Top 50 Quotes on Friendship in Stoicism

Top 50 Quotes on Friendship in Stoicism

Stoicism, the ancient Greco-Roman philosophy founded by Zeno of Citium, offers timeless wisdom on what constitutes genuine friendship and how to be a good friend. The great Stoic philosophers like Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, and Epictetus believed that true friendship is based on virtue, mutual growth, and shared values rather than pleasure or utility.

For anyone seeking to cultivate meaningful connections and be a better friend, the insights of the Stoics provide invaluable guidance. Here we've curated 50 of the most profound Stoic quotes on the nature of friendship, how to choose friends wisely, and how to nurture connections that bring out the best in one another.

Top 50 Friendship Quotes in Stoicism

The Essence of True Friendship

1. "A friend is a second self." - Zeno of Citium

2. "The best kind of friendship is one in which each person is concerned for the other's character." - Musonius Rufus

3. "Friendship produces between us a partnership in all our interests." - Seneca

4. "A true friend is one soul in two bodies." - Aristotle, according to Diogenes Laertius

5. "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

6. "A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

7. "Friendship is settled, you must trust; before friendship is formed, you must pass judgment." - Seneca

8. "Ponder for a long time whether you shall admit a given person to your friendship; but when you have decided to admit him, welcome him with all your heart and soul." - Seneca

9. "Regard him as loyal and you will make him loyal." - Seneca

10. "The end of friendship is a commerce the most strict and homely that can be joined." - Michel de Montaigne

Choosing Friends Wisely

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

12. "Associate with people who are likely to improve you." - Seneca

13. "Whoever you are who wish to be a friend, let these judgments be first made and beyond altering." - Epictetus

14. "Before friendship is formed, you must pass judgment. Those persons indeed put last first and confound their duties, who judge a man after they have made him their friend, instead of making him their friend after they have judged him." - Seneca

15. "If you consider any man a friend whom you do not trust as you trust yourself, you are mightily mistaken and you do not sufficiently understand what true friendship means." - Seneca

16. "When friendship is settled, you must trust; before friendship is formed, you must pass judgment." - Seneca

17. "Attach yourself to what is spiritually superior, regardless of what other people think or do. Hold to your true aspirations no matter what is going on around you." - Epictetus

18. "The best kind of revenge is not to be like your enemy." - Marcus Aurelius

19. "Seek not the good in external things; seek it in yourselves." - Epictetus

20. "We should not, like sheep, follow the herd of creatures in front of us, making our way where others go, not where we ought to go." - Seneca

Nurturing Friendships and Personal Growth

21. "Whenever you want to cheer yourself up, consider the good qualities of your companions, for example, the energy of one, the modesty of another, the generosity of yet another, and some other quality of another." - Marcus Aurelius

22. "If you wish to be loved, love." - Hecato, quoted by Seneca

23. "Adapt yourself to the life you have been given, and truly love the people with whom destiny has surrounded you." - Marcus Aurelius

24. "Associate with those who will make a better man of you. Welcome those whom you yourself can improve." - Seneca

25. "The process is mutual; for men learn while they teach." - Seneca

26. "Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body." - Seneca

27. "Don't explain your philosophy. Embody it." - Epictetus

28. "We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak." - Epictetus

29. "Deliberate much before saying or doing anything, for you will not have the power of recalling what is said or done." - Epictetus

30. "Forward, as occasion offers. Never look round to see whether any shall note it. Be satisfied with success in even the smallest matter, and think that even such a result is no trifle." - Marcus Aurelius

Stoic Insights on Love and Affection

31. "Whenever you kiss your child, sibling, or friend, don't layer on top of the experience all the things you might wish, but hold them back and stop them, just as those who ride behind triumphant generals remind them they are mortal." - Epictetus

32. "We suffer more often in imagination than in reality." - Seneca

33. "It is not the man who has too little who is poor, but the one who hankers after more." - Seneca

34. "Throw me to the wolves and I will return leading the pack." - Seneca

35. "Happiness is a good flow of life." - Zeno

Navigating Challenges and Conflicts

36. "It's silly to try to escape other people's faults. They are inescapable. Just try to escape your own." - Marcus Aurelius

37. "We are not privy to the stories behind people's actions, so we should be patient with others and suspend judgement of them, recognizing the limits of our understanding." - Epictetus

38. "All men make mistakes, but a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong, and repairs the evil. The only crime is pride." - Sophocles

39. "That which is not good for the bee-hive cannot be good for the bees." - Marcus Aurelius

40. "How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it." - Marcus Aurelius

The Stoic Path to Fulfilling Friendships

41. "No man is free who is not master of himself." - Epictetus

42. "First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do." - Epictetus

43. "Circumstances don't make the man, they only reveal him to himself." - Epictetus

44. "It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters." - Epictetus

45. "Only the educated are free." - Epictetus

46. "Know, first, who you are, and then adorn yourself accordingly." - Epictetus

47. "You become what you give your attention to." - Epictetus

48. "Do every act of your life as though it were the very last act of your life." - Marcus Aurelius

49. "As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters." - Seneca

50. "Life is very short and anxious for those who forget the past, neglect the present, and fear the future." - Seneca

The Stoics offer profound insights on the nature of true friendship - one based on virtue, mutual growth, and shared values. By internalizing these timeless lessons, we can choose friends wisely, be better friends ourselves, and cultivate connections that bring out the best in one another. In embodying Stoic wisdom, we pave the path to deep, fulfilling friendships that enrich our lives and help us grow into the best versions of ourselves.

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