In August I came to a realization about my friends. I was packing up to leave a pagan festival
a night early, and one person came up and told me where he'd be and to come get him if I needed anything at all. He really meant it. I see this guy five days out of the year, and he's more a friend than people I see every weekend.
The suicide thing Addien brings up... why is it so often when someone dies, people say "she was so popular"? Is it just that we still don't notice the unpopular ones, even when they die? In Heathers, when the first Heather died, her fake suicide note said "I die knowing no one knew the real me." And people believed it. But if it had been true, why had she continued to treat people like crap if what she really wanted was to open up to one of them?
The best explanation I have heard was on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Cordelia was explaining to Buffy that no her life isn't perfect, her friends don't really like her for who she is, etc. Buffy asked her in retort why she continues to be a bitch and a slave to popularity, and she said something like, "If I have to be alone either way, at least I don't want to do it by myself."
So I guess what it is is people are so afraid of chasing away the superficial friends they have, they don't take that step that could make them true friends. They continue to pretend everything is fine, because they'd rather be shells surrounded by acquaintances than take the risk of losing even that. The funny thing is that some of those acquaintances probably feel the same way, and if someone would take the first step, then both would open up. But we don't know that.