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I am building a Drupal 7 site, and I am quite new to Drupal. I want to assign each authenticated to a group which I define myself, for instance "friends", "family", "coworkers", "mortal enemies" and so on. I want the content access permissions to depend on this group, so that my friends and family are allowed to see all my images with cute kittens, whereas my mortal enemies should only have access to my archive of taunts and elaborate verbal abuse.

Any suggestions?

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The Organic Group module will come to your rescue. Read the documentation about how to use the module.
More about the module:

Enable users to create and manage their own 'groups'. Each group can have subscribers, and maintains a group home page where subscribers communicate amongst themselves.

They do so by posting the usual node types: blog, story, page, etc. A block is shown on the group home page which facilitates these posts. The block also provides summary information about the group.

Groups may be selective or not. Selective groups require approval in order to become a member, or even invitation -only groups. There are lots of preferences to configure groups as you need.

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Maybe you want to give it a try to use the Group module, which is an alternative for Organic Groups.

Group allows for creating arbitrary collections of your content and users on your site, and grant access control permissions on those collections. It is available as of D7, and has a D8 version also. It is designed to be an alternative to Organic Groups. The Group module creates groups as entities, making them fully fieldable, extensible and exportable.

For this specific question, you'd enable the gnode submodule, and for each group type you would define the appropriate permissions (view, edit, delete, etc) for the various Content Types. That's it.

For more details about how Group compares to Organic Groups, refer to my answer to "What are the features of the Group module versus Organic Group module?".

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