Quote of the Day: True Friendship


“True friendship ought never to conceal what it thinks.” – St. Jerome

It seems there is a lot of truth to this.

I guess a true friendship would be one based on truth. The more we conceal from each other, the less truth the other person knows about us.

And besides, if we can’t trust our true friends to tell us what they really think, then who can we trust to do so?

Anyone else agree or disagree with this quote?

6 comments Add comment

Dawn December 15, 2008 at 12:28 pm

Awesome, I agree wholeheartedly!

This is very timely in my life as I have put out an invitation for a friend and I to sit down and talk openly and honestly in order to clear the air in hopes of creating a “true” friendship.

Can’t you just feel the Holy Spirit at work? I can. : )


L December 15, 2008 at 4:20 pm

Perhaps you shouldn’t conceal truth.. but “tact” is another idea all together.

Julie December 15, 2008 at 10:42 pm


I wonder about how and if this applies to male/female friendships as opposed to our same gender friendships. Surely, there are many things, which ought to be left unsaid with our opposite sex friends as a matter of prudence. Isn’t it too easy to become too close when revealing so much in these situations?

If men and women can really even be friends, and subsequently if this then even applies to those situations, may be the crux of my follow-up questions/clarification. :)

Matthew Warner December 16, 2008 at 1:44 am

You all make some good points. I agree. I think it is perhaps understood that “never concealing what one thinks” does not mean always “blurting out whatever is on ones mind.”

I think for this quote, we should probably understand “what one thinks” to be our reasonably well thought-out feelings on a matter – not necessarily whatever thoughts happen to be jumping through our brain at any particular moment. Lord knows that would probably not make us a lot of friends. Ha!

But there should certainly be prudence and ‘tact’ involved at all times – as Julie and L suggested.

And I’m not sure gender plays a roll in how we apply this principle in as much as it does in who we choose to be very close friends with.

Certainly there are certain levels of intimacy that must be protected depending on the relationship (best guy friend, best girl friend, wife, husband, etc.). And maintaining those levels would be what makes those relationships special in many ways and different from other relationships.

Perhaps that means those relationship are “truer” – I don’t know.

Good thoughts.

John December 30, 2008 at 2:10 pm

Like the best quotes of wisdom, this has quite the level of depth underlying it’s basic simplicity.

The short answer: I agree with this wholeheartedly.

The long answer: “True friendship” implies a bond of strength between two individuals that isn’t shaken by honesty or well-intentioned criticism, and rather is enriched by it. For this to work, both people need to have insight into themselves, strengths and weaknesses alike, and the ability to communicate well. “Tact” is an important part of communication, but by tact I do not mean censoring any content from a conversation – not concealing what one thinks from another – rather, I mean the choice of tone, inflection, and context. Put another way, it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it, and in a true friendship, what you say can be absolutely anything. This includes concerns for someone’s health, conduct, and relationships that, in lesser relationships, would be “nobody’s business.”

True friendships are deeply and unrestrictedly intimate, which strikes me as the heart of St. Jerome’s quote.

As a side note, the gender of both parties shouldn’t matter in a true friendship. My wife is one of my closest friends. I have a very few other wonderful people in my life that I would consider to be true friends, who are of both genders. I consider them to all have the same level of intimacy, as previously defined. That said, defining true friendship in that way implies that such relationships are few and far between.

Matthew Warner December 30, 2008 at 2:26 pm

Very well stated, John! I agree! Thanks very much for sharing your thoughts.

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