What are we all but lonely individuals constantly marching alongside each other, close enough to see our faces, but still too far or scarce to actually interact? That is, until somewhere in the tumult of people we find some other weirdo, somebody who is the same kind of weird as we are. Special in its own way, very different from us in other aspects, but an exact copy of us in others. We call these people friends in order to distinguish them from acquaintances, or familiar faces of other sort. Time isn't applied to these relationships; years can go by without talking or seeing each other and then, when reunions come, if feels like not a day has gone by since the last time we gave each other crap about something.
From a very young age we are taught the importance of establishing bonds with those around us, how imperative it is for us to learn to be polite. New friends come in almost every stage of life, from kindergarten up until you get a job and even after that. It is not rare for this word, friend, to be thrown around in an almost fanatical manner; we mechanically behave in a friendly, open manner following the protocols we were taught to follow as little kids in order to appear like a nice individual in the eyes of the rest.
The problem lies in becoming used to feeling accepted and being praised for any given reason. Because, for some, falling short of that is the equivalent of falling from the edge of the world, terrifying only if you are scared of what's really out there, scared of the consequences; like the aches caused by mockery coming from those exterior voices, shame from regrets of doing something embarrassing. Eventually, we end up believing that someone else's opinion defines us, and hence the origin of these two-faced, fake, egomaniac individuals. People so focused on keeping their own image that they will resort to any weapon they can possibly use in order to maintain the status they've earned among their peers. Like real vampires, they suck the energy from those that are "different," those that represent a threat to the status quo they foolishly believe rules over everything. People who are friends with everyone that has something to offer will turn their backs on you as soon as something shinier shows up in the proximity.
I believe in the importance of the meaning of words, and the word friend has a special place in my mind. I have very few but very real ones. Even though I'm still too young, naive and inexperienced to come up with "rules" for life, I believe that the beauty of it lies in the quality of our experiences and who was by our side during them.