How to Be a Friend - Deepstash
How to Be a Friend

Iosif 's Key Ideas from How to Be a Friend
by Marcus Tullius Cicero

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18 ideas


18.3K reads



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1. There are different kinds of friendships

Cicero acknowledges that there are many good people we come in contact with in our lives we call our friends , be they business associates, neighbours, or any matter of  acquaintances. But he makes a key distinction between these common and quite useful friendships and those rare friends we bind ourselves to on a much deeper level. 

These special friendships are necessarily rare, because they require so much time and investment in ourselves. But these are the friends that deeply change our lives, just as we change theirs.


1.74K reads

2. Only good people can be friends

People of poor moral character can have friends, but they can be only friends of utility for the simple reason that real friendship requires trust, wisdom, and basic goodness. 

Tyrants and scoundrels can use each other, just as they can use good people, but ba people can never find real friendship in life.


1.71K reads

3. We should choose our friends with care

We have to be deliberate about forming our friendships if for no other reason than that they can be very messy and painful to end if we found out the friends was not the person we thought.

We should take our time, move slowly, and discover what lies deep in a person's heart before we make the investment of self that true friendship requires.


1.32K reads

4. Friends make you a better person

No one can thrive in isolation. Left on our own, we will stagnate and become unable to see ourselves as we are. A true friend will challenge you to become better because  he/she appreciates the potential inside you.


1.28K reads

5. Make new friends, but keep the old

No one is sweeter friend than someone who has been with you from the beginning. But don't limit yourself to the companions of youth, whose friendship may have been based on interests you no longer share. Always be open to new friendships, including those with younger people. Both you and they will be the richer for it.


1.16K reads

6. Friends are honest with each other

Friends will always tell you what you need to hear, not what you want them to say. There are plenty of people in the world who will flatter you for their own purposes, but only a real friend-or an enemy- will risk your anger by telling the truth. And being a good person yourself, you should listen to your friends and welcome what they have to say.


996 reads

7. The reward of friendship is friendship in itself

Cicero acknowledges that there are practical advantages to friendship- advice, companionship, support in difficult times-but at its heart true friendship is not a business relationship. It doesn't seek repayment, and it doesn't keep score.


1.04K reads

8. A friend never asks another friend to do something wrong

A friend will risk much fo another, but not honor. If a friend asks you to lie, cheat, or do something shameful, consider carefully if that person is who you really thought he was. Since friendship is based on goodness, it cannot exist when evil is expected of it.


911 reads

9. Friendships can change over time

Friendships from youth will not be the same in old age-nor should they be. Life changes all of us with time, but the core values and qualities that drew us to friends in years past can survive the test of time. And like fine wine, the best of friendships will improve with age.


818 reads

10. Without friends, life is not with living

Or as Cicero says: "Suppose a god carried you far away to a place where  you were granted an abundance of every material good nature could wish for, but denied the possibility of ever seeing a human being. Wouldn't you have to be as hard as iron to endure that sort of life? Wouldn't you, utterly alone, lose every capacity for joy and pleasure?"


772 reads


No man should neglect his duties because of personal inconvenience, only acceptable if your illness prevents you


942 reads


Without virtue friendship cannot exist


744 reads

Indulgence, Flattery and Truth

"Indulgence get us friends, but truth gets us hatred" Truth can indeed be troublesome if it brings about hatred, which is poison to friendship; but much worse is the kind of indulgence and aquiescence that allows a friend to rush headlong into destructive behaviour.

However, the worst sin of all is to spun the truth and allow flattery to drive you to ruin.


731 reads

Flattery, a handmaid vice

We should keep flattery, that handmaid of vice, at distance.

Flattery is unworthy not only of a friend, but any free person, living with a friend shouldn’t be like living with a tyrant.


742 reads

Kill your ego

When you receive an advise, the only thing you should be bothered is by what you’ve done wrong and not by the fact that you’re being criticised.


805 reads

Kindness and Patience

Offer your corrections with kindness, not harshly, and take them patiently, not with reluctance.


811 reads

Meaning of Love

To love means that you care for another without putting your needs or advantages first.


845 reads

Endure Pain

We should be able to endure any pain that is brief, no matter how terrible. And friendship, aside from virtue, is the greatest thing we can find in life.


898 reads



These ideas are important because it teaches you how to become a better friend, a better sibling etc. It makes you a better version of yourself.

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