As for your friends, I think you do deserve better than what they giving and looking for some grounded friends would do worlds for anybody. Whether they understand you or not, the fact they aren't there to manipulate you and their willing to support you is more than enough. Of course I don't know who you're around but, I've seen a similar situation and that's what I meant by the disconnect. Being too focused on these individuals, yet too distanced from everyone else leaves you with nobody but yourself. Sure you may know what you want, but these people don't have it and if becoming too close makes you develop feelings while they're using you, then you need to expand and look elsewhere. There are many fish in the sea and oftentimes the compromise isn't worth it. But if these true friends are strong on their own and can give back to you then there's no problem to it. :D
It's just your situation is so striking similar to someone I know that I followed on an apparent trend.