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Friendship: 10 Chinese Sayings
Here's a great collection of Chinese sayings and idioms with Chinese characters, pinyin pronunciation, and English translations and explanations, to help you learn and enjoy the Chinese language, while understanding Chinese people's attitudes, life, and values more deeply.
Rare as true love is, true friendship is rarer. Chinese people have always thought very highly of friendship, so there are many old sayings about it.
1. 近水知鱼性, 近山识鸟音。 (Jìn shuǐ zhī yúxìng; jìn shān shí niǎoyīn) = To know a fish go to the water; to know a bird's song go to the mountains.
This verse from 'Expanding Virtue Literature' (增广贤文) teaches that to know someone you should go to his or her home.
2. 听君一席话,胜读十年书。 (Tīng jūn yīxíhuà, shèng dú shíniánshū) = Listening to a lord's remarks is better than reading books for ten years.
3. 凡人不可貌相, 海水不可斗量。 (Fánrén bù kě màoxiàng, hǎishuǐ bù kě dòuliàng) = Man cannot be judged by looks; seas cannot be measured by cup.
In short: "don't judge by appearances".
4. 有缘千里来相会。 (Yǒuyuán qiānlǐ lái xiānghuì) = Fate brings people together from far apart.
This proverb espouses that human relationships are decreed by fate.
5. 君子之交淡如水。 (Jūnzǐ zhī jiāo dàn rú shuǐ) — A gentleman's friendship is insipid as water.
6. 入乡随俗。 (Rù xiāng suí sú) = When entering a locality follow the local customs.
Like: "When in Rome, do as the Romans do."
7. 患难见真情。 (Huànnàn jiàn zhēnqíng) = In hardship we see true friendship.
Similar to: "A friend in need is a friend indeed."
8. 知音难觅。 (Zhīyīn nánmì) = An intimate friend is hard to find.
9. 广交友,无深交。 (Guǎng jiāoyǒu, wú shēnjiāo) = Numerous friends means no deep friendship.
Similar to: "A friend to everybody is a friend to nobody."
10. 道不同,不相为谋。 (Dào bùtóng, bù xiāng wéi móu) — Men of different principles don't work well together.
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