If someone says, "This is my friend Sue," I automatically make some assumptions. I think they are close enough that if Sue's car broke down, she'd call the other person. I believe they talk regularly and know each other's families. I think they must spend time at each other's houses. I expect them to know each other's children/spouses by name and sight.
To me, the word friend means someone who is part of your life -- usually for a while. We know there are situational friends -- work friends, high school friends, etc. -- who occupy a space for a while. You might remain on good terms, but just drift away after one person moves to a new job or you go off to different colleges.
I've been thinking about this because I've been spending more time at the girls' school, with those parents and the teachers. It's like having an instant group of friends. They all dish about their families and the neighbors. They all tell stories I'm not sure I want to know.
While I think they are nice, I don't know that we'll be friends. We can be friendly acquaintances, but we're not friends. I think of it more as a nice, cordial professional relationship. We're all there to do our best to make sure all our children receive the best education possible. If we all work together, good things will happen.
If a friendship develops it would be great. If it doesn't, I'm not upset by this. We have lots of friends we don't spend enough time with. If we add one to the list, I hope it will be a long-term addition to the "family."
I don't need to hear the most intimate details of your world an hour after I meet you. I don't need to hear about the first time you realized you wanted to create a beautiful garden just because we're helping the class draw flowers. While standing in line to pick up our children, one Mom told me she used to take her son's pre-k teacher to lunch "all the time." She said, "we became really good friends. We know so much about each other." A minute later she admitted that they hardly have time for each other any more since her son moved on to Kindergarten.
Really, do you want someone you don't really know armed with all the details of your life? I don't. I always say I live in a "need to know" world when it comes to other people. There are a few things I really need to know. Otherwise, I can live without all your deepest secrets.
So let's be friendly acquaintances and see if a friendship develops. Not to be mean, but it takes me more than 15 minutes to declare anyone my friend.