I think I have a lot of good friends. I'm still friends a few people from grade school and high school. I have a fairly close circle of friends around me we try to get together often. I even have people online that I consider friends.
I guess it's hard to know when people are actually your longterm friend and when they are just passing through your life to make some change that was hopefully neccesary or helpful. I guess no matter what a friend should make you a better person for what they teach you about life and about yourself.
What I have learned from people I consider my friends. 1) I need to be less on the defensive all the time. Not everything everyone says to me is a direct attack on my character as a person. 2) I have to stop wondering so much what someone means when they say something to me "read less into things". It could just be they mean what they say? 3) I need to learn to trust my instincts more about people and less what is visible on the outside. Some facades are so well established it's hard to see through them for what really lies beneath. 4)Basically I am this: I stand up for what I believe to be right and true and I am undeniably fair! Everyone gets the same chances in everything in my world no exceptions everyone gets honesty from me(except when I tell my kids that the Easter Bunny asked me to buy this easter grass! and those types of things) Everyone gets to have fun with me because I'm basically a funny person, now some people may not get my humor as it is a bit dry but those around me and truly close to me understand it. And well I suppose if your British you understand it. I can tell as my kids get older their not fond of it! Lets just say I feel for them I wasn't terribly excited about my Dad's sense of humor when I was a kid!
Lessons to remember daily. Lessons that can only help make me, my family and my friends better people. Life is just that a series of lessons. We cannot stop learning or trying to improve lest we forget how to be human and become what we loath!