends do the seas; they live in one another still. For they must needs be present, that love and live in that which is omnipresent. In this divine glass they see face to face; and their converse is free, as well as pure. This is the comfort of friends, that though they may be said to die, yet their friendship and society are, in the best sense, ever present, because immortal. " - William Penn

"No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other's worth." - Robert Southey

"The essence of true friendship is to make allowances for another's little lapses." - David Storey

"If among thoughts they value those that are profound, if in friendship they value gentleness, in words, truth; in government, good order; timeliness – in each case it is because they prefer what does not lead to strife." -

"One of the things a wise man knows and a foolish man does not is that such things as social position, wealth, and the good opinion of the world, are too dearly bought at the cost of health or friendship or family ties." - Philippa Foot, fully Philippa Ruth Foot, née Bosanquet

"[Responsibility to yourself] means that you refuse to sell your talents and aspirations short, simply to avoid conflict and confrontation. And this, in turn, means resisting the forces in society which say that women should be nice, play safe, have low professional expectations, drown in love and forget about work, live through others, and stay in places assigned to us. It means that we insist on a life of meaningful work, insist that work be as meaningful as love and friendship in our lives. It means, therefore, the courage to be “different”; not to be continuously available to others when we need time for ourselves and our work; to be able to demand of others – parents, friends, roommates, teachers, lovers, husbands, children – that they respect our sense of purpose and our integrity as persons." - Adrienne Rich, fully Adrienne Cecil Rich

"All friendship is for the sake of good or of pleasure." - Aristotle NULL

"Between man and wife friendship seems to exist by nature; for man is naturally inclined to form couples." - Aristotle NULL

"Equality does not seem to take the same form in acts of justice and in friendship; for in acts of justice what is equal in the primary sense is that which is in proportion to merit, while quantitative equality is secondary, but in friendship quantitative equality is primary and proportion to merit secondary." - Aristotle NULL

"Perfect friendship is the friendship of men who are good, and alike in virtue; for these wish well alike to each other qua good, and they are good in themselves." - Aristotle NULL

"It would be wrong to put friendship before truth." - Aristotle NULL

"Many a friendship is lost for lack of speaking." - Aristotle NULL

"Aristotle - Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow-ripening fruit." - Aristotle NULL

"It seems to me that the one privilege of friendship is "to quench the fiery darts of the wicked," to make the best of friends, to encourage and believe in them, to hand on the pleasant things." -

"It seems to me that the one privilege of friendship is "to quench the fiery darts of the wicked," to make the best of friends, to encourage and believe in them, to hand on the pleasant things." - A.C. Benson, fully Arthur Christopher “A.C.” Benson

"To pity the unhappy is not contrary to selfish desire; on the other hand, we are glad of the occupation to thus testify friendship and attract to ourselves the reputation of tenderness, without giving anything." - Blaise Pascal