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Quotations about Friendship,
Friends, and Best Friends


Life flings miles and years between us,
      It is true,—
But brings never to me dearer
      Friends than you!
~Dorothy Scarborough, Humorous Ghost Stories, 1921

The very best gift of all is having a friend. ~Ethel Pochocki (1925–2010), The Mushroom Man, 1993

A friend is one of the nicest things you can have, and one of the best things you can be. ~Douglas Pagels

Most of us don't need a psychiatric therapist as much as a friend to be silly with. ~Robert Brault,

So we find, after all, that the things we thought small
      Loom colossal above all the host;
That the best of God's gifts are the friends we can call
      To our side when we need them the most.
~W. Dayton Wegefarth (1885–1973), "The Bright Things of Life"

Your friend is the man who knows all about you, and still likes you. ~Elbert Hubbard, c. 1908

If 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. ~E. W. Howe, Country Town Sayings, 1911

But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
All losses are restored and sorrows end.
~William Shakespeare

It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend. ~William Blake

One's friends are that part of the human race with which one can be human. ~George Santayana

Real friends are those who, when you've made a fool of yourself, don't feel that you've done a permanent job. ~Erwin T. Randall, quoted in The Reader's Digest, 1955

I ask of life only that which makes it worth living: the love of friends. ~Justin Regier, @Justin_Regier, January 2012 entry to The Quote Garden create your own quote contest on Twitter, @quotegarden

Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art, like the universe itself (for God did not need to create). It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival. ~C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves, 1960

I like friends who, when you tell them you need a moment alone, know enough not to stray too far. ~Robert Brault,

The language of friendship is not words but meanings. ~Henry David Thoreau

It's important to our friends to believe that we are unreservedly frank with them, and important to the friendship that we are not. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1963

They seem so fumbling and foolish — the words of consolation we offer to a friend. But one day it becomes our turn to hear them, and how consoling to us those words become and how cherished the friend who stands there, fumbling for them. ~Robert Brault,

She is a friend of my 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, Beloved, 1987

Friendship needs no words — it is solitude delivered from the anguish of loneliness. ~Dag Hammarskjöld, 1925–1930, translated from the Swedish by Leif Sjöberg and W. H. Auden, Markings, 1964

Cherish the friend who tells you a harsh truth, wanting ten times more to tell you a loving lie. ~Robert Brault,

Nothing but heaven itself is better than a friend who is really a friend. ~Plautus

Love is like the wild rose-brier;
      Friendship is like the holly-tree.
The holly is dark when the rose-brier blooms,
      But which will bloom most constantly?...
~Emily Brontë, "Love and Friendship"

I believe in the philosophy of friendship. ~W. Dayton Wegefarth (1885–1973)

Our most difficult task as a friend is to offer understanding when we don't understand. ~Robert Brault,

As a friend, you first give your understanding, then you try to understand. ~Robert Brault,

The function of a friend is not to have a function. ~Detlef Cordes

Friends are divided into two great classes: Those you need, and those who need you. ~Washington Star, quoted in For the Gaiety of Nations: Fun and Philosophy from the American Newspaper Humorists compiled by Wallace Rice, 1909

Friends are lost by calling often, and by calling seldom. ~Gaelic proverb

A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him I may think aloud. I am arrived at last in the presence of a man so real and equal, that I may drop even those undermost garments of dissimulation, courtesy, and second thought, which men never put off, and may deal with him with the simplicity and wholeness with which one chemical atom meets another. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Friendship"

You always think you could have done more. That's why you need a friend — to tell you you did all you could. ~Robert Brault,

When failure confronts us and darkens our goals,
      How we long for the clasp of a hand;
It is then that we cry from the depths of our souls
      For a friend who can just understand.
~W. Dayton Wegefarth (1885–1973), "The Bright Things of Life"

The bird, a nest; the spider, a web; man, friendship. ~William Blake

All you would have your friend to you, that must you be to him—and more; for there can be no thought of balancing of favors given by friend to friend; the obligations reach beyond; nor is there any selfishness, save selfishness for him. Full friendship is the selfishness and the unselfishness, at once, of two, bound into twinship fair of soul and spirit. Seek you then for friend one whom you understand down to the depths, up to the heights, of being, whose soul meets yours with the same understanding. Only so can you, can he, attain that sympathy which, growing with your intercourse, at last reaches beyond mere understanding, gains the other's thought and feeling, though no word be spoken, knows from the eyes of truth, and stands to aid in every project nobly true as ready as to speak against the false: Then may you say, "I have, he has, a friend!" ~Wallace Rice, To My Friend, 1914

A true friend is for ever a friend. ~George MacDonald, The Marquis of Lossie, 1877

Hold a true friend with both your hands. ~Nigerian proverb

One true friend adds more to our happiness than a thousand enemies add to our unhappiness. ~Marie Dubsky, Freifrau von Ebner-Eschenbach (1830–1916), translated by Mrs Annis Lee Wister, 1882

A true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be going down. ~Arnold H. Glasow (1905–1999)

A London paper not long ago offered a prize for the best definition of "friend." The prize was awarded to the person who sent in this: "The first person who comes in when the whole world has gone out." It is a good definition. True friendship delights in deeds more than in words — coming unasked in times of adversity. A true friend never forsakes us, not even when we forsake ourselves. True friendship abides, in sunshine and in storm. When the whole world has gone out, this loving Friend will love you still. ~J. L. Harbour, "When the World Has Gone Out," in The Golden Rule, 1897 September 9th  [a little altered —tg]

The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart. ~Elisabeth Foley, as quoted in The Reader's Digest, 1987

Yes, we must ever be friends; and of all who offer you friendship
Let me be ever the first, the truest, the nearest and dearest!
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, "The Courtship of Miles Standish," 1858

Things are never quite as scary when you've got a best friend. ~Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes, 1989

Best friend, my well-spring in the wilderness! ~George Eliot, The Spanish Gypsy: A Poem, written 1864–1867, published 1868

That was what a best friend did: hold up a mirror and show you your heart. ~Kristin Hannah, Firefly Lane, 2008

O friend! O best of friends! Thy absence more
Than the impending night darkens the landscape o'er!
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, "The Golden Legend," 1851

You have been my best friend; 'tis to your kind offices that I owe the confirmation of my happiness... ~Memoirs of Madame du Barri, 1700s, translated from French

Friends make you smile — best friends make you giggle 'til you pee your pants. ~Terri Guillemets

That was the thing about best friends. Like sisters and mothers, they could piss you off and make you cry and break your heart, but in the end, when the chips were down, they were there, making you laugh even in your darkest hours. ~Kristin Hannah, Firefly Lane, 2008

Most of us don't need a psychiatric therapist as much as a friend to be silly with. ~Robert Brault,

Their friendships were the threads that led out into the world. ~Barbra Ring, Før kulden kommer, 1915, translated from the Norwegian by W. Emmé, Into the Dark, 1923

That do converse and waste the time together,
Whose souls do bear an equal yoke of love...
~William Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice, c.1596 [III, 4, Portia]

All school-days' friendship, childhood innocence?
We, Hermia, like two artificial gods,
Have with our needles created both one flower,
Both on one sampler, sitting on one cushion,
Both warbling of one song, both in one key,
As if our hands, our sides, voices and minds,
Had been incorporate. So we grow together,
Like to a double cherry, seeming parted,
But yet an union in partition;
Two lovely berries moulded on one stem;
So, with two seeming bodies, but one heart...
~William Shakespeare, Midsummer Night's Dream, c.1595 [III, 2, Helena]

Friend of my bosom, thou more than a brother... ~Charles Lamb, "The Old Familiar Faces," 1798

A bosom friend — an intimate friend, you know — a really kindred spirit to whom I can confide my inmost soul. ~L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables, 1908

A healing friend is a kindred spirit who says "yeah, I know what you mean!" while pouring your cup of tea; sees your uniqueness; challenges you with love, humor, and honesty, to live your dreams; finds humor, song, dance, and magic hidden in your problems; delights in your surprises; accepts both ups & downs; helps you, then asks for help, too; encourages you to formulate your next steps, then goes the first step with you. ~Kristina Turner, The Self-Healing Cookbook, 2002, originally published 1987  [a little altered —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

There is no friend like the old friend, who has shared our morning days,
No greeting like his welcome, no homage like his praise:
Fame is the scentless sunflower, with gaudy crown of gold;
But friendship is the breathing rose, with sweets in every fold.
~Oliver Wendell Holmes, "No Time Like the Old Time," 1865

It takes a long time to grow an old friend. ~John Leonard, in Friends and Friends of Friends by Bernard Pierre Wolff, as quoted by The Reader's Digest, 1989

Say what you want about aging, it's still the only way to have old friends. ~Robert Brault,

But it is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them... ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1838

      Ah, how good it feels!
The hand of an old friend.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Christus: A Mystery, 1872

Yes 'm, old friends is always best, 'less you can catch a new one that's fit to make an old one out of... ~Sarah Orne Jewett, "A Strange Sail"

Old Friends are best; yet, as the Swift Years run,
Make New Ones too, or Time may leave you None.
~Arthur Guiterman, "Of Friendship," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924

If a man does not make new acquaintance as he advances through life, he will soon find himself left alone. A man, Sir, should keep his friendships in constant repair. ~Samuel Johnson

Keep your friendships in repair, and then see if you do not find your horizon broadened, your life sweetened, and the weary weight of this sad old world lightened. ~Silas X. Floyd (1869–1923), "Keeping Friendship In Repair," Floyd's Flowers: or, Duty and Beauty for Colored Children, 1905

Show Love to those you love, lest Love should fail;
Let not the Long Grass grow on Friendship's Trail.
~Arthur Guiterman, "Of Friendship," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924

The Truest Mirrors Fortune sends
Are Honest Eyes of Faithful Friends.
~Arthur Guiterman, "Of Friendship," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924

Gold knows how to be tested by fire, and loyalty among friends is tested when a crisis comes. ~Menander (c.342–c.292 BCE), translated by Francis G. Allinson, 1921

Make us worthy to have a friend. ~Charles F. Raymond, "A Desire," Just Be Glad, 1907

We are each the star of our own situation comedy, and, with luck, the screwball friend in somebody else's. ~Robert Brault,

Friendship is a sheltering tree... ~Samuel Taylor Coleridge

We are keenly aware of the faults of our friends, but if they like us enough it doesn't matter. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1963

What do we ask of friendship except to be taken for what we pretend to be — and without having to pretend. ~Robert Brault,

But oh! the blessing it is to have a friend to whom one can speak fearlessly on any subject; with whom one's deepest as well as one's most foolish thoughts come out simply and safely. Oh, the comfort — the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person — having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away. ~Dinah Maria Craik, A Life for a Life, "Chapter XVI: Her Story," 1859

One of the trickier challenges of our time is remembering which subject you must never bring up in the presence of which friend. ~Robert Brault,

But friendship is precious not only in the shade but in the sunshine of life: and thanks to a benevolent arrangement of things, the greater part of life is sunshine. ~Thomas Jefferson, 1786

      It has been suggested that the Three Hours for Lunch Club is an immoral institution; that it is founded upon an insufficient respect for the devotions of industry; that it runs counter to the form and pressure of the age; that it encourages a greedy and rambling humour in the young of both sexes; that it even punctures, in the capsule of efficiency and determination by which Great Matters are Put Over...
      But Food is not the chief object of its quest. It is true that Man, bitterly examined, is merely a vehicle for units of nourishing combustion; but on the occasions when the Club feels most truly Itself it rises above such considerations. ~Christopher Morley (1890–1957), "Secret Transactions of the Three Hours for Lunch Club," 1921  [A little altered. My coworkers and I typically take half-hour to hour lunches, but there's this one friend whenever we get together it inevitably stretches to three because we never run out of things to talk about and the time slips right by us! The members of Morley's club were David William Bone, Don Marquis, and Simeon Strunsky. —tg]

Those who expect too much of their friendships have few friends. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1903, George Horace Lorimer, editor

The best time to make friends is before you need them. ~Jamaican proverb

The strongest marriage is between two who seek the same God, the strongest friendship between two who flee the same devil. ~Robert Brault,

It's not how many friends you can count, it's how many of those you can count on. ~Anthony Liccione

Just what is a friend; do you ask of me?
      I think it is one who will ever be
      Loyal and loving, what e'er may betide;
      One who will always stand close by our side
With faith and trust and a fond, cheery smile
      Of understanding for us all the while;
      One who is ready to give us a hand
      As we struggle on through the shifting sands
Of time: an honest, sincere friend is one
      Who will share our sorrows, our joys, our fun;
      And we know in him we can ever trust
      Till the time our bodies return to dust!
~Gertrude Tooley Buckingham, "A Friend," 1940s

Friendship is not essentially a union of personalities, it is an attraction and magnetism of souls. ~Thomas Moore, Soul Mates: Honoring the Mysteries of Love and Relationship, 1994

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,

Though I flatter myself that I am a philosopher, I am not a recluse. I love my books very dearly, as I do my flower-garden, my orchard, and my kail-yard, where... I grow very fine drum-head cabbages; but I also love at times to close my library door, to shut my garden gate, and go forth into the busy world, to mix with my fellows, hear their opinions and give them mine. On these occasions I endeavour to rub off the rust and mildew of a rural solitude, to acquire, I will not say a polish, but a certain smoothness, from the lubrication of social intercourse. At the same time cultivate my sympathies by laughing at human nature, whenever, as Beaumarchais says, I am not inclined to weep for it. ~Charles Mackay, The Twin Soul, 1887  [I as well like to spend time with my books all week and then go out to happy hour on Fridays! 😂 —tg]

Some friendships are made by nature, some by contract, some by interest, and some by souls. ~Jeremy Taylor (1613–1667), "A Discourse of the Nature, Offices, and Measures of Friendship, &c."

...a touch of friendship can burn.
we can burn one another like two suns of different colors
—strange lights and rainbows
caused by one for the other...
~Ken Sekaquaptewa and Candy St. Jacques, Sahuaro, 1970, yearbook of the Associated Students of Arizona State University

'Tis a great confidence in a friend to tell him your faults, greater to tell him his. ~Benjamin Franklin

FRIENDSHIP.  A mutual belief in the same fallacies, mountebanks, hobgoblins and imbecilities. ~H. L. Mencken

The Friend asks no return but that his Friend will religiously accept and wear and not disgrace his apotheosis of him. They cherish each other's hopes. They are kind to each other's dreams. ~Henry David Thoreau

It is when there is nothing you can say or do to help that a friend needs you the most. ~Robert Brault,

Your friend is your needs answered.
He is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving.
And he is your board and your fireside.
For you come to him with your hunger, and you seek him for peace.
~Khalil Gibran, The Prophet, 1923

And let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit. ~Khalil Gibran, The Prophet, 1923

And let your best be for your friend.
If he must know the ebb of your tide, let him know its flood also.
For what is your friend that you should seek him with hours to kill?
Seek him always with hours to live.
~Khalil Gibran, The Prophet, 1923

And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.
For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.
~Khalil Gibran, The Prophet, 1923

As a friend, you don't always know what to say that will help, but you usually know what not to say that won't. ~Robert Brault,

Without wearing any mask we are conscious of, we have a special face for each friend. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

A man's growth is seen in the successive choirs of his friends. For every friend whom he loses for truth, he gains a better. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Circles"

If ever the future should bring to you a time when you need a man's help, believe me, you will not call in vain. God grant that no such time may ever come to you to break the sunshine of your life; but if it should ever come, promise me that you will let me know. ~Bram Stoker, Dracula, 1897

The brother-soul and the brother-heart
      Of a friend or two
Makes us drift on from the crowd apart,
      With a friend or two;
For come days happy or come days sad
We count no hours but the ones made glad
By the hale good times we have ever had
      With a friend or two.
~Wilbur D. Nesbit, "A Friend or Two," 1907

If I had to sum up Friendship in one word, it would be Comfort. ~Terri Guillemets

Friendship is Love with jewels on, but without either flowers or veil. ~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827

How few friends would remain friends if each could see the sentiments of the other in their entirety. ~Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742–1799), translated by Norman Alliston, 1908

A disquieting loneliness came into my life, but it induced no hunger for friends of longer acquaintance: they seemed now like a salt-free, sugarless diet. ~Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany's, 1958

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, Cakes and Ale, 1930

It's terrible to lose a friend when you don't have many. ~The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, 2018, screenplay by Kevin Hood, Don Roos, and Tom Bezucha, based on the 2008 novel by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

I should have gone mad by this time but for you. Will you be my friend whatever happens? ~George MacDonald, Wilfrid Cumbermede, 1871

And it is no little thing to hear a fellow-creature say "Thank you, friend." ~Barbra Ring, Før kulden kommer, 1915, translated from the Norwegian by W. Emmé, Into the Dark, 1923

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