Chapter 2: I get by with a little help from my friends!

As preparation for this book, over the last 50 years, I have been collecting and collating over 100 sayings/quotations/comments about what “friendship” means to different people.  Some famous, some not so famous.  Some favourites, some not. Many will make you smile, some will make you cry. Here they are “in no particular order” (as Phillip Schofield would say).

Which ones are your favourites?  Which ones are in your top 10? Send me an email and let me know.

Do you have any sayings to add to the list? – please add them as Comments at the bottom of the page.

1. “True friendship is like sound health; the value of it is seldom known until it be lost.”
- Charles Caleb Colton -

2. “Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”
- Anais Nin -

3. “My friends are my legacy.”
- Emily Dickinson -

4. “A friend is one who walks in when others walk out”
-Walter Winchell -

5. “A friend is someone who is there for you when he’d rather be anywhere else.”
- Len Wein -

6. “A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart, and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.”

7. “A friend is one who believes in you when you have ceased to believe in yourself.”

8. “Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow.
Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead.
Walk beside me and be my friend.”
- Albert Camus (also attributed to Maimonidies). -

9. “A hug is worth a thousand words. A friend is worth more.”

10. “I get by with a little help from my friends.”
- (my personal favourite) John Lennon and the Beatles, sung by Ringo Starr -

11. “Two may talk together under the same roof for many years, yet never really meet; and two others at first speech are old friends.”
- Mary Catherwood -

12. “Friends are the most important ingredient in the recipe for life.”

13. “The better part of a man’s life consists of his friendships.”
- Abraham Lincoln -

14. “The love of my life is the love between friends.”

15. “A Friend is someone who knows all about you and loves you anyway!!!”

16. “To be depressed is to be lonely; to have a friend is to be happy…”
- Guido -

17. “Strangers are just friends waiting to happen.”

18. “Sometimes you pick your friends, sometimes they pick you.”

19. “I can trust my friends. These people force me to examine, encourage me to grow.”
-Cher (was married to Sonny Bono- I got you, babe!) -

20. “Friendship is a pretty full-time occupation if you are really friendly with somebody. You can’t have too many friends because then you’re just not really friends.”

21. “Friends are the Bacon Bits in the Salad Bowl of Life.”
- Pizza Place Sign -

22. “Truth and tears clear the way to a deep and lasting friendship.”

23. “True friendship is never serene.”
- Mariede Svign -

24. “Friendship: a binding contract you sign with laughter and break with tears.”

25. “It’s the friends you can call up at 4 in the morning that matter.”
- Marlene Dietrich -

26. “A friend is a gift you give yourself.”
- Robert Louis Stevenson ( he died too young!) -

27. “Friend – a person known well to another and regarded with liking, affection and loyalty.”
- Collins English Dictionary -

28. “Anybody can sympathise with the sufferings of a friend, but it requires a very fine nature to sympathise with a friend’s success.”
- Oscar Wilde -

29. “Friendship with oneself is all-important because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.”
- Eleanor Roosevelt -

30. “Nature has no love for solitude, and always leans, as it were, on some support; and the sweetest support is found in the most intimate friendship.”
- Cicero -

31. “The best mirror is an old friend.”
- George Herbert -

32. “The friendship that can cease has never been real.”
- Saint Jerome -

33. “I count myself in nothing else so happy
As in a soul rememb’ring my good friends.”
- William Shakespeare, King Richard II -

34. “I find friendship to be like wine, raw when new, ripened with age, the true old man’s milk and restorative cordial.”
- Thomas Jefferson -

35. “Too late we learn, a man must hold his friend
unjudged, accepted, trusted to the end.”
- John Boyle O’Reilly -

36. “Friends have all things in common.”
- Plato -

37. “Without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods.”
- Aristotle -

38. “My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me.”
- Henry Ford -

39. “The best way to keep your friends is not to give them away.”
- Wilson Mizner -

40. “Friendship is always a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity.”
- Kahil Gibran -

41. “There is magic in the memory of schoolboy/schoolgirl friendships; it softens the heart, and even affects the nervous system of those who have no heart.”
- Benjamin Disraeli -

42. “I no doubt deserved my enemies, but I don’t believe I deserved my friends.”
- Walt Whitman -

43. “When friends stop being frank and useful to each other, the whole world loses some of its radiance.”
- Anatole Broyard -

44. “Friends are born, not made.”
- Henry Adams -

45. “Life is partly what we make it, and partly what is made by the friends whom we choose.”
- Tehyi Hsieh -

46. “The making of friends, who are real friends, is the best token we have of a man’s success in life.”
- Edward Everett Hale -

47. “Except in cases of necessity, which are rare, leave your friend to learn unpleasant things from his enemies; they are ready enough to tell them.”
- Oliver Wendell Holmes -

48. “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 Thoreau -

49. “Friendship that flows from the heart cannot be frozen by adversity, as the water that flows from the spring cannot congeal in winter.”
- James Fenimore Cooper -

50. “Friendship without self interest is one of the rare and beautiful things in life.”
- James Francis Byrnes -

51. “Never kiss a friend. If you have deeper feelings, never reveal them. You will lose that friend forever…”

52. “Do not save your loving speeches
For your friends till they are dead;
Do not write them on their tombstones,
Speak them rather now instead.”
- Anna Cummins -

53. “True friendship’s laws are by this rule express’d,
Welcome the coming, speed the parting guest.”
- Alexander Pope -

54. “Best friends are like diamonds, precious and rare
False friends are like leaves, found everywhere.”

55. “If all my friends were to jump off a bridge, I wouldn’t jump with them, I’d be at the bottom to catch them”

56. “A good friend is hard to find, hard to lose, and impossible to forget…”

57. “Time isn’t what makes a friendship last…It’s love and devotion that keeps the tie between souls.”

58. “The best antiques are old friends.”

59. “When the silences are no longer awkward, you know you are around friends.”

60. “Friendship is a very special kind of love.”

61. “The secret to friendship is being a good listener.”

62. “A true friend is someone you can trust with all your secrets.”

63. “Gems may be precious, but friends are priceless.”

64. “You my friend, I will defend. And if we change, we’ll love you anyway.”

65. “If you have more than one friend, you have more than your share!”

66. “Everyone hears what you say. Friends listen to what you say. Best friends listen to what you don’t say.”

67. “A person is only complete when she has a true friend to understand her, to share all her passions and sorrows with, and to stand by her throughout her life.” (applies to men too!)

68. “Material things can’t make the soul whole. Only the love, trust, and loyalty of friends can do that.”

69. “Friendship is not friendship without trust, without it I walk alone.”
- James P. Michels Jr. -

70. “Friendship is the golden ribbon that ties the world together.”

71. “Friendship is talking to your best friend without words.”

72. “Money might make you wealthy, but friends make you rich.”

73. “You don’t make friends, you earn them.”

74. “When you’re looking for a friend don’t look for perfection, just look for friendship.”

75. “How do you know you’ve found your best friend? When you are ready to talk to them about anything, even though they know everything about you already.”

76. “A friend will break your heart, a friend will mend it, a friend will provide you with every feeling in the world, good and bad. A friend is emotion incarnate.”

77. “Yesterday brought the beginning, tomorrow brings the end, but somewhere in the middle we’ve become best of friends.”

78. “A faithful friend is a strong defence and he that has found one has found a treasure”

79. “I’d like to be the sort of friend that you have been to me. I’d like to be the help that you’ve been always glad to be; I’d like to mean as much to you each minute of the day, as you have meant, old friend of mine, to me along the way.”
- Edgar A. Guest -

78. “A friend loves you, makes you feel alright, troubles are not troubles when you talk, listen and accept you as you are, because you will feel the same and love the same…….”

79.  “No lapse of time or distance of place can lessen the friendship of those who are truly persuaded of each other’s worth.”

80. “Friendship is what gets you through the bad times and helps you enjoy the good times”

81. “Friends are like pillars on your porch. Sometimes they hold you up and sometimes they lean on you.”

82. “You cannot say you’ve lost a friend. If a friendship is capable of ending, it is because it never existed.”

83. “A world without a friend, what would it be? It would be like a world without water, something you need. Friends are like glass, once broken, they are hard to fix. Keep your friends, as you would keep your water.”

84. “Silences make the real conversations between friends. Not the saying but the never needing to say is what counts.”
- Margaret Lee Runbeck -

85. “The better you know someone, the less there is to say. Or maybe, there’s less that needs to be said.”

86. “Every gift from a friend is a wish for your happiness…”
- Richard Bach -

87. “The most beautiful discovery that true friends can make is that they can grow separately without growing apart.”
- Elizabeth Foley -

88. “You only meet your once in a lifetime friend… once in a lifetime.”
- Little Rascals -

89. “A circle is round it has no end, that’s how long I want to be your friend!”

90. “One loyal friend is better than ten thousand family members.”

91.  “You just remind me of what’s really important in life, friends, best friends.”

92. “A friend is someone who reaches for your hand, but touches your heart.”
- Kathleen Grove -

93. “True friendship – unlike love – always lasts forever.”

94. “To the world you are someone, but to someone you are the world.”

95. “A friend will be there for you when things are good…but a true friend will be there for you when things are good and also when things are  bad…and just when it feels like you will never smile again…he/she can put a smile on your face with just with a hug!”

96. “A real friend is not one who only entertain you, but one who cares about you, one who will be there when you cry”

97. “As I reach a time of complete uncertainty, friends are my most precious asset.”

98. “There is no distance too great between friends, for love gives wings to the heart.”

99. ” I’d like to be the sort of friend that you have been to me. . . I’d like to be the help you’ve always been glad to be; I’d like to mean as much to you each minute of the day, as you have meant, old friend of mine, to me along the  way.”

100. “A friend is like a rainbow. They brighten your life when you’ve been through a storm.”

101. “A friend in kindergarten is the one who sat next to you and let you have the pretty red crayon, when only the ugly black one was left.”

102. “True friendship is one that lasts even though one friend’s soul has left this earth”

103. “A reassuring presence, a light when times are dark, a hand reaching out, is what friendship is about.”

104. “We always thought we’d look back on our tears and laugh, but we never thought we’d look back on our laughter and cry.”

105. “Love is blind, but friendship closes its eyes.”

106. “Love doesn’t make the world go round, it makes the ride worthwhile.”
- F.P. Jones -

107. “A friend you have to buy, won’t be worth what you pay for him/her.”

108. “I can doubt my friends, but I can believe in our friendship.”

109. “If you treat your friend as they should be treated, they will become one of the crowd. If you treat your friend as they ought to be treated, they will become an individual”

110. “True friends, like ivy and the wall stand together and both together fall.”

111. “Friendships are fragile things, and require as much handling as any other fragile and precious things.”
Randolph S. Bourne -

112. “With clothes the new are the best, with friends the old are the best.”

113. “If you are going to gain anything in life, gain a friend, they will always be there, and that makes all the difference in the world.”

114. “True friends are never apart, maybe in distance, but not in heart”

115. “A real friend will tell you when you have spinach stuck in your teeth.”

116. “Shared sorrow is a sorrow halved, shared joy is joy doubled.”

117. “Most people come into our lives and quickly leave. It is the special few that come in and leave a footprint in our hearts, and we are changed forever.”

118. “There is an exquisite melody in every heart. If we listen closely, we can hear each other’s song. A friend knows the song in your heart and responds with beautiful harmony.”

119. “Friends are like flowers, beautiful flowers; friends are like flowers in the garden of life.”

120. “True friendship is sitting together in silence and feeling like it was the best conversation you’ve ever had.”

121. “Choose your friends carefully you never know who is on your side, and remember the truth shall prevail. “

122. “Remember that every good friend was once a stranger

123. “You can’t be everybody’s friend”
- Jeff Edis and John Ardern -


So, which ones are your favourites? Which are in the “Top Ten”?  Email me and let me know. Do you have any sayings to add to the list? – please add them as Comments to share with others.


Chapter1: Let’s be honest, coming second is called losing

Winner's Podium

Coming second is called losing!

We make no apologies for adapting this line both from Leeds United’s Billy Bremner’s footballing autobiography, “You get nowt for being second”, and from David Keane’s excellent book, “How not to come second”, on the do’s and don’ts of pitching for new business. It’s a wake up call for us all and a reality check for those who indulge in the seven deadly sins (for sins read excuses) on being told they haven’t got the business:

  1. The client wasn’t ready for our solution
  2. They bought a particular individual at our competitor
  3. We are too big for them
  4. We are too small for them
  5. It was a fix – we didn’t have a chance
  6. They think we are too expensive
  7. The client is an idiot.

Although we haven’t come across a more helpful book on the business of successful pitching, we believe that even the best advice can lead to the worst possible outcome. No matter how thorough your preparation, how brilliant your strategy, how compelling its expression, how insightful your research, how competitive your pricing, it can all come to nought.  Which isn’t just a big disappointment to you and your team: it saps morale, undermines confidence and costs your company plenty in terms of time and money. But perhaps worst of all it leaves that question hanging in the air – “if we thought we had got it so right, how come we came second – again?”.

The awful truth is that until you answer that question, no matter how good you are, you are going to lose a lot more business pitches than you win.  Having experienced both the agonies and the ecstasies of competitive pitching in our own business careers, without truly understanding why we won when we won or lost when we lost, we decided to dedicate ourselves to unearthing the dark secret.  Why are some companies almost unstoppable on business pitches whilst others are destined to be always the bridesmaid and never the bride?

We decided that the best way to start our search for this holiest of holy grails was to set up a research study to identify the triggers that influence companies in their choice of creative and marketing agencies. Although this research was about the choice of creative and marketing services suppliers, we believe it holds good for the majority of manufacturing and service sectors and busineses. As with much research, the findings confirmed a lot of what we already knew. But as we sifted through the respondents’ comments we unearthed a rare gem – “cultural fit” – that provided the insight and the confidence to set up that most challenging of ventures: a business development consultancy.

Seven years on, having proved the theory in practice, we have been sufficiently encouraged to publish this book (which we will produce as a series of on-line chapters, complete with updates and comments as we go along), so that we can share some of what we’ve learnt and provoke further thought and study on the subject.

So what was this remarkable revelation that set us off on our new business venture all about? When probed as to what ultimately made the difference, assuming that all of the competing agencies ticked all the boxes in terms of professional competence and expertise, one of the respondents answered  “I ask myself the question: ‘can I sit in a room with these people?’ “.

Why is it that great truths always seem so obvious once they have been unearthed? There you were worrying about the brilliance of your strategy and about putting on a presentation that would put a Las Vegas spectacular to shame, when the most important factor is quite simply whether your collective face fits – or, as we have come to call it, whether there is a “cultural fit”. It’s something we’ve known from childhood – you either got picked for the team in the playground, or you didn’t.  And sure it had something to do with whether you were any good or not, but it had more to do with whether you fit in or not.  We also find this concept in one of those old fashioned homilies that more often than not prove to be unerringly true: “Birds of a feather flock together”. So however much you would like to be friends with everybody, in business as in life, “you can’t be everybody’s friend”.

So rather than chasing business where there is little or no common ground, you can significantly improve your strike rate where there is a “cultural fit”. Sounds great but how exactly do you go about identifying these “birds of a feather”? The answer is that you can’t, well not until you’ve discovered your own company’s culture first.

And how you may ask do you do that?  If at this point you are tempted to refer to the academic textbooks on the subject, your interest in pinpointing what makes your company tick could be decidedly short lived.  The names of the theorists on company culture are enough to stop your new found interest in “cultural fit” in its tracks. There’s Trompenaar, Rorbaugh, Kluckholn, Strodtbeck and a host of others whose theories are as difficult to comprehend as their names are to pronounce. But before you decide to get your daily dose of YouTube, rather than try and understand the arcane theories of organisational culture, let’s take refuge in a more common sense description of company culture – which is “the way we do things round here”.

Every company has its own particular way of “doing things”.  It probably wasn’t created consciously, no one wrote it down on day one.  It just sort of happened. If you dig a little deeper, you’ll find that a company’s culture is often in fact an expression of the founder’s values.  A company’s culture is the heart and soul of the place and determines how a group of people behave.  If you want an example let’s take Walt Disney: that organisation’s culture of “imagination and wholesomeness” didn’t come from any market analysis or requirement, but from the founder’s belief that imagination and wholesomeness should be nurtured for their own sake. And the rest as they say is history.

Do you agree? Do you disagree with what we’ve unearthed? What have YOUR experiences been? Give us your comments below – but first you’ll need to go to the lefthand side column,  subscribe FOR FREE by email by adding your own email address and clicking “subscribe” –  or email them to – and we’ll publish them alongside ours. Let’s get the debate and discussion going!

Wooden Spoon

Also, if you would like to find out more about how to identify your own company’s culture and how to use this knowledge in building your own business, you can contact us directly. Look under “About this book” (at the very top of the screen) for our contact details.


About this book

I have added content to the “About this book” section, which appears above the heading.

You can’t be everybody’s friend™

How to build a better business/better relationships/a better team by understanding your culture/cultural fit

Researched and compiled by John Ardern

It’s said that “everyone has a book inside them”. This is mine! The idea behind this book was sparked by the work that my dear friend Jeff Edis & myself were doing as “The Consult Group”, a new business development consultancy, working with a wide range of different creative and marketing services agencies – of many different types, sizes and more importantly cultures.

What is culture? Simply put “the way we do things around here”.

There are so many different “ways to do things around here” – and we found that there was no right or no wrong way, just different ways, different cultures. This affected not only which ones we as The Consult Group decided to work with but also which clients/prospects our agencies’ clients were working best with, both currently and in the future – and those they weren’t.

Here’s the story…

Thank yous

  1. Anjlee Bhatt is my editor. She’s good!
  2. Chris Lloyd is providing art-direction and music! He’s good too!
  3. Ed Baldry has helped us set up the site. He’s always been double-good!
  4. Chris Braithwaite will be helping with his positive psychology
  5. etc

Can’t wait to get going!



Well we’re up and running!

At last, this WordPress site is up-and-and running!

Those of you who read this, please reply so that we can check if it’s working.

Does it have spell check?

Uncle John