There are definitely different calibre of friends in your world. Some are acquaintences, some are social friends, and then there are your "real" friends—these are the people you call up at 1:00 am and yell at while eating your Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. The reasons aren't important, but the fact that repeated phone calls to voice mail eventually get picked up means true friendship. Here are the differences in levels of friends:
Acquaintence: This is the lowest rung on the friendship ladder. Now before anyone goes getting all angry with me or anyone else, let's make one thing clear. This is a step up from stranger. Stranger is a just some person. Stranger is just a guy on the street, some lady who just passes by in a car, a deranged gunman you see on news, etc. Those are just people. An acquaintence is technically within the "friend" circle, albeit skimming dangerously close to the edge at times. An acquaintence might be someone who you might work with, or maybe you met them literally once at a house party for thirty seconds. You kind of remember them—hey, doesn't that lady over at the Starbucks in the mall kind of look like Wonder Woman at last year's halloween party? I'm convinced that if you put elf ears on the tall guy in the bookstore, he would look just like Richard from last year's Christmas social.
Facebook Friend: Some people think of being a Facebook friend as an insult, but I personally like it. I don't want to do any more work than necessary in my life. Thanks, Facebook, for telling me it is so-and-so's birthday! Now I look like a hero even though I literally just read email. I truly do care about you, but I am still going to sit on my couch in my underwear and watch football while I do it. (My laptop covers my shame so it is not dirty. Plus it's warm.)
Couples Friend: Now things start getting tricky. You are friends with one of them, but they had a nerve to go out on a date and find someone that they want to see naked? So now everything is a double-date. Again, this can be fine—it is one more person to chime in during visits, giving me valuable time to watch football (albeit with my pants on—we have company over dammit).
True Friend: This is the big one. There are no excuses with these people. You don't need to lie and make stuff up. This is the level of friend where you can tell the person "I don't want to see you."
Now you may wonder, why on earth would you NOT want to see a real friend? The answer is usually that we are hungover, sick, tired, sick and tired, sick and hungover, and "not in the mood to put clothes on". These are all valid reasons.
If you want to know if they are "real" friends, tell the person that you simply don't feel up to seeing them and see what they do.
We had this happen recently—a good friend of mine wound up drinking alcohol during Christmas holidays! Well I never! We had plans to see him during the break, but he called our house and simply announced "I'm too hungover. I feel like garbage." Wow. I have to say, I was elated. He felt like garbage! Not from cancelling our plans, but rather because we was peeing 90 proof inbetween naps.
This, to me, is the height of friendship—you don't need to "make up excuses" when you don't want to get together with someone. With real friends there are no lies, no shame, and no desire to hang out with me. And I am MORE than OK with it. See you next time we both have enough energy to put pants on.