Friendship is a two-way thing. It requires trust, affection, tolerance, and acceptance going back and forth. Both sides of the equation are responsible for the maintenance of the relationship.
In business we have mainly acquaintances, if we are lucky a handful of those turn into true friendships. I am not sure how that line is crossed. Maybe kismet, possibly serendipity or chance. In any event, I do recognize the difference.
Calls, emails, and texts are more important even if they are business related. I find that I am more apt to put more urgency or credence to their requests, questions, or comments.
We start to get in trouble when we start to relate to all acquaintances as if they are friends. Why would this be a bad thing? Your friends, the really good ones, will have your best interest at heart. They will go the extra mile for you in life and in business. They will think of you when opportunities arise that will be beneficial to you. They will throw your hat in the ring for you every chance they can. They will be your ambassadors in the marketplace.
Acquaintances on the other hand can be more motivated by their own interests and see you as someone they are comfortable enough with to leverage. You see these people in many settings and talk to them collegially. You may want to befriend them at some point, but they have not been elevated to friendship. In these cases, we are slightly guarded, politely deflective of requests for meetings or one-to-one sit downs. Of course, business can’t be done with friends alone (although that would be awesome), so we do accept some of the advances, but only on a business level.
We have all endured certain times when there has been a lack of reciprocity. It is unfortunate but frequent. It is what damages relationship building. It gives pause when an opportunity could have been presented to you, but seemingly no one thought of you. Hopefully your friends will remember you or your company when the time is right. My best advice is to remain open to new relationships and ignore professional slights.
You choose the people who you want in your inner circle. After all, they are the ones who have your back and you have theirs. To me, that is the way it is supposed to be and is the ideal.