How could I describe friends that I only talk about fluffy topics with?

Fair-weather friends is not quite what I intend here, because it implies if times got difficult the friends would leave. I'm trying to describe people who you're not close enough with to confide in or talk about more difficult topics, but you are friends (as opposed to acquaintances). I also don't intend this to be a pejorative.

Things we have come up with so far are fluffy friends since you talk only about fluffy topics, and Disney friends, since they're uncomplicated, easy, and happy, but I'm hoping for something a little clearer that doesn't require explanation.

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    What qualifies as a difficult topic? Is it difficult for him (because it's sad or embarrassing or something), difficult for you or simply requires a lot of knowledge? – MorganFR Dec 6 '16 at 15:58
  • Usually, in the negative: not intimate friends, not bosom buddies, not close friends. – Lambie Dec 6 '16 at 16:35
  • 'not close friends'? 'someone you are on chatting terms with'? – Spagirl Dec 6 '16 at 17:20
  • Difficult as in sad or embarrassing, something that's hard to talk about. – Shay Dec 6 '16 at 19:05

The rather straightforward phrase surface-level friends seems to fit the bill. I found a 1951 instance (snippet available on Google Books) that describes the limited scope of these relationships:

Since she lived in the next apartment I saw more of her than anyone else and we developed the kind of surface-level friendship that allowed us to exchange recipes, borrow cups of sugar and take each other's telephone messages.

(from Woman's Home Companion)

Another example which appeared in 2013:

he's your "fun" friend . . . But if you've tried to talk to him when you're freaking out about college apps or fighting with your parents and he doesn't want to engage in those personal convos, he might be better off as a surface-level friend.

(from Seventeen Ultimate Guide to Guys by Ann Shoket)


Kiddie-ride friends -- friends you wouldn't ask to go on the big-kid rides with you.-- although this carries a sense of "fair weather" friends.

small-talk-only friends

Kiddie-pool friends -- friends who won't venture out into deeper conversational waters with you.

Ponyville friends -- who live in the My Little Pony village where all is fluffy and sweetness and light.


I prefer this phrase: Outer-circle friends

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    Could you add some references—such as a dictionary link—to your answer to back it up and give it extra credence? Answers without citations may be deleted. – BladorthinTheGrey Dec 6 '16 at 17:11

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