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Chinese Symbols for Friendship

Chinese Characters for Friendship:

  • Friend: 友

  • Friendship: 友情

  • Friendly: 友好

Chinese Phrases about Friendship:

  • 情同手足: Close as brothers.

  • 心心相印: Mutual affinity and understanding.

  • 肝胆相照: Be sincere, honest, and sympathetic to each other.

  • 八拜之交: A close relationship like siblings. 

  • 亲密无间: Intimate relationship without estrangement.

  • 推心置腹: Give out one's heart, meaning absolute trust and sincerity to another.

  • 莫逆之交: Close and sincere friends without any disagreements.

  • 志同道合: Friends with the same interests, ambitions, and goals. 

Part of Painting (Wen Hui Tu) by Emperor Zhao Ji (1082 — 1135) of the Song Dynasty, Presenting the Feast of Intelligent Scholars

Part of Painting (Wen Hui Tu) by Emperor Zhao Ji (1082 — 1135) of the Song Dynasty, Presenting the Feast of Intelligent Scholars — Taipei Palace Museum

  • 相见恨晚: Regretful for meeting too late in each other's lives. 

  • 良师益友: Benign mentor and helpful friend.

  • 一见如故: Feel like dear old friends in the first meeting.

  • 万古长青: Eternal evergreen, meaning everlasting friendship or virtue.

  • 患难与共: Stick together and undertake all challenges and difficulties.

  • 风雨同舟: Fight fierce rainstorms in the same boat, representing standing together to fight all hardships.

  • 意气相投: People share similar interests, personalities, and ideals.

Tang Yin's Painting "Shi Ming Tu" that Describes Scholars Tasting Tea

Painting "Shi Ming Tu" that Describes Scholars Tasting Tea by Tang Yin (1470 — 1524) — Palace Museum

Chinese Poems about Friendship:



  • 莫愁前路无知己,天下谁人不识君。Gao Shi (704 — 765)


Worry not in the journey about lacking confidant; no one would not appreciate your talent.  


  • 岂曰无衣?与子同袍。The Classic of Poetry, or The Book of Songs, or Shijing, compiled by Confucius (551 BC  — 479 BC).


No clothes for battle? I shall share my armors with you.

It is from a folk song of the Qin State during the Spring and Autumn (770 BC — 403 BC) and Warring States (403 BC — 221 BC) periods, which later defeated other kingdoms and established the Qin Dynasty (221 BC — 207 BC).

It represents the spirit of unity, dedication, and close friendship with the same goals. 

Terracotta Warriors and Horses of the Mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang

Terracotta Warriors and Horses of the Qin Dynasty, Unearthed from the Mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang. (Photo by Zhao Zhen)

  • 结交在相知,骨肉何必亲。A folk song "Konghouyao" of the Han Dynasty (202 BC — 220 AD).

True friends come from mutual understanding and  sincere hearts, not only kinship can provide closeness. 


  • 更待菊黄家酿熟,共君一醉一陶然。Bai Juyi (772 — 846)


When chrysanthemums turn yellow and wine is brewed, we shall get drunk and catch the fun mood. 


  • 海内存知己,天涯若比邻。Wang Bo (about 650 — 676)

Wherever in the world, with bosom friendship in the heart; we'll be as close as neighbors even when apart.

  • 江南无所有,聊赠一枝春。Lu Kai (? — 504)


There's nothing good enough to express my feelings, hence send you the spring through this plum branch.  

plum blossom
  • 我寄愁心与明月,随风直到夜郎西。Li Bai (701 — 762)

My concerns have been sent to the moon, which will accompany you wherever you go.

  • 浮云游子意,落日故人情。Li Bai (701 — 762)

Travel far away like floating clouds; feel of parting like lingering sunset.


  • 孤帆远影碧空尽,唯见长江天际流。Li Bai (701 — 762)


The shadow of your sail vanished in the blue sky, only the river flowing toward the horizon of heaven.

boat and river
  • 故人入我梦,明我长相忆。Du Fu (712 — 770)


An old friend came into my dream, like knowing my longing for him.  

This poem was written to show the author's care for Li Bai, who got banished far away for political conflicts.


  • 花径不曾缘客扫,蓬门今始为君开。Du Fu (712 — 770)

I Have never cleaned the path, nor opened the gate, for any guests but you. 


  • 正是江南好风景,落花时节又逢君。Du Fu (712 — 770)


Beautiful views in a fascinating place; I met a dear old friend in this season of fallen petals. 

Lotus and Ancient Pavilion, Photo from Official Site of West Lake Scenic Area.

Lotus and Pavilion of West Lake, Photo from Official Site of Xihu Scenic Area.

  • 惜君青云器,努力加餐饭。Cen Shen (about 718 — 769)


Be aware of and cherish your exceptional talent; please eat well and sleep well (to wait for a better opportunity to realize your dream).


  • 人亦有言,日月于征;安得促席,说彼平生。Tao Yuanming (about 365 — 427)


As people say, time flies like the moon and sun; I wish to sit with a dear friend, and talk about everything in life.

Tang Yin Painting "Dong Li Shang Ju Tu" that Describes Appreciating of Chrysanthemums

"Dong Li Shang Ju Tu" that Describes Appreciating of Chrysanthemums, by Tang Yin (1470 — 1524) — Shanghai Museum

  • 相见亦无事,别后常思君。Li E (1692 — 1752)


Together we have nothing special to do or talk about, yet being apart I would miss you nonstop. 


  • 劝君更尽一杯酒,西出阳关无故人。Wang Wei (701 — 761)

I invite you to drink a cup of wine again; west of the Yangguan Pass no more friends will be seen. (Translated by Xu Yuanchong)

Yangguan Pass was an important gate on Silk Road and a significant military base in history.

阳关遗址 孙志成.jpg

Remains of Yangguan Pass of Han Dynasty (202 BC — 220 AD) Along Silk Road, Photo by Sun Zhicheng.

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