online people know by now that the term “friends” has come to have new meanings.there are friends and then there are friends. people still resist change in the language. On Goodreads, for example, some people are horrified by the thought that you want to be “friends” with them. you didn’t mean to offend. you merely thought their taste in books was interesting. but no matter, you can still follow their reviews.
it’s very common for people to feel protective of their special words and to hate it when they change their meanings, but this is what language is about. it happens.
I was never very attached to the word “friends”. Perhaps it’s because I’ve lost so many over the years and some who I thought of as friends were really not, after all. on the other hand there’s no mistaking “family”. it is what it is.