Fun fact : In colloquial Hebrew there is a difference between "ידיד" and "חבר" which both translate to 'friend' in English.
We use "חבר" or "חברה" to who ever we would consider a friend or someone we are having a relationship with, depending on your sex:
If the person is like you it would mean friend
If the person is of the opposite sex it would mean boyfriend/girlfriend
However "ידיד" or "ידידה" are considered friends who aren't that close to us or someone of the opposite sex who isn't our boyfriend/girlfriend, so:
If the person is like you it would mean someone you aren't close to
If the person is of the opposite sex it would mean a friend who we are not in a relationship with
Hope I helped ! :D
Well since I wasn't around 50 years ago that might have been the case :D It sounds reasonable to me that it could have been like that. I can imagine older folks calling each other "ידידי" (my friend) for example ,but now the meaning is different and the way I described it is the case.
I think it’s a bit more complicated. I think it depends on age and context, e.g. saying חבר טוב would most likely mean ‘a good friend’ while ‘החבר’ would mean ‘the boyfriend’.
Generally ‘ידיד’ is more literary but used when disambiguation is important. Hence the saying that there’s nothing gayer than a man calling his חבר a ידיד.