Friendship Quotes

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“If you live to be 100, I hope I live to be 100 minus 1 day, so I never have to live without you.” —  Winnie the Pooh

One of my favorite songs on friendship is, “Lean on me.”  To me, it says in song, what it really means to be a friend to the end, and it lights up the idea that “A friend in need is a friend indeed.”

This is a hand-picked collection of friendship quotes, focused on shining the light on the role that friendship plays in leading a better life.  It’s sage advice from quite the gang, including Aristotle, Buddha, Emerson, and more.

A True Friend Really Gets You

What makes friendship so priceless?  It’s been said that the best things in life are free, and true friends are some of the best things in life that money can’t buy.

Friends come in all shapes and sizes.  A true friend really gets you.  They like you flaws and all.  They know what to say, and more importantly, when to say nothing at all.  When you flip through the collage of people in your life, you may have some people in your corner that you can count on … you may have a band of merry men … you may even have the benefit of a best friend, who is there with you to the end.  Choose your friends wisely, and that’s one of the best ways to level up in life.  The opposite is also true.

Of all the lessons in friendship, there are two lessons that I think are especially important:

  1. Be your own best friend.  After all, no matter where you go, you take you with you.
  2. Be the friend you want to be.  Life tends to mirror you back.

Enjoy these quotes on friendship and may they bring a twinkle to your eye as you remember the people in your life that believed in you, lifted you up when you needed it most, or simply lent you a shoulder to weather the storm …

Top 10 Friendship Quotes

  1. “A friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
  2. “A friend to all is a friend to none.” – Aristotle
  3. “A stranger stabs you in the front, a friend stabs you in the back, a boyfriend stabs you in the heart, but best friends only poke each other with straws.” – Unknown
  4. “A true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be going down.” — Arnold H. Glasow
  5. “Everyone hears what you say. Friends listen to what you say. Best friends listen to what you don’t say.” — Unknown
  6. “Friendship isn’t about whom you have known the longest …It’s about who came, and never left your side.” – Unknown
  7. “Hold a true friend with both your hands.” – Proverb
  8. “My best friend is the one who brings out the best of me.” — Henry Ford
  9. “Never explain yourself. Your friends don’t need it and your enemies won’t believe it.” — Belgicia Howell
  10. “There comes a point in your life when you realize who really matters, who never did, and who always will.” — Unknown

Friendship Quotes

“A friend can tell you things you don’t want to tell yourself.”

— Frances Ward Weller

”A friend in need is a friend indeed.”

– Proverb

“A friend is one of the nicest things you can have, and one of the best things you can be.”

— Douglas Pagels

“A friend is one who knows you and loves you just the same.”

— Elbert Hubbard

“A friend is the one who comes in when the whole world has gone out.”

— Grace Pulpit

“A friend knows the song in my heart and sings it to me when my memory fails.”

— Donna Roberts

“A friendship founded on business is better than a business founded on friendship.”

— John D. Rockefeller

“A good friend is a connection to life – a tie to the past, a road to the future, the key to sanity in a totally insane world.”

— Lois Wyse

“A hug is like a boomerang – you get it back right away.”

— Bil Keane

“A joy shared is a joy doubled.”

— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“A loyal friend laughs at your jokes when they’re not so good, and sympathizes with your problems when they’re not so bad.”

— Arnold H. Glasgow

“A man’s growth is seen in the successive choirs of his friends.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

“A single rose can be my garden … a single friend, my world.”

— Leo Buscaglia

“A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked”

— Bernard Meltzer

“A true friend reaches for your hand and touches your heart.”

— Heather Pryor

“A true friend unbosoms freely, advises justly, assists readily, adventures boldly, takes all patiently, defends courageously, and continues a friend unchangeably.”

— William Penn

“Ah, how good it feels!  The hand of an old friend.”

— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?”

— Abraham Lincoln

“An insincere and evil friend is more to be feared than a wild beast; a wild beast may wound your body, but an evil friend will wound your mind.”

– Buddha

“Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.”

— George Washington

“But friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life, and thanks to a benevolent arrangement the greater part of life is sunshine.”

— Thomas Jefferson

“But friendship is the breathing rose, with sweets in every fold.”

— Oliver Wendell Holmes

“Cherish the friend who tells you a harsh truth, wanting ten times more to tell you a loving lie.”

— Robert Brault

“Constant use will not wear ragged the fabric of friendship.”

— Dorothy Parker

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.’”

— C.S. Lewis

“Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.”

— Albert Camus

“Fear makes strangers of people who would be friends.”

— Shirley MacLaine

“Friends and good manners will carry you where money won’t go.”

— Margaret Walker

“Friends are born, not made.”

— Henry B. Adams

“Friends are relatives you make for yourself.”

— Eustache Deschamps

“Friends can be said to “fall in like” with as profound a thud as romantic partners fall in love.”

— Letty Cottin Pogrebin

“Friendship and money: oil and water.”

— Mario Puzo

“Friendship improves happiness, and abates misery, by doubling our joys, and dividing our grief.”

— Joseph Addison

“Friendship is a sheltering tree.”

— Samuel Taylor Coleridge

“Friendship is a single soul dwelling in two bodies.”

– Aristotle

“Friendship is held to be the severest test of character. It is easy, we think, to be loyal to a family and clan, whose blood is in your own veins.”

— Charles Alexander Eastman

“Friendship is one mind in two bodies.”

– Mencius

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.”

— C. S. Lewis

“Friendship needs no words – it is solitude delivered from the anguish of loneliness.”

— Dag Hammarskjold

“Friendship is not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.”

— Muhammad Ali

“Friendship makes prosperity more brilliant, and lightens adversity by dividing and sharing it”.

– Cicero

“Friendship with oneself is all important because without it one cannot be friends with anybody else in the world.”

— Eleanor Roosevelt

“Friendship’s the wine of life.”

— Edward Young

“He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.”

— Oscar Wilde

“He who has a thousand friends has not a friend to spare, and he who has one enemy will meet him everywhere.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

“How often we find ourselves turning our backs on our actual friends, that we might go and meet their ideal cousins.”

— Henry David Thoreau

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

— Katherine Mansfield

“I don’t need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod; my shadow does that much better.”

– Plutarch

“I have friends in overalls whose friendship I would not swap for the favor of the kings of the world.”

— Thomas A. Edison

“I value the friend who for me finds time on his calendar, but I cherish the friend who for me does not consult his calendar.”

— Robert Brault

“If a man does not make new acquaintances as he advances through life, he will soon find himself alone.  A man should keep his friendships in constant repair.”

— Samuel Johnson

“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together.. there is something you must always remember. you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. but the most important thing is, even if we’re apart.. I’ll always be with you.”

— Winnie the Pooh

“If instead of a gem, or even a flower, we should cast the gift of a loving thought into the heart of a friend, that would be giving as the angels give.”

— George MacDonald

“If it’s very painful for you to criticize your friends – you’re safe in doing it. But if you take the slightest pleasure in it, that’s the time to hold your tongue.”

— Alice Duer Miller

“If one is estranged from oneself, then one is estranged from others too. If one is out of touch with oneself, then one cannot touch others.”

— Anne Morrow Lindbergh

“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.”

— Albert Schweitzer

“In my friend, I find a second self.”

— Isabel Norton

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

— Martin Luther King, Jr.

“It is difficult to say who do you the most mischief: enemies with the worst intentions or friends with the best.”

— Edward Bulwer-Lytton

“It is important to our friends to believe that we are unreservedly frank with them, and important to friendship that we are not.”

— Mignon McLaughlin

“It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend.”

— William Blake

“It is not so much our friends’ help that helps us, as the confidence of their help.”

– Epicurus

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

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

“It is the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter.”

— Marlene Dietrich

“It is virtue, virtue, which both creates and preserves friendship. On it depends harmony of interest, permanence, fidelity.”

– Cicero

“It takes a long time to grow an old friend.”

— John Leonard

“Keep away from those who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you believe that you too can become great.”

— Mark Twain

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”

— Marcel Proust

“Life is nothing without friendship.”

– Cicero

“Life is partly what we make it, and partly what it is made by the friends we choose.”

— Tennessee Williams

“Life is slippery. Here, take my hand.”

— H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

“Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.”

— Karl Menninge

“Live life fully while you’re here. Experience everything. Take care of yourself and your friends. Have fun, be crazy, be weird. Go out and screw up! You’re going to anyway, so you might as well enjoy the process. Take the opportunity to learn from your mistakes: find the cause of your problem and eliminate it. Don’t try to be perfect; just be an excellent example of being human.”

— Anthony Robbins

“Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.”

— Oprah Winfrey

“Many a person has held close, throughout their entire lives, two friends that always remained strange to one another, because one of them attracted by virtue of similarity, the other by difference.”

— Emil Ludwig

“Men kick friendship around like a football, but it doesn’t seem to crack. Women treat it like glass and it goes to pieces.”

— Anne Morrow Lindbergh

“Mighty proud I am that I am able to have a spare bed for my friends.”

— Samuel Pepys

“Most of us don’t need a psychiatric therapist as much as a friend to be silly with.”

— Robert Brault

“Never explain – your friends do not need it and your enemies will not believe you anyway.”

— Elbert Hubbard

“Never have a companion that casts you in the shade.”

— Baltasar Gracian

“Nothing but heaven itself is better than a friend who is really a friend.”

– Plautus

“Nothing so fortifies a friendship as a belief on the part of one friend that he is superior to the other”.

— Honore de Balzac

“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

“One of the oldest human needs is having someone to wonder where you are when you don’t come home at night.”

— Margaret Mead

“One measure of friendship consists not in the number of things friends can discuss, but in the number of things they need no longer mention.”

— Clifton Fadiman

“One must be fond of people and trust them if one is not to make a mess of life.”

— E. M. Forster

“One’s friends are that part of the human race with which one can be human.”

— George Santayana

“Only a life lived for others is worth living.”

— Albert Einstein

“Our most difficult task as a friend is to offer understanding when we don’t understand.”

— Robert Brault

“Say what you want about aging, it’s still the only way to have old friends.”

— Robert Brault

“She is a friend of mind. She gather me, man. The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order. It’s good, you know, when you got a woman who is a friend of your mind.”

— Toni Morrison

“Silence is the true friend that never betrays.”

– Confucius

“Silences make the real conversations between friends. Not the saying but the never needing to say is what counts.”

— Margaret Lee Runbeck

“Since there is nothing so well worth having as friends, never lose a chance to make them.”

— Francesco Guicciardini

“Some people go to priests; others to poetry; I to my friends.”

— Virginia Woolf

“Strangers are just friends waiting to happen.”

— Rod McKuen

“The antidote for fifty enemies is one friend.”

– Aristotle

“The best mirror in the world is an old friend.”

— Unknown

“The best time to make friends is before you need them.”

— Ethel Barrymore

The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship.”

— William Blake

“The difference between friendship and love is how much you can hurt each other.”

— Ashleigh Brilliant

“The essence of true friendship is to make allowance for another’s little lapses.”

— David Storey

The friend is the man who knows all about you, and still likes you.”

— Elbert Hubbard

“The language of friendship is not words but meanings.”

— Henry David Thoreau

“The love of our neighbor in all its fullness simply means being able to say, ‘What are you going through?’”

— Simone Weil

“The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart.”

— Elisabeth Foley

“The most I can do for my friend is simply be his friend.”

— Henry David Thoreau

“The only way to have a friend is to be one.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The real test of friendship is: can you literally do nothing with the other person? Can you enjoy those moments of life that are utterly simple?”

— Eugene Kennedy

“The sincere friends of this world are as ship lights in the stormiest of nights.”

— Giotto di Bondone

“The tender friendships one gives up, on parting, leave their bite on the heart, but also a curious feeling of a treasure somewhere buried.”

— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

“The worst solitude is to be destitute of sincere friendship.”

— Francis Bacon

“There’s nothing more precious in this world than the feeling of being wanted.”

— Diana Dors

“There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.”

— Thomas Aquinas

“Think where mans glory most begins and ends, and say my glory was I had such friends.”

— William Butler Yeats

“Those truly linked don’t need correspondence. When they meet again after many years apart, Their friendship is as true as ever.”

— Deng Ming-Dao

“’Tis a great confidence in a friend to tell him your faults; greater to tell him his.”

— Benjamin Franklin

“To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world.”

— Brandi Snyder

“True friends stab you in the front.”

— Oscar Wilde

“True friendship comes when the silence between two people is comfortable.”

— David Tyson Gentry

“True friendship is like sound health; the value of it is seldom known until it be lost.”

— Charles Caleb Colton

“True friendship isn’t about being there when it’s convenient; it’s about being there when it’s not.”

– Anonymous

“Truth springs from argument amongst friends.”

— David Hume

“We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world, and the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend.”

— Robert Louis Stevenson

“We are friends and I do like to pass the day with you in serious and inconsequential chatter. I wouldn’t mind washing up beside you, dusting beside you, reading the back half of the paper while you read the front. We are friends and I would miss you, do miss you and think of you very often.”

— Jeanette Winterson

“We are keenly aware of the faults of our friends, but if they like us enough it doesn’t matter.”

— Mignon McLaughlin

“We are the captains of our own ships sailing the sea of life, but in times of a stormy weather, you will discover true friends when they don’t hesitate to be a lighthouse.”

— Dodinsky

“We call that person who has lost his father, an orphan; and a widower that man who has lost his wife. But that man who has known the immense unhappiness of losing a friend, by what name do we call him? Here every language is silent and holds its peace in impotence.”

— Joseph Roux

“We need old friends to help us grow old and new friends to help us stay young.”

— Letty Cottin Pogrebin

“What do we ask of friendship except to be taken for what we pretend to be – and without having to pretend.”

— Robert Brault

“What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?”

— George Eliot

“What is a friend?  A single soul dwelling in two bodies.”

– Aristotle

“What is uttered from the heart alone, Will win the hearts of others to your own.”

— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“When a friend is in trouble, don’t annoy him by asking if there is anything you can do. Think up something appropriate and do it.”

— Edward W. Howe

“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.”

— Henri Nouwen

“When you choose your friends, don’t be short-changed by choosing personality over character.”

— W. Somerset Maugham

“Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow ripening fruit.”

– Aristotle

“Without wearing any mask we are conscious of, we have a special face for each friend.”

— Oliver Wendell Holmes

“You can always tell a real friend: when you’ve made a fool of yourself he doesn’t feel you’ve done a permanent job.”

— Laurence J. Peter

 

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19 COMMENTS

  1. “2.Be the friend you want to be. Life tends to mirror you back.”
    that’s very insightful to me. I am thinking now how to best “work” with my kids or why they’d do some things I do not like. I am reflecting on muself and I see it in me. So, the correction path i take is changing me first vs. preachign to them. I need to be their first and the best friend so they can reflect back with the same.

  2. A friend is a ship that steers us safely through the choopy waters of life so that we reach home. Whatever the tides and rocks it keeps us afloat, our head above water and bouyant in the good times. Thank you for the 100 beautiful reminders JD!

  3. a few weeks ago i was embarrassed to learn (i should have noticed years ago) that Aristotle devotes two out of ten books (Book 8 and Book 9) in his Nicomachean Ethics to Friendship. it’s the only topic he honors that way. what a shame i’ve spent most of life in such ignorance.

  4. Hi JD .. love the Winnie the Pooh quote at the beginning – that rings so true of deep love and friendship ..

    99. “The best time to make friends is before you need them.” — Ethel Barrymore
    100. “The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship.” — William Blake

    Love all the examples you’ve set out for us .. and I know they’ll be tucked away in your resources section .. many thanks – Hilary

  5. J. D.

    What a treasury of inspiration! My favorites though are the two lesson you personally outline in the beginning:

    1. Be your own best friend. After all, no matter where you go, you take you with you.

    2. Be the friend you want to be. Life tends to mirror you back.

  6. @ Don — Thank you.

    @ Alik — “Changing me first vs. preaching to them” … I like that.

    @ Jeremy — Thank you. You reminded me of an old saying, “Friends make the world go round.”

    @ John — I like the ship in the sea of life metaphor. When the tides get rough, there’s nothing like a good friend.

    @ Michael — Artistotle sure was a wise one. I haven’t seen his books, but I bet they are chock full of insight.

    @ Jonathan — My friends have inspired me to great things.

    @ Evelyn — Some people collect stamps, I collect quotes :)

    @ Vitaly — You’ve come to the right place. Thank you 😉

    @ Hilary — Winnie has a way with words, and I think he and Casper both have a deep appreciation for the power of friends, but from different angles.

    @ Sandra — Thank you. I wanted to lead with a few guiding principles as a backdrop to hang all the wisdom from.

  7. What a great list.
    I particularly like:

    48.“I don’t need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod; my shadow does that much better.” – Plutarch

    I believe a true friend will be honest even when that is the hardest thing to be.

  8. “With a little help from my friends” indeed! :) These are empowering, JD. Offering our true presence to others is one of the greatest gifts we can give the world. The true friends prove to be as solid and constant as a mountain.

  9. We have so much to learn from ourselves, but our life is enriched also with the learnings of the friends we surround ourselves with…regardless of the situation or circumstance (life is an open book of learning).

  10. @ Kate — It’s a classic and the shadow metaphor was absolutely perfect.

    I like your point that our real friends show the tough love.

    @ Rob — Great point on true presence. I’ve noticed that as the world gets more “connected”, it doesn’t directly translate to more engaged.

    @ Kenya — Friends really are the force multiplier.

  11. Excellent collection of quotes there. I really like this one, “There comes a point in your life when you realize who really matters, who never did, and who always will.”

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