Talk to me about friendship
January 20, 2010 9:20 AM   Subscribe

Looking for your favourite stories, poems, or quotes about friendship.

I’m putting together a scrapbook for one of my oldest and best girlfriends (see previous question for some background). I need some things to include in the scrapbook in addition to photos and mementos. In the answers to the previous question I got some great general ideas, but now I need help finding specific written pieces.

I like, for example, the tone and message in “Phenomenal Woman” by Maya Angelou. But it doesn’t quite fit because while I want to celebrate the fact that we’re both “phenomenal women” (yay!), it’s more a poem about confidence and independence than it is about friendship. Can you help me find something in the same vein, but more tailored to friendship? Nothing too flowery, but heartfelt and sincere is good. Quotes are plentiful (though still welcome), but I’m having a particularly hard time finding short stories, anecdotes, or poems that would apply.

We're both female in our mid-thirties, and have been friends for 30 years. Thanks!
posted by yawper to Writing & Language (18 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Damon and Pythias.
posted by jingzuo at 9:25 AM on January 20, 2010

The classical Chinese story of Yu Boya and Zhong Ziqi has become quite literally a by-word for friendship - 知音.
posted by Abiezer at 9:32 AM on January 20, 2010

Friends are the family we choose.
posted by applemeat at 9:45 AM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

Friends are those rare people who ask how we are and then wait to hear the answer.
Ed Cunningham
posted by davcoo at 9:46 AM on January 20, 2010

The Thousandth Man, by Rudyard Kipling. It's short: eight verses, 232 words, and it builds to this:

Nine hundred and ninety-nine can't bide
The shame or mocking or laughter,
But the Thousandth Man will stand by your side
To the gallows-foot -- and after!
posted by Irontom at 9:47 AM on January 20, 2010

Whoops, should have read the [More Inside] before jumping to post my favorite poem. It may be a bit too grim for your purposes.
posted by Irontom at 9:58 AM on January 20, 2010

Mark Twain : Friends are God's appology for family
posted by Redhush at 10:58 AM on January 20, 2010

Had a poster from the drugstore for several years that said: "A friend is someone who knows all about you but still loves you."
posted by Melismata at 11:09 AM on January 20, 2010

You've got a friend
posted by genesta at 12:02 PM on January 20, 2010

On feminism and female friendship
posted by dizziest at 12:03 PM on January 20, 2010

Bridge over troubled water

I'm not too sure how well song lyrics work for your purpose, but the sentiments feel right
posted by genesta at 12:06 PM on January 20, 2010

I have no idea who wrote this poem initially, but this is one of my favorites and I shared it with my best friend. The last three stanzas I rewrote/reworded in order for it to be mutual.

Let Me Lean on You

Keep your eyes upon me,
Keep me in your sight.
Help me down the crooked road,
Lead me to the light.

The road I'm on is dark,
I'm not sure I know the way;
Yet, with you right beside me,
I'm certain I won't stay.

Protect me from the world,
I know we'll make it through.
Give me all the strenth I need-
Let me lean on you.

I'll keep my eyes upon you,
I keep you in my sight.
I'll help you down the crooked road,
Lead you to the light.

The road your on may be dark,
I'm not sure you know the way;
Yet, with me right beside you,
I'm certain you won't stay.

I'll protect you from the world,
I know we'll make it through.
I give me all the strenth you'll need-
I'll be there for you.
posted by SoulOnIce at 12:08 PM on January 20, 2010

I've always liked this one, which makes me think of faraway old friends.

Here at the frontier, there are falling leaves.
Although my neighbors are all barbarians,
And you, you are a thousand miles away,
There are always two cups on my table.

I guess it's been mentioned here before.
posted by dywypi at 12:35 PM on January 20, 2010 [3 favorites]

The song Friendship by Cole Porter.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 1:35 PM on January 20, 2010

Anything by Khalil Gibran
posted by jock@law at 1:38 PM on January 20, 2010

What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies. - Aristotle

The most I can do for my friend is simply to be his friend. I have no wealth to bestow on him. If he knows that I am happy in loving him, he will want no other reward. Is not friendship divine in this? - Henry David Thoreau
posted by smoke at 2:18 PM on January 20, 2010

I saw in Louisiana a Live-Oak Growing - Walt Whitman -

I SAW in Louisiana a live-oak growing,
All alone stood it, and the moss hung down from the
Without any companion it grew there, uttering joyous
leaves of dark green,
And its look, rude, unbending, lusty, made me think
of myself;
But I wonder'd how it could utter joyous leaves,
standing alone there, without its friend, its
lover near—for I knew I could not;
And I broke off a twig with a certain number of
leaves upon it, and twined around it a little
And brought it away—and I have placed it in sight in
my room;
It is not needed to remind me as of my own dear
(For I believe lately I think of little else than of
Yet it remains to me a curious token—it makes me
think of manly love;
—For all that, and though the live-oak glistens there
in Louisiana, solitary, in a wide flat space,
Uttering joyous leaves all its life, without a friend, a
lover, near,
I know very well I could not.
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:40 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

posted by jasondigitized at 6:27 AM on January 21, 2010

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