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10 Chinese Proverbs About Friendship

There is an old saying in Burma that goes: “Friendship, knowledge and food are the three most valuable things in the world.” This saying reminds us of how important friends are in life. Just as with the Burmese culture, the Chinese people also cherish friendship very much. Let’s take a look at ten Chinese proverbs that look deeply into the nature of human friendship.


1. 岁寒知松柏,患难见真情。(suìhán zhī sōngbăi, huànnàn jiàn zhēnqíng)
Only when the years grows cold do we see that the pine and cypress are the last to fade; only when we get into trouble do we know who our genuine friends are.

It means that a friend in need is a friend indeed. True friendship is not just words, but in deeds. Sometimes dilemmas can help us discover who will really stick by our side.


2. 道不同,不相为谋。(dào bù tóng, bù xiāng wéi móu.)

Men of totally different principles can never act together.


This old saying not only tells us how to choose a true friend, but also advises us to pick people we can best work and collaborate with.


3. 一个篱笆三个桩,一个好汉三个帮。(yí gè líba sān gè zhuāng, yí gè hăohàn sān gè bāng.)

Just as a fence has to be built with pegs, an able person needs the help of three others.


It means that two heads are better than one. One finger cannot lift a stone, so it’s better to have friends who can help you.


4. 千里送鹅毛,礼轻情意重。(qiānlĭ sòng émáo, lĭ qīng qíngyì zhòng.)

Travel a thousand miles to bestow a goose feather— a small gift may be a token of profound friendship.

Sometimes the gift itself may be not expensive, but it can also express great affection. It tells us that friendship cannot be measured by money or material things; instead, being sincere is the sign of true friendship.


5. 海内存知己,天涯若比邻。(hăi nèi cún zhījĭ, tiānyá ruò bĭ lín.)

A bosom friend afar brings distant lands near.


If you have a friend who lives far away but who knows your heart, distance cannot break your friendship. True friends, no matter how far they are, are able to fill your spirit.


6. 物以类聚,人以群分。(wù yĭ lèi jù, rén yĭ qún fēn.)

Birds of a feather flock together, people of a mind fall into the same group.


Certain similarities can be found between good friends. That is why they come together.


7. 观其友,知其人。(guān qí yŏu, zhī qí rén.)

You shall know a person by knowing his friends.


Just as with the previous proverb ”物以类聚,人以群分”(wù yĭ lèi jù, rén yĭ qún fēn), you will know a man by the company he keeps.


8. 朋友的眼睛是最好的镜子。(péngyou de yănjing shì zuìhăo de jìngzi.)

The best mirror is a friend’s eyes.


Friends can help us to understand ourselves better. It’s a smart choice to listen to and take your friends’ advice.


9. 陈酒味醇,老友情深。(chénjiǔ wèi chún, lăoyŏu qíng shēn.)

Old friends and old wine are best.


Everything is good when new, but not friends. Friends are like wine: the older, the better.


10. 黄金万两容易得,一个知心最难寻。(huángjīn wàn liăng róngyì dé, yí gè zhīxīn zuì nán xún.)

Gold is easy to get, a close friend is harder to find.


It’s really not easy to get a true and close friend. We should cherish those people who are close to us.


These ten Chinese proverbs about friendship show how precious friendship is, and how important it is to make friends and keep good relationships with them. We wish everyone one of life’s best gifts: true and close friendships with honest people who are close to your hearts.

If you want to learn more proverbs , you can find corresponding articles in our site.

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Spring Zhang

Spring Zhang (张云梦) earned her Master' s Degree from Beijing Language and Culture University in 2016. A 7- year studying experience majoring in Teaching Chinese as an International Language provided her with a solid and professional foundation as a Chinese teacher. During her time as a student, she also had 4-year experience teaching overseas students in universities, which makes her understand her students' difficulties better. She now lives in Singapore and she devotes herself to Chinese Language education.

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