There is an inherent problem in this phenomena called friendship as it entails the need for a contradiction between the very nature and instinct of self-preservation versus the idea of co-dependency i.e. the need to protect and share with an individual or group of individuals. Granted, that such things are somewhat tied together. After all, there's always an ulterior motive, an agenda to forward, an urge to be satisfied. In doing so one actually forges friendships and acquaintances to forward the preservation of one's own person. The bonds of brotherhood/sisterhood or the love that may form from such dealings are perhaps mere positive externalities rather than the prize of such pursuits.
Trust is at the very core of this discussion. And truth is a lot harder to fathom than think. You can't simply go out and ask someone if they are a true friend, just as they can't do so to you. Interrogation, hanging out or bonding sessions can only reveal so much. Tragedy and turmoil can help clarify things but really, who wants to find out that way? In a time where communication has reached a point that two strangers a world apart can become good friends simply by being in front of digital machine, it is quite underwhelming that we, as a species cannot lay our entirety out in the open. We hide behind half-truths, deceptive lies and a facade that we may not even be aware of or deliberately weave.
Words, pictures, moments, touch. All do a great job reminding, maybe explaining, but they too, are susceptible to the complications. Getting down to the nitty-gritty, it's probably best to have your own little packet of grains of salt. But no, to do so would mean you're merely paranoid, or that you overthink these things. Doing the exact opposite would mean that you're either dumb as a brick or naive. Whichever one you are, you will find that in the end you're broken, and the only thing that's keeping yourself from the solution is the problem itself. The cause and the cure are one and the same, how delightfullly ironic.
Which brings us to the question, and I'm quite certain many have asked themselves this before, who are your true friends? As often as that is asked, I find myself bringing up a follow-up: "is there even such a thing?" Cynical, jaded, or paranoid as it may sound that query is interesting considering the above statement. The answer is quite simple really: who cares? Whether or not you have people who surround you, a circle that you can say are truly there for you when it counts, the alternative–loneliness–is certainly worse. Besides, I've found out the answer long ago, some four years in the past, and the answer is yes, there is such a thing. As for you, my dear reader, you get the delightful little task of finding out on your own, stumbling along the way. I assure you that there will be many tears along the way, but again, the alternative, being alone and uncared for, even superficially is far, far worse.