"keinerlei" is more often and more appropriately used with things and the way you do things, and for relations, for hope, limitations, changes etc. but not for persons and friends.
But it is correct that it means: "..."absolutely no", or "abslotuely nothing", or "not at all"
In my humble opinion, it's wrong, full stop. The Deutsche Duden hasn't got examples like this nor any other dictionary.
It should be used to explain that you do not have any of those sort of things in question.
And the reason why it's wrong is, friends are not falling in the category "things" it can be use for nearly anything else but, for people, friends and family.
"Keine Freunde." is a clear message and means Zero friends
"Gar keine Freunde." is a even stronger message and means Zero friends with emphasis.
"Ueberhaupt keine Freunde." is a even stronger message and means Zero friends with emphasis.
"Keinerlei Freunde." is a general but strong message and means Zero friends too, the emphasis here is: "someone wants to express that it is sad to hear or know, that this person has nil friends."
The Afrikaans equivalent of 'keinerlei' is 'generlei'. Ex.: Ek kan jou op generlei wyse help nie. = I cannot help you in any way whatsoever. However, according to the Verklarende Handwoordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal, the use of 'generlei' is now outdated. I wonder if this is also the case with the use of 'keinerlei' in modern German?
I think it's used in German, although they also say "gar keine" and "gar nicht." I learned "gar nicht" first and asked my German friends if "gar keine" worked as well. They said yes, so since we were on the subject, I asked if people also said "keinerlei" and they said "yeah, you can say that -- it's a good word, too!" This was September 2015.
You can say it, but in spoken language it's not very common. I think I only use it in written texts. Note that you wouldn't use "gar keine“ and “gar nicht“ the same way. You can say "Er hat gar keine Freude.“ but you can't say "Er hat gar nicht Freunde.“ If you wanted to use "gar nicht“ in that case, you would have to restructure the sentence. For example: "Freunde hat er gar nicht.“
hardly any = kaum etwas