Quotes About Friends by Maya Angelou

What the Famous Poet and Activist Says About Friendship

Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou gives advice for friendship and life. Ken Charnock/Getty Images

Maya Angelou passed away May 28, 2014, and many felt her loss. She was an inspiration to so many people and her words go right to the heart of what friendship is all about.

Here are ten quotes from Maya Angelou that speak to the subject of friendship.

“It's one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody."

One of the biggest myths about forgiveness is that it’s for the other person. It isn’t. It’s for us. When we make the choice to forgive we allow our emotions to follow the positive forces in our life instead of the people who hurt us.

Whether you stay in a friendship after a betrayal or not, you must forgive so you can be a healthy, whole person that is free to accept a positive relationship into your life after that.

“Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.”

We’re too desperate to have friends, sometimes. Instead of a calm assurance that welcomes new people into our life, we chase after them, and some of the ones we find aren’t good for us.

How many times can we make excuses for a toxic friendship? If you’re like most people, you’ll spend a good amount of time trying to figure out if your friend is having a few really bad days or is not your friend at all.

Toxic friendships are hard to spot because on the surface, they can look like any other relationship on a bad day. But when you finally realize that your friend is not good for you, when your friendship is so one-sided you’ll never have the give and take that a real friendship should have, it’s time to end it.

“To those who have given up on love, I say, 'Trust life a little bit.'"

This quote also applies to friendship. People sometimes say, “That’s it! I’m giving up on making friends” but when you feel that way, remember the possibilities that exist when you just put yourself out there and try. You have everything to lose by deciding that you’re not meant to have friends in your life. Trust that you deserve good friends and will find them.

“Nothing will work unless you do."

Friendship takes work. Finding friends, nurturing friendships, scheduling face time, it all take a tremendous amount of work. But it’s worth it. If you put in the effort, you’ll see the rewards of positive friends who will make your life extraordinary.

Many people complain especially about how much work a new friendship is. It takes more time because you haven’t establish firm footing yet. You might even be the one to call repeatedly in the beginning and feel like you’re not getting back the effort you’re putting in. But you will. It takes time.

“My wish for you is that you continue. Continue to be who and how you are, to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness."

It’s too easy to be defeated by the negativity we see. Let us push away the thoughts of people being rude to us, and instead focus on what we can do instead. You might never know how valuable a random act of kindness was to someone. Here’s over 100 ideas for doing something nice. See if these don’t help transform your opinion also.

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

It should be of comfort that we can often use completely wrong words to help a friend and yet still make them feel better because of the intent behind what we say. Sincerity goes a long way in friendship.

You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them."

How often do we let one person ruin our day? Or allow a friendship that ended to consume us in grief so fierce that we stop trying to connect with people again?

The fact is, people aren’t perfect. Friends will let you down. But how you respond with your words and actions will help you be a stronger person, and maybe even become someone that can help another person.

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better."

Have you ever been hung up on regrets about what you’d do differently with a friendship that perhaps ended? The irony is that the only reason you know what you should have done now is because you made the mistake then. The times we mess up are lessons to us.

When you feel yourself falling into regret, shake the thought free and focus on the wisdom you gained instead. Embrace the belief that you’re a better friend now because you learned from your mistakes.

“When people show you who they are, believe them."

We give people a lot of chances sometimes. That’s human nature, to want to see the value in everyone, to give people a pass when they mess up. But sometimes people are undeserving of our trust, and we usually know it right away. We sense it. But we don’t always act accordingly.

Then, when a friend hurts us, we waste hours and days and months wondering what we did to cause it. When really, we probably did nothing at all.

This quote isn’t about being mistrustful. It’s about learning to trust your gut. It’s about showing vulnerability little by little so you understand where the boundaries are with each friend.

“This is a wonderful day. I have never seen this one ever before."

Very often, our life changes in small ways. One tiny thing builds upon the next. You have the opportunity to make this a good day for yourself and someone else. What will you do with this chance? Will you forgive a friend, make a vow to add more positive people to your life? As Maya Angelou says, it is a wonderful day filled with new opportunities.

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