How Long It Takes To Turn An Acquaintance Into A Friend, According To Science

And how long it takes to turn a "friend" into a "close friend."

Ever meet someone and instantly feel like you want them to be your friend? Well new research from the University of Kansas has the answer for how long it actually takes to turn that friend crush into a best friend. 

Like all good things in life, it'll take time and effort. The study found that "it takes roughly 50 hours of time together to move from mere acquaintance to casual friend, 90 hours to go from that stage to simple 'friend' status and more than 200 hours before you can consider someone your close friend." 

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How you spend your time together matters too. Spending it working together is not going to count as much as going out to eat with them, playing games together, joking around, or having deep conversations. 

"We have to put that time in," Associate Communication Studies Professor Jeffrey Hall, who led the study, said in a press release. "You can't snap your fingers and make a friend. Maintaining close relationships is the most important work we do in our lives — most people on their deathbeds agree."

Jacob Lund / Shutterstock.com 

Hall conducted his study in two parts. In the first, he analyzed 355 responses to an online survey from adults who had moved within the past six months and were looking to make new friends. He asked them to mention someone they'd met after their move and learned more about how their relationships had progressed. Hall then asked participants to categorize these friendships into four stages: acquaintance, casual friend, friend and close friend. 

In the second part, Hall surveyed 112 University of Kansas freshmen who weren't from the area. Each participant told him about two people they had met in the two weeks since school began. Then, Hall followed up with them four and seven weeks later to learn how those relationships had progressed.

Once the studies were completed, Hall combined the results of both to determine an estimate of the amount of time it takes to transition from each stage of friendship to the next. 

"When people transition between stages, they'll double or triple the amount of time they spend with that other person in three weeks' time," Hall said. "I found freshmen who spent one-third of all waking hours in a month with one good friend."

So, there you have it. If there's someone you're hoping to get to that next stage of friendship with, you'll have to invite them to spend time with you — even if it's a little awkward at first. Go to an event, host a game night, or just grab a drink together. Making new friends is a lot more like dating than most people realize. 

Cover image Look Studio / Shutterstock.com

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