I always felt that the great high privilege, relief and comfort of friendship was that one had to explain nothing.
—Katherine Mansfield (1888–1923) New Zealand-born British Author
The truth that is suppressed by friends is the readiest weapon of the enemy.
—Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–94) Scottish Novelist
I can promise to be candid, though I may not be impartial.
—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) German Poet
It is the weak and confused who worship the pseudo-simplicities of brutal directness.
—Marshall Mcluhan (1911–80) Canadian Writer, Thinker, Educator
One’s friends are that part of the human race with which one can be human.
—George Santayana (1863–1952) Spanish-American Poet, Philosopher
Don’t believe your friends when they ask you to be honest with them. All they really want is to be maintained in the good opinion they have of themselves.
—Albert Camus (1913–60) Algerian-born French Philosopher, Dramatist, Essayist, Novelist, Author
If all hearts were open and all desires known—as they would be if people showed their souls—how many gapings, sighings, clenched fists, knotted brows, broad grins, and red eyes should we see in the market-place!
—Thomas Hardy (1840–1928) English Novelist, Poet
You may tell a man thou art a fiend, but not your nose wants blowing; to him alone who can bear a thing of that kind, you may tell all.
—Johann Kaspar Lavater (1741–1801) Swiss Theologian, Poet
Gracious to all, to none subservient, Without offense he spoke the word he meant.
—Thomas Bailey Aldrich (1836–1907) American Writer, Poet, Critic, Editor
It is great and manly to disdain disguise; it shows our spirit, and prove our strength.
—Edward Young (1683–1765) English Poet
Friendship will not stand the strain of very much good advice for very long.
—Robert Wilson Lynd (1879–1949) Irish Essayist, Critic
Those that lack friends to open themselves unto are cannibals of their own hearts.
—Francis Bacon (1561–1626) English Philosopher
What a wonderful thing it is to have a good friend. He identities your innermost desires, and spares you the embarrassment of disclosing them to him yourself.
—Jean de La Fontaine (1621–95) French Poet, Short Story Writer
A friend should be a master at guessing and keeping still.
—Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900) German Philosopher, Scholar, Writer
Flatterers look like friends, as wolves like dogs.
—George Chapman (c.1560–1634) English Poet, Playwright
The more we love our friends, the less we flatter them; it is by excusing nothing that pure love shows itself.
—Moliere (1622–73) French Playwright
We want all our friends to tell us our bad qualities; it is only the particular ass that does so whom we can’t tolerate.
—William James (1842–1910) American Philosopher, Psychologist, Physician
To be candid, in Middlemarch phraseology, meant, to use an early opportunity of letting your friends know that you did not take a cheerful view of their capacity, their conduct, or their position; and a robust candor never waited to be asked for its opinion.
—George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans) (1819–80) English Novelist
Let us not be ashamed to speak what we shame not to think.
—Michel de Montaigne (1533–92) French Essayist
Always be ready to speak your mind, and a base man will avoid you.
—William Blake (1757–1827) English Poet, Painter, Printmaker
A ‘No’ uttered from deepest conviction is better and greater than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or what is worse, to avoid trouble.
—Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869–1948) Indian Hindu Political leader
A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him I may think aloud. I am arrived at last in the presence of a man so real and equal, that I may drop even those undermost garments of dissimulation, courtesy, and second thought, which men never put off, and may deal with him with the simplicity and wholeness with which one chemical atom meets another.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–82) American Philosopher
It’s important to our friends to believe that we are unreservedly frank with them, and important to the friendship that we are not.
—Mignon McLaughlin (1913–83) American Journalist, Author
Some so speak in exaggerations and superlatives that we need to make a large discount from their statements before we can come at their real meaning.
—Tryon Edwards American Theologian
The diligent fostering of a candid habit of mind, even in trifles, is a matter of high moment both to character and opinions.
—John Saul Howson
‘Tis the privilege of friendship to talk nonsense, and have her nonsense respected.
—Charles Lamb (1775–1834) British Essayist, Poet
Examine what is said, not him who speaks.
Not to expose your true feelings to an adult seems to be instinctive from the age of seven or eight onwards.
—George Orwell (1903–50) English Novelist, Journalist
Keep the other person’s well-being in mind when you feel an attack of soul-purging truth coming on.
—Betty White (1922–2021) American Actress, Comedian
There is an unseemly exposure of the mind, as well as of the body.
—William Hazlitt (1778–1830) English Essayist
Only friends will tell you the truths you need to hear to make … your life bearable.
—Francine du Plessix Gray (1930–2019) French-born American Writer, Literary Critic
Friends, if we be honest with ourselves, we shall be honest with each other.
—George MacDonald (1824–1905) Scottish Novelist, Lecturer, Poet
Except in cases of necessity, which are rare, leave your friend to learn unpleasant things from his enemies; they are ready enough to tell him.
—Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809–94) American Physician, Essayist
There is no wisdom like frankness.
—Benjamin Disraeli (1804–81) British Head of State
Don’t tell your friends their social faults; they will cure the fault and never forgive you.
—Logan Pearsall Smith (1865–1946) American-British Essayist, Bibliophile
Do not remove a fly from your friend’s forehead with a hatchet.
A good friend can tell you what is the matter with you in a minute. He may not seem such a good friend after telling.
—Arthur Brisbane (1864–1936) American Newspaper Editor, Investor
Candor is a proof of both a just frame of mind, and of a good tone of breeding. It is a quality that belongs equally to the honest man and to the gentleman.
—James Fenimore Cooper (1789–1851) American Novelist
If we were all given by magic the power to read each other’s thoughts, I suppose the first effect would be to dissolve all friendships.
—Bertrand A. Russell (1872–1970) British Philosopher, Mathematician, Social Critic
I lay it down as a fact that if all men knew what others say of them, there would not be four friends in the world.
—Blaise Pascal (1623–62) French Mathematician, Physicist, Theologian
Friendship may sometimes step a few paces in advance of truth.
—Walter Savage Landor (1775–1864) English Writer, Poet
Candor is the brightest gem of criticism.
—Benjamin Franklin (1706–90) American Political Leader, Inventor, Diplomat
Frank and explicit; that is the right line to take when you wish to conceal your own mind and to confuse the minds of others.
—Benjamin Disraeli (1804–81) British Head of State
Flattery makes friends, truth enemies.
There is not so good an understanding between any two, but the exposure by the one of a serious fault in the other will produce a misunderstanding in proportion to its heinousness.
—Henry David Thoreau (1817–62) American Philosopher