If you’re anything like us, you probably haven’t spent too much time thinking abut how long it takes to make friends. We usually let friendships blossom naturally like flowers — without measuring out how much time we’re spending “watering” them. But a recent study has offered a possible answer to the question of how long it takes to call someone your friend, and how long it takes to call someone a good friend. Though we’re still a little skeptical, we have to admit that the results are fascinating.
The March 2018 research, published in Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, analyzed 355 survey responses from adults who had moved within the last six months by asking them about people they consider friends, how long they’ve spent time with these people, and how close they were with them. The paper also analyzed 112 college freshmen students by asking them about two people they had met since starting school two weeks beforehand — and by following up with them several weeks afterward. Results found that it takes about 40 to 60 hours to form a casual friendship, 80 to 100 hours to form a friendship, and about 200 hours to form a “good” friendship.
Wow — about 200 hours? That would mean it would take more than a full week total spent with someone before you could call them a good friend. Can you imagine spending all that time with one person if it was all in one sitting? No matter how much we love our friends, that sounds like a but much — though of course, this study was referring to hours spent over a much longer period of time. That said, there are still some limitations to the research; the study only covered small samples of people, and all of the findings were from self-reported surveys. Additionally, a considerable amount of the people studied were in college; we all remember how much easier it was to make friends when we were so close in proximity to so many of our peers at once.
Limitations aside, we’re not really sure we can put a number on how much time we spend with someone before establish closeness or begin to consider them a good friend. Sometimes we instantly click with people and can’t stop sending messages to them or meeting up for dinner and drinks; with other folks, we need more time to gradually get to know them before we open up. It doesn’t make either friendship more or less valuable because of how much time in hours has passed. That said, the research serves as an important reminder to keep in touch with all our dearest friends — no matter how busy our lives get.
“We have to put that time in,” lead researcher Jeffrey Hall said in a statement. “You can’t snap your fingers and make a friend. Maintaining close relationships is the most important work we do in our lives.”
Next, see some of the sweetest celebrity friendships in the video below:
h/t Science Alert