Kevin Kelly tries to get to the bottom of one of the things I don’t like about Facebook: it’s too hard to distinguish among types of friends. So he provides his own taxonomy:
- Friend — Most of the people that Facebook calls “friends” I call Acquaintances.
- Actual Friend — Someone whom I’ve had a meal with, or has visited my home.
- Real Friend — Someone who would drive me to the airport at 6 am.
- True Friend — Someone who would get me out of jail.
I get where he’s going with this, but it’s still unsatisfying because I’m sure there are plenty of people willing to drive Kevin to the airport at 6am (in order to sell him stuff) or get him out of jail (in order to hang out with Kevin Kelly).
Okay, that last one is due partly to his star status (he’s famous as one of the originals at Wired Magazine). But even if he weren’t famous, it would apply to such non-friends as a guy would like to kill you.
I’m not sure there is a good way to categorize friendships other than pure manual inspection. In fact, part of the idea of friendship is that the strength of your bonds are constantly changing.