My oldest friendship is with my mother's friend who my brother and I inherited. She's known us all our lives, having befriended mom when they were about 13. I'm also very close friends with her daughter (and just now I recall a non-lucid dream from last night about my phone pocket dialing her brother, weird, but me and she did exchange emails yesterday so maybe that's it).
My oldest friend who I made on my own, I've known since the playground at about age 3 or 4 so friends now for only 52 years. Also I'm good friends still with some kids from grade school, one since about age 8 and two from 4th or 5th grade. And I'm still friendly with many of the kids from back then through high school. We'd be closer, but see each other every so often as not everyone has time for everyone.
I made good friends in college and kept them for a while but most of those faded naturally by our relocations. I had colleagues who I thought my friends but turned out to be just situational friendships that ended when I stupidly retired and most of the people I made friends with during the rest of life moved away and also naturally faded, Florida being such a transient state.
I had a group of gay friends from the 80s until about mid 90s when my closest friend of that group tried to get in my pants while he was in a monogamous relationship with another friend. Nothing happened, I was real nice about it, but then he turned on me and took everyone with him. I just walked away.
I have family friends too, my mom having been a focal point for all them. We grew up with at least 60 cousins just on the one side meeting twice a year for parties. I just received a call from one cousin yesterday and on Thursday one of my favorites is coming to spend a few days here.
I've been loved and I've been betrayed. The worst were the very long term relationships that failed: the last three were two 20-years and one cousin who was my supposed-friend since we were babies. I still can't believe what they did. My cousin has lost the respect of our entire family. I suffer betrayal trauma and struggle through it.
Friendships are rewarding but not easy. You put a lot into it, you don't always get much back and sometimes you get burned. And I'm finding another downside to it now that I'm ageing. They're dying. And it's not just them, but their parents and their friends are dying and you can't supply yourself with a large enough stack of condolence e-cards. It gets to ya.
When my mom was suffering Alzheimer's, two of my other friends were dealing with the very same thing at the same time, and other friends' moms had something else, I forget what. A whole group of us lost our mom's within six months of each other and then another friend's mom died a few months later and another right after that. It was sick. Because we were supposed to be there to support each other but we were all so wounded. Life can be a nightmare.
When my mom died, my friend from the playground insisted against my wishes on being there for me. But her mom had just died, also of Alzheimer's, about a month earlier. She was sole caregiver so I knew she was weak. As mom wanted to be in the family plots, we flew up near my old school friends so I called two of them to escort my good friend to the funeral. And sure enough, in the middle of the service (I didn't see it but they told me) she fainted. I knew it. But I had my two other friends on either side of her and they caught her so she didn't get hurt.
That's friendship, people who remind you why you are alive, people who keep you from falling into a grave that is not yet yours.