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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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The most I can do for my friend is simply to be his friend. I have no wealth to bestow on him. If he knows that I am happy in loving him, he will want no other reward. Is not friendship divine in this?

— Henry David Thoreau

Be true to your work, your word, and your friend.

— Henry David Thoreau

True friendship can afford true knowledge. It does not depend on darkness and ignorance.

— Henry David Thoreau

It is not the gift, but the thought that counts.

— Henry Van Dyke

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.

— Henry Ward Beecher

You can’t shake hands with a clenched fist.

— Indira Gandhi

Remember, no man is a failure who has friends.

— It’s a Wonderful Life

In the spiritual life nowhere do our ideals meet the actual more truly than in how we relate to each other, in how we make, sustain and are friends.

— James Ishmael Ford

Much of the vitality in a friendship lies in the honoring of differences, not simply in the enjoyment of similarities.

— James L. Fredericks

Friendship is the finest balm for the pangs of despised love.

— Jane Austen

Business, you know, may bring money, but friendship hardly ever does.

— Jane Austen

There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.

— Jane Austen

Never part without loving words to think of during your absence. It may be that you will not meet again in this life.

— Jean Paul Richter

Writing is a solitary occupation. Family, friends, and society are the natural enemies of the writer. He must be alone, uninterrupted, and slightly savage if he is to sustain and complete an undertaking.

— Jessamyn West

In prosperity our friends know us; in adversity we know our friends.

— John Churton Collins

The greatest sweetener of human life is Friendship. To raise this to the highest pitch of enjoyment, is a secret which but few discover.

— Joseph Addison

Men build too many walls and not enough bridges.

— Joseph Fort Newton

Sweet, sweet burn of sun and summer wind, and you my friend, my new fun thing, my summer fling.

— K. D. Lang

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

— Katherine Mansfield

Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.

— Laozi (Lao Tzu)

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

— Letty Cottin Pogrebin

‘Stay’ is a charming word in a friend’s vocabulary.

— Louisa May Alcott

Consult your friend on all things, especially on those which respect yourself. His counsel may then be useful where your own self-love might impair your judgment.

— Lucius Annaeus Seneca

It’s a strange thing how you can spend years with some folks and never know them, yet, with others, you only need a handful of days to know them far beyond years.

— Lynda Rutledge, West With Giraffes

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

— Marcel Proust

[W]e all need friends with whom we can speak of our deepest concerns, and who do not fear to speak the truth in love to us.

— Margaret Guenther

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

— Margaret Mead

Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.

— Mark Twain

The holy passion of friendship is of so sweet and steady and loyal and enduring a nature that it will last through a whole lifetime, if not asked to lend money.

— Mark Twain

It’s the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter.

— Marlene Dietrich
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