Luckily I'm here to explain it for you. Otherwise of course, you'd be lost in a sea of superficial, disingenuous, self-medicating drinkers and floaters with ulterior motives and personality disorders. Who, I believe if you looked hard enough, make up a good chunk of your address book.
Go ahead, have a quick scroll and let me know if any less than a third fall somewhere in that category. Not only would I be surprised, but I'll even send you a religious themed postcard for being so disciplined and selective with your social circles.
The way I see it, there is only one question you need to ask yourself to determine whether someone is an actual, real friend of the highest order.
Would you get coffee with them, sober, one-on-one, during the day? It's as easy as that. Are they daytime solo coffee material? Fair warning: this deceptively simple assessment could potentially blow some gaskets in your mind machine.
Surely you have legions of friends you can call to get a beer with any night of the week. Friends that you go out with, but usually only within some type of mini-group that only gets together every so often for something involving alcohol. The casual drinking clique, often with interchangeable parts. That's the easiest. I'd hang out with an Acapulco street gang if I've had enough booze. Maybe even play Bananagrams with them.
Next in line is the nighttime drinking solo pal. A shade more invested than the group, that person just needs to be alive, reasonably interesting and capable of holding a conversation. They don't even necessarily have to be drinkers. I've cajoled plenty of teetotalling buds into watching me knock back a pitcher during a long-winded rant. I think they had a good time...I mean, I always paid for their Diet Cokes?
Another level of friend, just a bit closer to you is the day drinking or event bud. Without the cover of night, this one needs to possess a few more desirable qualifications and should perhaps have a little stamina. Usually the impetus for enlisting them is a festival, a concert or a very long day of sports, so you're going to want some good company. But again, there are a lot of distractions for you throughout the day, so the screening process is fairly minimal.
Then of course, there are the coworkers. You'll go out to lunch with these folks, even occasionally a happy hour. You'll join them for the obligatory Christmas parties and Wild Turkey shots in the janitor's closet, (that may not apply to everyone), but when all is said and done, it's just your lousy job that stitches your lives together. They're rarely seen ever again after you get fired for downloading Haitian goat porn.
But no matter how much you enjoy hanging with any of these friends, chances are very few of them would get the call if you just wanted to hang at a coffee shop on a Sunday afternoon and shoot the shit. No game on TV, no alcohol, concert, street festival, meal or movie. Just you and this friend, drinking coffee and talking with the big, bright sun shining overhead. Sure, there's probably a lot of them that you could do that with if you had to, but the real question is, how many friends in your phone right now would you actually want to do that with, without it being even slightly awkward, uncomfortable, or occasionally strained for conversation?
So now go through that list again, and ask yourself, how many true friends do you really have? The answer will likely be in the single digits. And if it's over twenty, you're either not being honest with yourself or you're really freaking popular, in which case, take it down a notch will you please? As counter intuitive as it may seem, no one actually likes the super popular one. Spreading yourself thin is never a good look. It's like my main man Aristotle says, "A friend to all is a friend to none." Identify your genuine homies, and give them a goddamned call and get some lattes this weekend. You owe it to them, and yourself.
All that being said, if you're reading this, I'm willing to go get sober daytime coffee with you. Anyone that takes time out of their day to read the nonsense that I write, (all the way to the end) is my bestest number one super friend. So whaddya say? It's on me...just the coffee though, I'm not paying for scones and shit.