As I watched some of the past episodes of Boston Legal last night (left over from the preview night at K.C.'s), I determined that the attraction I have to the show was entirely the balcony scenes between Alan Shore and Denny Crane and their friendship discussions. In Season 2 - Alan Shore references Ralph Waldo Emerson's quote - "A friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature".
This July 4th weekend coincidentally several "dormant" friends have made contact - email, dropped by, called, or popped into my memory. Holidays remind us (and provide extra time out of busy schedules) of the value of friendship.
I think of friends and your personal network as a series of concentric circles - and inner circle of people connected to you by time, location and frequency of interaction, surrounded with other circles of contact with successive lower levels of interaction. Then there is a complete population of people that remain entirely outside your circle - awaiting possible touch.
The only problem with the visual of concentric circles is it places the individual at the center of the circle (that boarders on a selfish/narcissistic view of friendship). The reality is "We talk of choosing our friends, but friends are self elected" and "the only way to have a friend is to be one". So the mystery of friendship networks is reaching out to others and hoping they elect to spend more time inside your "circle" or stated differently they "elect" you into their circle. It is a two way transaction.
Ralph Waldo Emerson had it correct when he said "Friendship, like immortality of the soul, is too good to be believed." - Yes a masterpiece!