It’s harder than ever to tell who your real friends are. That’s not just because a recent study revealed that most of the people you consider friends don’t even like you that much (the truth hurts, but it will set you free!) but because Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and SnapChat make it so easy to connect and see the intimate details of other people’s lives. Which, of course, makes it hard to divorce yourself from the fact that most of the people you refer to as “friends” on your timeline are people you wouldn’t recognize in real life (or just added because they were hot — no shame, we all do it.)
So what is a friend? How many are you, a well-adjusted individual in this modern age, supposed to have? Is the person who’s constantly liking your Facebook statuses someone who actually cares about you? Does your friendship of 15 years still count if your bestie didn’t wish you a happy birthday on Facebook (to make it official)? And is it possible to be truly close friends with someone you haven’t ever actually met, even though you converse via text, email, and social media on the daily?
In Kate Murphy’s above mentioned New York Times Article (which you should read in full), she explored the ways in which you can tell whether someone’s an actual friend or just that MVP who likes all your lame tweets. And, in the spirit of making your birthday parties and get-togethers easier to plan, we’ve put together a primer on how to tell whether the people you worry about returning your texts are really worth it.