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While many cultures emphasize romantic relationships as the most important ones in your life, there is a lot to be treasured in friends. Research has shown that true friendships can bring more happiness and fulfillment into your life than anything else. They provide a long-term social connection that can positively impact your physical, mental and spiritual well-being. In the best scenarios, friendships help you embrace your self-worth. Many of the people you choose as friends watch you grow into old age and cheer you on at each milestone. Here are some of the best quotes about friends.

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Friendship is a choice

"Friends are the family you choose." (origin unknown)



Everyone accepts their family as the clan of people you get to share experiences with throughout your life. However, these people are ones that you chose to be a part of your life. They seem to have been chosen for you. Friends are different. You get to decide who stays in your life in some meaningful way. The longer these people stay, the more they become your extended family.

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Friendships take time

"Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow ripening fruit." (Aristotle)



We do not always know that someone is going to be a long-time friend when they first appear in our lives. Building trust and a foundation for growth takes time. What Aristotle meant by this quote is that you may find people with whom you have a lot in common or some natural affinity to on a few encounters. The real test of the depth of your friendship, however, is going to take some aging, like fruit or fine wine.

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Converting people who are enemies into friends

"Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?" (Abraham Lincoln)   It is amazing how fine the line is between friends and enemies. Sometimes, a person can be both effectively. Think of the long-standing celebrity feud between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. Because they chased the same prizes, it was easy for them to feel some level of hate for one another. However, when the chips were down for either, both women showed up for one another. It gives new meaning to Sun Tzu's quote, "Keep your friends close, your enemies even closer." In some ways, people cannot become your proper enemies until they have had a stint as your friend.

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Friends don't shy away from your troubles

"The friend who holds your hand and says the wrong thing is made of dearer stuff than the one who stays away." (Barbara Kingsolver)



It is tough to hear the truth about yourself of your situation sometimes. In fact, in times of trouble, we sometimes tend to stick to people who flatter us instead of telling us the unflattering truth. This is not true friendship. Your real friend is the one who will say the difficult thing, the thing everyone else is avoiding because they respect you that much. Stay away from the flatterers. They are not your friends.

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Disagreements don't end real friendships

"A friendship that can end never really began." (Publilius Syrus)   There are so many tales of best friends who parted ways because of some argument or betrayal that seemed larger than life at the time it happened. No disagreement changes the status of friendship if it is real. The best friendships you can have are the ones that allow you to fall out in the morning and sip coffee together by dinner time. If a disagreement makes either of you walk away from each other forever, you must question whether it was ever a real friendship.

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Friends are invested in you being your best

"No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow." (Alice Walker)



Even when a true friend is quietly envious of your success, they will not begrudge you a moment to shine. They can push the smallness of their envy low on the list of priorities and celebrate your growth. A friend who cannot do this is more of an acquaintance than a friend. Likewise, anyone who tries to silence your voice is denying your right to grow.

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Friends share your true life experiences

"One loyal friend is worth ten thousand relatives." (Euripides)   Because you don't choose your relatives, you don't get to choose what they automatically know about you. However, you can choose which things they don't know and that you get to share exclusively with friends. Sometimes, your friends know a whole different side of you that your family never sees.

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Friends love you in spite of your faults

"Love is blind; friendship closes its eyes." (Friedrich Nietzsche)



Nietzsche truly understood friendship when he penned this quote. People who are in love don't see one another's faults. Friends see your faults and love you anyway. They know the faults exist and make a deliberate choice to keep you in their inner circle.

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Friends are more intimate than lovers

"Lovers have a right to betray you. Friends don't." (Judy Holliday)   It seems almost impossible to imagine that you can be closer to anyone other than a lover, but you can. Lovers know you as a lover. Friends know you in so many other capacities and have seen you at your best, worst and stages in between. You often tell your friends things you can't tell your lovers. Maybe it's because you realize the possibility exists that your lover may not always be your lover. There is a greater chance that your friend will be your friend for life.

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Friends remain during misfortune

"Misfortune tests the sincerity of friends." (Aesop)



You may have a million "friends" when you are doing well and have a lot of social clout. However, once you lose your belongings or fall from grace, those "friends" start to disappear. Hard times can be very enlightening and show you the true nature of the people around you. Perhaps Oprah Winfrey said it best: "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."

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