Acquaintances Friends Strangers

A Riddle: We Get a Fresh Supply Everyday Yet We Never Have Enough

Any guesses? Collectively, our survey repeatedly identified this as an obstacle to developing new friendships and maintaining existing ones. And the answer is (all together now…) time. Those 24 hours drain away fast. They’re parceled out to meet the demands of our roles and responsibilities at home and work (including commuting), with our family (both near and far), and our neighbors and community. It’s no wonder there’s a deficit before the next batch arrives at midnight!

You do know you’re not alone, right? But, the truth of the matter is that, where friendships are concerned, the key to success lies in investing the time.

A recent article in Psychology Today highlights interesting findings from a study in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. The study was sparked by the idea that there are layers of friendships (acquaintances, casual friends, friends and good friends) which reflect the amount of time, and interaction, we invest in them.

It looks like this:

  • Stranger → acquaintance = 30 hours
  • Acquaintance → casual friend = approximately 50 hours of interaction
  • Casual friend → friend = about 90 hours
  • Friend → best friend = more than 200 hours

You’re probably thinking, 50 to 200 hours? Not gonna happen!

That was our first reaction, too. But we all know that nothing we create and value happens overnight, and it can often take months or even years. If you consider the casual friends, good friends and best friends you have today, the hours you both devoted to it weren’t scheduled and then accounted for. They reflect the interest and the willingness, on both your parts, to spend the time together, many times over. 

What story do you have about how your friendships evolved, ever so slowly but deliberately, from acquaintances to good or best friends?

Photo by David Marcu on Unsplash

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