Who were Shakespeare’s friends? The men in the company? Did he get friendly with patrons? Did nobles treat him in the way Hamlet does the first player? Did they see him as an intimate without any real exchanging of intimacy or names? Or was there intimacy? The Sonnets might suggest a complicated relationship between patronage and friendship.
Maybe friendships back in Stratford were a little less complicated. Maybe just saying hello to your neighbor on the way to church was less fraught with layers of status and power and need.