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Friendship is the art and craft of making and keeping friends, of nurturing a mutual relationship with another human being. Friends are comrades in the journey of life, providing support, understanding, and fellowship. Below you’ll read what some have thought about the pleasures and challenges of being a friend.

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Few friendships would survive if each one knew what his friend says of him behind his back.

— Blaise Pascal

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

— C. S. Lewis

If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him.

— Cesar Chavez

We hate some persons because we do not know them; and will not know them because we hate them.

— Charles Caleb Colton

A brief candle; both ends burning
An endless mile; a bus wheel turning
A friend to share the lonesome times
A handshake and a sip of wine
So say it loud and let it ring
We are all a part of everything
The future, present and the past
Fly on proud bird
You’re free at last.

— Charlie Daniels, written en route to the funeral for his friend, Ronnie Van Zant of the band, Lynyrd Skynyrd

Ironically, as much as we yearn for deep friendships and meaningful communities, many of us seem to be unable to find our way into them. Even if we know we’re made for community, finding one and staying there seems almost impossible. Though we hate to admit it, if we stay long enough in any relationship or set of friendships, we will experience failure, doubt, burnout, loneliness, transitions, a loss of self, betrayal, frustration, a sense of entitlement, grief, and weariness. Yet it’s these painful community experiences, these tensions we struggle to navigate, that hold surprising gifts.

— Chris L. Heuertz, Unexpected Gifts: Discovering the Way of Community

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

— Cicero

Silence is the true friend that never betrays.

— Confucius

To cement a new friendship, especially between foreigners or persons of a different social world, a spark with which both were secretly charged must fly from person to person, and cut across the accidents of place and time.

— Cornelia Otis Skinner

Truth springs from argument amongst friends.

— David Hume

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

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 Mulock Craik

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. At these moments something fine and spiritual passes between two friends. These are the moments worth living.

— Don Marquis

You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what’s a life, anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die. A spider’s life can’t help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.

— E. B. White, Charlotte, of Charlotte’s Web

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

— E. M. Forster

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.

— Edgar Watson Howe

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

— Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Leadership through self-differentiation is not easy; learning techniques and imbibing data are far easier. Nor is striving or achieving success as a leader without pain: there is the pain of isolation, the pain of loneliness, the pain of personal attacks, the pain of losing friends. That’s what leadership is all about.

— Edwin H. Friedman, A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix

After all, I can’t complain. I have my friends.

— Eeyore (A. A. Milne)

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

— Elbert Hubbard

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

— Eleanor Roosevelt

Friendship marks a life even more deeply than love. Love risks degenerating into obsession, friendship is never anything but sharing.

— Elie Wiesel

No man can be called friendless who has God and the companionship of good books.

— Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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

— Elizabeth Foley

All love that has not friendship for its base,
Is like a mansion built upon the sand.

— Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Bereavement in their death to feel
Whom We have never seen —
A Vital Kinsmanship import
Our Soul and theirs — between —

For Stranger — Strangers do not mourn —
There be Immortal friends
Whom Death see first — ‘tis news of this
That paralyze Ourselves…

Who, vital only to Our Thought —
Such Presence bear away
In dying — ‘tis as if Our Souls
Absconded — suddenly —

— Emily Dickinson

I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you — Nobody — too?
Then there’s a pair of us?
Don’t tell! they’d advertise — you know!

— Emily Dickinson

The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best.

— Epictetus

It is not so much our friends’ help that helps us as the confident knowledge that they will help us.

— Epicurus, 3rd century BCE

People die from lack of shared empathy and affinity. By establishing social connectedness, we give hope a chance and the other can become heaven.

— Erik Pevernagie
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