We use that term too loosely. I have made no secret to the board that I am a recovering alcoholic. I had "friends" that when I went into recovery no longer wanted to hang out. I made it clear that to remain sober I couldn't be around partying and drinking. They were not interested in hanging out without partying and drinking. Thus, not true friends.
Value true friends. Jettison those that are not.
I probably need to think about this a little bit. Friendship is a complicated topic. I don't think it's black or white. It often falls in the gray areas.
If I use your example, you clearly expect your true friends to stand by you at any time especially when you're going through tough times. You also expect them to accept your choices and support you whatever these choices are. Right? And you're disappointed that they didn't want to hang out when you didn't want to party anymore. Understandable
But if I apply that same logic to the situation of 2 people splitting up, it means that friends will want to stand by each of you regardless of your choices. If they're as much your friend as they are your spouse's friend, they're put in a difficult predicament.
In a way, to agree on a definition of true friendship, we probably need to agree on a common moral code. A true friend will advise you to do the right thing because they want what's good for you.
But not everyone agrees on what's right and what's wrong. This is especially true when it comes to relationships in our modern days. Many people don't see marriage or family as an important value anymore. They may value independence, individuality, and personal fulfillment as higher values. (I'm not saying that marriage is in contradiction with any of these values necessarily)
When a WS starts behaving in a wayward, they usually have a different story to tell their friends. They'll say that they were unhappy in the MR, they'll accuse the LBS (often unfairly) of abusive behavior, they'll talk about finding their true self, their freedom, their independence, etc. They'll say a lot of things that could sound appealing and convicing to many people.
I think it's difficult to judge all your friends equally. Very few friendships are true and sincere anyway.
Lately, I've also been on the other side of the fence. I have a friend who has been going through separation this past year. And we've been spending a lot of time together. Given my experience, you'd expect that I would try to convince him not to separate. But there is just no way to convince someone of something when their minds are already made. From the outside, many people can accuse me of helping him out in his separation. But it wouldn't be true. The only choices I have are to stand by him and give him good advice when I can or to walk away.
Me:49 XW:41, M:18 years, Kids: S18,S14 BD:JULY 2017, W moved out: DEC 2017 Filed for D: APR 2019, D Final: JULY 2019