Take 5 – Thoughts on Friendship

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

Over the past week or so I’ve been thinking about and reading passages on the concept friendship. So, for this week’s Take 5, I thought I’d share some quotes on friendship that I’ve come across recently which I found thought provoking and helpful.

The Greek philosopher Epicurus was a huge proponent of friendship being imperative in the pursuit of a happy life: “Of all the things that wisdom provides to help one live one’s entire life in happiness, the greatest by far is the possession of friendship.”

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

It can have quite the calming and reassuring effect knowing that a friend will be there when we need them more than when they are actually are.

Like Epicurus, French philosopher Michel de Montaigne believed friendship to be an essential component of happiness:

"In my judgement the sweetness of well-matched and compatible fellowship can never cost too dear. O! a friend! How true is that ancient judgement, that the frequenting of one is more sweet than the element of water, more necessary than the element fire."

"What we normally call friends and friendships is no more than acquaintances and familiar relationships bound by some chance or some suitability, by means of which our souls support each other. In the friendship which I am talking about, souls are mingled and confounded in so universal a blending that they efface the seam which joins them together so that it cannot be found."

It is the true friend who gets to see our authentic portrait, our inner most secrets, whose unwavering love for us is irrespective of appearance, material possessions or social status.

It is not uncommon for people who are married to declare that their partner is also their best friend, something which I think is important and echoed by the sentiments of Nietzsche, “It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.”

Friends enable us to do and become many things, so, “let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom”, as Marcel Proust would say.

Let us, “be slow to fall into friendship; but when thou art in, continue firm & constant”, as Socrates advised.

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