"There is no possession more valuable than a good and faithful friend."



"Without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods."



"The richer your friends, the more they will cost you."

-Elisabeth Marbury (1856-1933)


"Friendship is the greatest of worldly goods. Certainly to me it is the chief happiness of life. If I had to give a piece of advice to a young man about a place to live, I think I shd. say, "sacrifice almost everything to live where you can be near your friends." I know I am v. fortunate in that respect."

C.S. Lewis

The Letters of C.S. Lewis to Arthur Greeves


"Friendship cannot live with Ceremony, nor without Civility."

-Ben Franklin


"The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are."

C.S. Lewis


"It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson


"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


"We have to learn to be our own best friends because we fall too easily into the trap of being our own worst enemies."

-Roderick Thorp


"There are deep sorrows and killing cares in life, but the encouragement and love of friends were given us to make all difficulties bearable."

John Oliver Hobbes


"A friend is, as it were, a second self."



"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. Forester


"We ought to look upon those men as our friends who are inclined to assist us, and to requite our kindnesses with kindness, even if they are destitute of power; for friendship is a thing which is seen more in moments of necessity, than in a steady conjunction or union of dispositions. So that in the case of each person who unites with another in an association of friendship, one may apply the expression of Pythagoras to him, and say, " A friend is a second I."

Philo of Alexandria


"The friendships of the wicked are mischievous, and very often the soul of such men, being influenced by such associations, takes the impressions of downright insanity. It is not the country which makes men bad, or the city which makes them good, but the habits of living with such and such men."

Philo of Alexandria


"One doesn’t know, till one is a bit at odds with the world, how much one’s friends who believe in one rather generously, mean to one."

D.H. Lawrence


"Between friends differences in taste or opinion are irritating in direct proportion to their triviality."

-W.H. Auden


"Be sincere. Be simple in words, manners and gestures. Amuse as well as instruct. If you can make a man laugh, you can make him think and make him like and believe you."

-Alfred Emanuel Smith

"My True friends have always given me that supreme proof of devotion, a spontaneous aversion for the man I loved."



"Keep your friendships in repair."

Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Before we can make friends with anyone else, we must first make friends with ourselves."

Eleanor Roosevelt


"It is easier to forgive an enemy than it is a friend."

William Blake


"Be reasonable: No one can be perfect; he can only aim at being a likeable, reasonable being."

-Lin Yutang

"It is easy enough to be friendly to one's friends. But to befriend the one who regards himself as your enemy is the quintessence of true religion. The other is mere business."

-Mohandas K. Gandhi


"It is good to have friends, even in hell."

-Spanish proverb


"Many a one cannot loosen his own fetters, but is nevertheless his friend’s emancipator."



"The friend who understands you, creates you."

Romain Rolland


"There is an almost sensual longing for communion with others who have a larger vision. The immense fulfillment of the friendships between those engaged in furthering the evolution of consciousness has a quality almost impossible to describe."

-Teilhard de Chardin


"The better part of one's life consists of his friendships."

-Abraham Lincoln



"There are deep sorrows and killing cares in life, but the encouragement and love of friends were given us to make all difficulties bearable."

John Oliver Hobbes


""Thou mayest be sure that he that will in private tell thee of thy faults, is they friend, for he adventures they dislike, and doth hazard hatred: there are few people that can endure it, every man for the most part delighting in Self-Praise, which is one of the most universal Follies that bewitcheth mankind."

Sir Walter Raleigh


"We take care of our health, we lay up money , we make our roof tight and our clothing sufficient, but who provides wisely that he shall not be wanting in the best property of all-friends?"



"It is one of the severest tests of friendship to tell your friend his faults-So to love a man that you cannot bear to see a stain upon him, and to speak painful truth through loving words, that is friendship."

H.W. Beecher


"A friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson


"We talk of choosing our friends, but friends are self-elected."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson



"I always felt that the great high privilege, relief and comfort of friendship was that one had to explain nothing."

-Katherine Mansfield


"If the body is in pain, one of the first things to look for is infection; if the soul is in pain, we might look for lack of friendship.

Friendship creates the cosmologies in which we live, and if we do not have a cultivated world made through the conversations and exchanges of friendship, we will necessarily feel detached, unmoored and unplaced. Like so many things of the soul, we may believe that friendship is tangential to life, an added boon, or an accessory. But if we were to take Epicurus, Ficino, Thomas More, Emily Dickinson, and many other writers at their word, we would realize that friendship is a necessity."

Thomas Moore, Soul Mates


"Most people enjoy the inferiority of their best friends."



"Two may talk together under the same roof for many years, yet never really meet; and two others at first speech are old friends."

-Mary Catherwood


"A true friend is the most precious of all possessions and the one we take the least thought about acquiring."

-La Rochefoucauld



"Everybody’s friend is nobody’s



"Who boasts to have won a multitude of friends has ne’er had one"




"There is a magnet in your heart that will attract true friends. That magnet is unselfishness, thinking of others first....when you learn to live for others, they will live for you."

-Paramahansa Yogananda


"The more we love our friends, the less we flatter them."



"Friendship is like money, easier made than kept."

Samuel Butler



"I always felt that the great high privilege, relief and comfort of friendship was that one had to explain nothing."

-Katherine Mansfield


"Few friendships would endure if each party knew what his friend said about him in his absence, even when speaking sincerely and dispassionately."



"A true friend is the most precious of all possessions and the one we take the least thought about acquiring."

-La Rochefoucauld



"If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility."



"Everyman passes his life in search after friendship."




"What I cannot love, I overlook. Is that real friendship?"

-Anais Nin


"....One is taught by experience to put a premium on those few people who can appreciate you for what you are...."

-Gail Godwin




"One loyal friend is worth ten thousand relatives."

Euripides (427-408 B.C.)


"Friendship is the marriage of the soul, and this marriage is liable to divorce."


Friendship Philosophical Dictionary (1764)


"There was a definite process by which one made people into friends, and it involved talking to them and listening to them for hours at a time."

-Rebecca West



"Friendships are different from all other relationships. Unlike acquaintanceship, friendship is based on love. Unlike lovers and married couples, it is free of jealousy. Unlike children and parents, it knows neither criticism nor resentment. Friendship has no status in law. Business partnerships are based on a contract. So is marriage. Parents are bound by the law. But friendships are freely entered into, freely given, freely exercised."

Stephen Ambrose



"A noble person attracts noble people, and knows how to hold on to them."



"We challenge one another to be funnier and smarter....It's the way friends make love to one another."

-Annie Gottlieb



   "In Megalopolis the sentiment of friendship wastes away. Friends become, in the vulgarism of modern speech, "pals", who may be defined as person whom your work compels you to associate with or, on a still more debased level, persons who will allow you to use them to your advantage. The meeting of minds, the sympathy between personalities which all cultured communities have regarded as part of the good life, demand too much sentiment for a world of machines and a false egalitarianism, and one detects even a faint suspicion that friendship, because it rests upon selection, is undemocratic. It is this type of mentality which will study with perfect naiveté a work on how to win friends and influence people. To one brought up in a society spiritually fused-what I shall call the metaphysical community-the idea of a campaign to win friend's must be incomprehensible. Friends are attracted by one's personality, if it is of the right sort, and any conscious attempt is inseparable from guile. And the art of manipulating personalities obviously presumes a disrespect for personality. Only in  splintered community, where the spirit is starved to the point of atrophy, could such an imposture flourish."

Richard M. Weaver

Ideas have Consequences


"Don Vito Corleone was a man to whom everybody came for help, and never were they disappointed. He made no empty promises, nor the craven excuse that his hands were tied by more powerful forces in the world than himself. It was not necessary that he be your friend, it was not even important that you had no means with which to repay him. Only one thing was required. That you, you yourself, proclaim your friendship. And then, no mater how poor or power-less the supplicant, Don Corleone would take that man's troubles to his heart. And he would let nothing stand in the way to a solution of that man's woe. His reward? Friendship, the respectful title of 'Don' and sometimes the more affectionate salutation of 'Godfather.'

Mario Puzo

The Godfather


"All infractions of love and equity in our social relations are speedily punished. They are punished by fear. Whilst I stand in simple relations to my fellow-man, I have no displeasure in meeting him. We meet as water meets water, or as two currents of air mix, with perfect diffusion and interpenetration of nature. But as soon as there is any departure from simplicity and attempt at half ness, or good for me that is not good for him, my neighbor feels the wrong; he shrinks from me as far as I have shrunk from him...."

Ralph Waldo Emerson



   "Probably the most successful experiment in mixed friendship, which yielded the most interesting practical results, was that of the Society of Friends (alias the Quakers). It was based on the principle that individuals must make up their own minds about how they lived: it had no doctrine, no book of rules, no priests, and in its marriage ceremony there was no promise of obedience. Run on democratic lines, its members said what they thought at meetings in which no decision was taken until everyone was agreed. They ignored rank and status, calling everyone Thou. Their way of dealing with their persecutors was to meet them personally and talk with them face to face, which surprisingly did sometimes work even with fierce opponents and even though they were challenging the very foundations of society. The explanation of their success was a friendship between their founder, George Fox (1624-91), a shoemaker's apprentice, and Margaret Fell, the wife of a judge. Equality between the sexes was a basic belief, reinforced by equal education, so that the society produced some very remarkable women. One of them, Mary Fisher, traveled 1,500 miles on foot to urge the Sultan of Turkey to change his ways, and he received her: when she asked him whether he understood her message, he replied, 'Every word, and it was the truth.' But of course nothing changed in the Ottoman Empire.

Theodore Zeldin

An Intimate History of Humanity

Read: "Will Power…Using Shakespeare’s Insights to Transform your Life" By Dr. George Weinberg & Dianne Rowe


© 2001




Back to Chrestomathy             Next Page