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Is Friendship a Kind of Love?

Do you rank Friendship above or below Eros?

Friendship must be willed. But more than this is necessary. A few years ago I worked on the same project with a man close to me in age and cultural interests. I had high respect for both his intelligence and his emotional qualities. We also found ourselves in perfect accord on ideological and spiritual matters. I have rarely so intensely desired to become anyone’s friend; I confided my desire to him and from all evidence he had an identical desire. We made meritorious efforts to meet one another, endeavoured to achieve as intimate a dialogue as possible and acted in all things like friends. It was all in vain; the emotional spark was not forthcoming. We had to resign ourselves to being good companions, friends in the broad sense of the term. We got along marvellously on the intellectual plane, but our emotional accord left something to be desired.

Ignace Lepp

Suppose you are fortunate enough to have “fallen in love with” and married your friend. And now suppose it possible that you were offered the choice of two futures: “Either you two will cease to be lovers but remain forever joint seekers of the same God, the same beauty, the same truth, or else, losing all that, you will retain as long as you live the raptures and ardours, all the wonder and the wild desire of Eros. Choose which you please.” Which should we choose? Which choice should we not regret after we had made it?

C. S. Lewis

Contrary to general belief, I do not believe that friends are necessarily the people you like best, they are merely the people who got there first. Most of my friends have faults which are all the more blatant because of their proximity, and yet they are people you are never out for if they ring. Even with your drunk, you [his alter ego] let him into your dressing-room on three different occasions because you were animated by ancient and guilty feelings of friendship. And yet there are many people you meet casually with whom you could be the best of friends if only you had met them sooner. All in all, I don’t believe you choose your friends any more than you choose your parents. After all, if you were able to choose your friends with the same application and caution with which you choose your wife, you’d have antagonized most of them years ago, and lost them. No, no, you drift into friendships, and there is no divorce. You are stuck with most of them for life. And friendship revives quickly even after a long absence, often with people who are entirely reprehensible, unreliable and even spiteful.

Peter Ustinov



Thoughts about Friendship

A certain likeness must exist between friends, a more or less essential community of interests.

Too great an identity of character or temperament often proves to be an obstacle to friendship.

A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him I may think aloud.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence. True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation.

George Washington

A true friend is the most precious of all possessions and the one we take least thought about acquiring.

La Rochefoucauld

Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel.

Hamlet (Polonius)

Friendless: Having no favours to bestow. Destitute of fortune. Addicted to utterance of truth and common sense.

Ambrose Bierce

Friends are God’s apology for relations.

Hugh Kingsmill

Friendship can exist in the absence of agreement, but not in the absence of sympathy.

I declare friendship to be the most precious thing in life. But it’s like a plant that withers if it is not heedfully fostered and tended. It’s only by constant thought, by visits, by little services, and by abundant sympathy at all times that friends can be kept.

Sidney Cockerell

Friendship is almost always the union of a part of one mind with a part of another; people are friends in spots.

George Santayana

Friendship, like eros and affection, has its source in emotional energy.

Ignace Lepp

I have no duty to be anyone’s friend and no man in the world has a duty to be mine.

C. S. Lewis

In friendship ‘Do you love me?’ means ‘Do you see the same truth?’ —or at least, ‘Do you care about the same truth?’ The person who agrees with us that some thing is of great interest or importance can be our friend.

If we were all given by magic the power to read each other’s thoughts, I suppose the first effect would be to dissolve all friendships.

Bertrand Russell

It is well, when one is judging a friend, to remember that he is judging you with the same godlike and superior impartiality.

Arnold Bennett

In the misfortune of our friends we find something which is not displeasing to us.

La Rochefoucauld

It is in and by friendship that we experience ourselves.

Without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods.

Aristotle

Without friendship life is nothing.

Cicero

Life is to be fortified by many friendships. To love, and to be loved, is the greatest happiness of existence.

Sydney Smith

Love demands infinitely less than friendship.

The perfect friend to my mind is one who believes in you from the start and never requires explanations and assurances.

Dame Laurentia McLachlan

Never speak ill of yourself, your friends will always say enough on that subject.

Tallyrand

Give me the avowed, the erect, the manly foe,
Bold I can meet—perhaps may turn his blow;
But of all plagues, good Heaven, thy wrath can send,
Save, save, oh save me from the Candid Friend.

Our chief want in life is somebody who shall make us do what we can; this is the service of a friend.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The unconscious seems to divine sometimes not only what the other already is, but what he is capable of becoming, perhaps precisely because of our friendship.

People not qualified to enter a circle of friends must be excluded or the circle will be transformed into something else.

C. S. Lewis

In friendship no standard applies except the standards of friendship. That is why it is the most delightful of all human relationships.

Malcolm Muggeridge

The bond of companionship, both in marriage and friendship, is conversation.

Oscar Wilde

The proper concern of friendship is fundamental things.

There are bad friendships as there are bad marriages.

To find a friend one must close one eye. To keep him—two.

We only know someone through friendship.

St. Augustine

Love comes from blindness, friendship from knowledge.

The most profound and beautiful thing is friendship.

Jean Vanier

Without the experience of a solid and deep friendship we can only have a pessimistic vision of human nature.

He was my friend, faithful and just to me.

Julius Caesar (Antony speaking of Caesar)

You cannot be friends upon any other terms than upon the terms of equality.

Woodrow Wilson

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