On this episode of “What Is X?” Justin E.H. Smith asks: What is friendship? His guest, S. Abbas Raza, is the founding editor of 3 Quarks Daily and has a graduate degree in philosophy from Columbia, but what qualifies him as an expert on this topic is quite simple: he is one of Justin’s oldest friends. Together, the two settle into a relaxed conversation on the nature of friendship—once a high priority for the ancient philosophers, and yet strangely neglected today—and take their own as something of a case study, probing its start in the mid-Nineties, its roots in the cultural differences between American and Pakistani conceptions of friendship, and how it has changed over time. From there they progress to timeless questions: Can you have too many friends? Is there really a distinction between the “true friend” and the “fair-weather friend”? Does the classic “Friendship ended with Mudasir” meme bear witness to a kind of relationship that simply does not exist in the U.S.? And most pressingly of all: Is friendship overrated?