I am acquainted with a woman who habitually refers to people she views as "prominent", "influential",
"powerful", and "successful" as her "friends". I think it must be an ego-boost that she can convince others that she is "friends" with "important" people and associate herself with people she considers eminent, even if it's only in her imagination. I think it's an "upwardly mobile" fixation; in the old days she would have been called a "Social Climber".
Her comeuppance happened one Sunday at church when she and I were making a presentation for a group to which we belong; we were hoping to get donations. After completing our presentation we were walking up the aisle while parishioners were exiting their pews. Suddenly, my acquaintance whispered breathlessly to me, "There's my friend XXXXXX; I'll introduce you!" and she hurried up the aisle. I didn't have the opportunity to tell her that I knew WHO the person was, but he certainly was not someone I considered a "friend". When she started to introduce me to him, he said, "I know Sue!" and then his wife came from behind him, squealed with delight, and embraced me.
Then the man turned to my acquaintance and asked, "What did you say YOUR name is?"
Can you imagine the mortification? She further embarrassed herself by reminding him that her mother had been a member of the church and that she used to come to church with her mother. He asked how long ago that she had been a member and she told how long her mother had been dead. He said that he did not remember her mother but he'd been a member there for 20 years.
Later she asked why I hadn't told her that they were my friends. I said, "Because they are NOT my friends." She said, "They sure acted like you are!" I said, "That's because I give nice wedding presents." I continued, "I used to BABYSIT with her and her sister; I watched her grow up, but I haven't seen them since the wedding, so I don't really even KNOW them." She said, "I can't believe he doesn't remember me!" I said, "He probably has a different concept of friendship than you do."
Unfortunately, that humiliating experience has not deterred her from claiming others as "friends"!