"I love you" doesn't mean "just for now."
It doesn't mean "until someone else I like shows up." It doesn't mean "until this is no longer fun." And it doesn't mean "until times get tough."
There have been lots of people in my life. A lot have come and lots have gone. They taught me a lot, especially about love. Everyone has 'fake' friends. I've had my fair share of them, and I expect to have more in my lifetime. Fake friends aren't necessarily bad either. Sure, you can't count on them for anything but when they're bored it's always fun to be invited for coffee. It's just the toxic ones you need to avoid: the ones that make you feel bad or talk about you behind your back. But even the toxic ones can help: they make you treasure the real friends you have even more.
Real friends aren't the oldest friends we have. They aren't the ones who you talk to the most often. They aren't always unrelated to us. And they aren't even the ones you have most in common with. Real friends are the ones who share a mutual love for. It may be unspoken but it's still there. And it can feel odd to talk about love when you mean your friends. I don't know why but people think it's odd for others to feel love towards their friends, instead of only their family and romantic partner. But the way I see it is, is that a family doesn't need to be related just as a home doesn't need to be a house. If we looked at the world like that, people I have no blood relation with would be my siblings and I wouldn't know some of the people I am related to.
Love can be unspoken but is shown. It is present when someone stays with you during the worst of times: They might be silent, but they never leave. They're the ones who accompany you to MRIs just for the heck of it. They die laughing at your morning cocktail of drugs. They are the ones you have conversations with for hours on end with that never get boring but often get weird. They are the ones who pick on you for being sick when you're okay but are the most concerned when you actually are sick. They're the ones who, like you, are on a first name basis with your rheumatologist. And they're the ones who immediately offer you a kidney when you tell them something is wrong with yours.
Real friends aren't just the people you met a school or work. They can be anyone. Parents. Siblings. Cousins. Even 'Internet friends.' And, of course, romantic partners. Friends are the people who we love and who love us back. Even if you would never say it outloud.