Basically, if I just met a random person and an actual friend comes by, I always introduce the rando as “my friend namehere”. This started as an attempt to try to exude interpersonal warmth to help with networking by trying to get the rando to like me as a person.

The word “friend” is so loose and universal you can apply it to almost anyone. Heck, you can even call your enemy to be your friend in metaphorical sense because you have a personal connection.

The only potentially awkward situation I can come up with is when you call someone very dear and close to you “a friend”, like a spouse or parent or your kid. But overall it’s still very minor and won’t get you into trouble. So, I say it’s okay to call everyone your friend, friend

I’m not your friend buddy!

serious answer to that specific scenario though is just to append “my new friend”

Is anyone really your friend, though?

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