The Art of Friendship

friendship

Friendship is one of the treasures in life.  We all need friends.  We need someone we can talk to, share things with, go places with, cry and laugh with. We all need a best friend, a circle of friends, we are all “people who need people” as the song says.  Some of us are blessed with a lot of friends and some with very few.  It is not the quantity that counts, it is the quality.

Good friends are born from common interests, common values, and a commitment to one another.  A history together makes a big difference but it can often dry up, you have that original burst of enthusiasm when you reconnect, and then realize that what you had before is gone.  On the other hand,  you might find that the roots of those old friendships go deeper than you thought.

True friends are committed to your happiness and success as you are to theirs.  They will tell you the truth even if you do not like it and will not ask you to place your friendship before your principles.  Friends should be a good influence, encouraging you to live up to your full potential. Relationships are an important factor in happiness and friends play a major role in personal happiness.  Aristotle said there are three types of friendships:

  • Utility friendships where each person benefits in some way from the other
  • Pleasure friendships, based on personalities, fun, and common interests
  • Virtuous or Goodness friendships based on admiration, shared values, and striving together for the greater good

Not surprisingly, virtue-based friendships last the longest and bring the most happiness to those in the relationship.  If you want to find happiness, find friends that share your values, who support you, and make you feel good. There are some key elements to maintaining friendships that are good to remember:

  1. Don’t take your friends for granted. Be grateful for them and let them know how much you appreciate them.
  2. Don’t judge, don’t criticize unless you can provide positive criticism, and don’t talk about your friends behind their backs.
  3. Revel in your friends’ successes and support them when they are struggling.
  4. Don’t let small disagreements fester. Don’t be petty.  Be compassionate and forgiving.
  5. Be there when your friends need you.
  6. Don’t make it all about you. Friendship is a mutual affair, make sure there is a nice balance of give and take in the relationship.
  7. Be your own best friend, never take advantage of a friendship or let your friends take advantage of you.
  8. Keep in touch regardless of distances that may separate you.
  9. Respect your friends’ confidences and beliefs.
  10. Be your own best friend.

I cannot stress the importance of being your own best friend first – if you love yourself and are your own best friend, you will be a much better friend to others.  If you want to deepen you friendships and develop new ones, focus on your own personality traits and what you can give to the relationship.  Friendships take work and require that you be:

  1. Accepting
  2. Compassionate
  3. Dependable
  4. Empathetic
  5. Good Listener
  6. Honest
  7. Loving
  8. Loyal
  9. Non-Judgemental
  10. Open
  11. Perceptive
  12. Positive
  13. Respectful
  14. Self-Confident
  15. Supportive
  16. Trustworthy

There is no doubt that friendships are a blessing and also no doubt that they do require work.  They need to be nurtured and appreciated.  No man is an island and good friendships are an integral and beautiful part of the fabric of our lives.  Cherish your friendships and be open to new ones.  The more you live in a state of love for yourself and others, the happier you will be.

Tis the privilege of friendship to talk nonsense, and to have her nonsense respected.
Charles Lamb
Friendship consists in forgetting what one gives and remembering what one receives.
Alexander Dumas
Every friendship travels at sometime through the black valley of despair. This tests every aspect of your affection. You lose the attraction and the magic. Your sense of each other darkens and your presence is sore. If you can come through this time, it can purify with your love, and falsity and need will fall away. It will bring you onto new ground where affection can grow again.
John O'Donohue
The friend who holds your hand and says the wrong thing is made of dearer stuff than the one who stays away.
Barbara Kingsolver
I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light.
Helen Keller
A friendship that can end never really began
Publilius Syrus
Friendship is always a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity.
Khalil Gibran
Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.
Marcel Proust
Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow ripening fruit.
Aristotle
A good friend can tell you what is the matter with you in a minute. He may not seem such a good friend after telling.
Arthur Brisbane
I don't need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod- my shadow does that much better.
Plutarch
Anybody can sympathize with the sufferings of a friend, but it requires a very fine nature to sympathise with a friend's success.
Oscar Wilde
My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me.
Henry Ford
What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies.
Aristotle
A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.
William Shakespeare
Sometimes being a friend means mastering the art of timing. There is a time for silence. A time to let go and allow people to hurl themselves into their own destiny. And a time to prepare to pick up the pieces when it's all over.
Octavia Butler
Sweet is the memory of distant friends! Like the mellow rays of the departing sun, it falls tenderly, yet sadly, on the heart.
Washington Irving
I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you
John 15:15
It's the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter.
Marlene Dietrich
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
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
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
Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art. It has no survival value- rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.
C.S. Lewis
I think if I've learned anything about friendship, it's to hang in, stay connected, fight for them, and let them fight for you. Don't walk away, don't be distracted, don't be too busy or tired, don't take them for granted. Friends are part of the glue that holds life and faith together. Powerful stuff.
Jon Katz
No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow.
Alice Walker
Growing apart doesn't change the fact that for a long time we grew side by side. Our roots will always be tangled. I'm glad for that.
Ally Condie
Friendship is the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words.
George Eliot
Love is blind. Friendship closes its eyes.
Friedrich Nietzsche
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
Friendship is like money, easier made than kept. but when thou art in, continue firm and and constant.
Samuel Butler
True friendship comes when the silence between two people is comfortable.
David Tyson Gentry
In prosperity our friends know us. In adversity we know our friends.
John Churton Collins
We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over so in a series of kindnesses there is at last one which makes the heart run over.
Ray Bradbury
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
Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together.
Woodrow T. Wilson
Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?
Abraham Lincoln
There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.
Linda Grayson
Friends are the family you choose.
Jess C. Scott
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
Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It's not something you learn in school. But if you haven't learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven't learned anything.
Muhammad Ali
You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.
Dale Carnegie
We'll be Friends Forever, won't we, Pooh?' asked Piglet. Even longer,' Pooh answered.
A.A. Milne
We are all travelers in the desert of life and the best we can find in our journey is an honest friend.
Robert Louis Stevenson
Friendship improves happiness, and abates misery, by doubling our joys, and dividing our grief.
Marcus Tullius Cicero
The rule of friendship means there should be mutual sympathy between them, each supplying what the other lacks and trying to benefit the other, always using friendly and sincere words.
Marcus Tullius Cicero
Some people go to priests, others to poetry, I to my friends.
Virginia Woolf
The only way to have a friend is to be one.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
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
The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, not the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship. It is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Friendship marks a life even more deeply than love. Love risks degenerating into obsession, friendship is never anything but sharing.
Elie Wiesel
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
The language of friendship is not words but meanings.
Henry David Thoreau
Be slow to fall into friendship- but when thou art in, continue firm and but when thou art in, continue firm and constant.
Socrates
A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.
Elbert Hubbard
How many slams in an old screen door? Depends how loud you shut it. How many slices in a bread? Depends how thin you cut it. How much good inside a day? Depends how good you live 'em. How much love inside a friend? Depends how much you give 'em.
Shel Silverstein
Never leave a friend behind. Friends are all we have to get us through this life and they are the only things from this world that we could hope to see in the next.
Dean Koontz

 

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