At the end of the day maybe you don't need friendship (its not going to hurt), but it does help to surround yourself with commited people who are interested in these skills if for any other reason than having a variety of body types and skill levels to play with.
I don't disagree with what you're saying. Having helpful 'friends' or 'partners' (that's really what you mean, I gather) is certainly a plus and I haven't said anything against it. "Friendship", "Wu De", "spirituality" and other intangibles, though, I'd suggest are not necessary as part of "path that leads to internal power". First a person needs information and someone to show them the basics and get them started.
I've also noted a number of times that I don't think there are any real experts in I.S. posting on this forum and in fact I think that at the moment most people have only general ideas about the full spectrum of I.S. skills. I.e., I don't think the information is complete, so before people get too committed to anything they should understand that there's a lot more information out there. "Friends" may be helpful, but just like some of the Aikido (or Taiji or Xingyi or karate or whatever) 'teachers' that have helped cause the current problem, an "I.S. teacher" who has incomplete information can be as much of a problem as any other teacher.
So yeah, you need assistance from partners and from teacher(s), but you mainly have to depend on yourself and understand that even some of the most well-meaning "teachers" and "friends" can put you unintentionally in the trick-bag if what they know isn't quite as helpful overall as you may hope out of your own loyalty to them.
I've seen some people who simply stagnate by working out with the same partners/pals for years. You have to look hard at results and you have to know what results you should be looking for.