8 Quotes About Friendship From the Literary World

Words from Emily Dickinson and more

The literary world can make us look at friendship in a different way than we did before. These friendship quotes by Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, Jane Austen, and more, will show you why friendship is important in your life.

We found many of these quotes to be quite refreshing, in part because these writers seemed to support each other. Some say writers are jealous of each other, but this collection of quotes indicates just the opposite. The quotes that follow are as unique and diverse as the writers they are attributed to.

Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson
Emily Dickinson - Hulton Archive / Getty Images

"My friends are my estate."

Despite being a virtual recluse, Emily Dickinson understood the importance of friendship. This quote says it all. No matter what you acquire in life, nothing makes you feel more privileged than a strong friendship.

Khalil Gibran

A Photograph of the face of Khalil Gibran
Wikimedia Commons

"Friendship is always a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity."

Khalil Gibran's thoughts on friendship and love and life are some of the most positive and inspiring words I've ever read. His famous book, The Prophet, was made into an animated movie.

His message is simple, friendship is a gift to us and we must cherish it and be thankful for it. 

Mark Twain

Mark Twain
Life Magazine/Wikimedia Commons

"Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of joy you must have somebody to divide it with."

Doesn't this quote just sum up the beauty of friendship? So often we think of needing friends during times of stress, but Twain reminds us that having someone to share your happy times is even more special.

George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans)

George Eliot
Sir Frederick Burton/Wikimedia Commons

“What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other.”

The world is so interconnected. We are all a part of each other's lives, more than we probably even realize. This quote reminds us that friends need to support and help each other. It's that simple.

Jane Austen

Jane Austen
Hulton Archive / Getty Images

“Friendship is certainly the finest balm for the pangs of disappointed love.”

If you've been dumped or hurt by love there is nothing like a kind word from your friends. Your pals will help get you out of the house, on with your life, and wondering why you were pining after that guy or girl to begin with. They help keep you focused on what's really important in life, which is finding someone who appreciates you, just as you are.

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman, poet; half-length, seated, wearing hat.
Mathew Brady/Wikimedia Commons/PD-US

"I no doubt deserved my enemies, but I don't believe I deserved my friends."

So often we think exactly the opposite of what this quote says, which is probably why I like it. It makes you take pause, doesn't it? Friends are truly a blessing and we get them not from being perfect, but because we are so very lucky to find them.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Emerson, poet and thinker
Internet Archive Book Images/Flickr/No known copyright

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

One of the benefits of having good friends is simply being able to be yourself. With a true friend, you don't have to worry about having your words misconstrued or your intentions misinterpreted. Your friend "gets" you, and understands where you are coming from.

This quote also means something else, which is that you have to be honest with your friends. That doesn't mean you are brutally honest or say things to hurt their feelings, but you do have to be that one person they know they can count on to get a straight answer.

Alexander Dumas

Alexander Dumas père (1802-1870)
Nadar/Wikimedia Commons

"Friendship consists in forgetting what one gives and remembering what one receives."

Too often, we keep a list of rights and wrongs with friends. We forget that in friendship the give and take aren't always quite so evenly drawn. One friend does a good deed for us and then we return the favor by baking something or just listening without interruption. How can you possibly determine what's even when you're keeping a list?

The better way to do it is how Dumas says here. Forget what you give and remember what you get from your friends. If you feel like you have an unbalanced friendship, address it. But also, don't go into​ a friendship with an attitude that you need to be paid back for every effort you make to be a good friend.