If you feel like it’s tough to make new friends, especially as you get older, you’re not alone. Good friends are hard to find, and at least part of the problem may lie in the fact that it takes a significant time investment to forge a genuine friendship. And time is a resource many busy adults find themselves short on.
In fact, a report published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships found that it takes about 50 hours to turn an acquaintance into a “casual friend,” and about 90 hours to become a true blue friend. And if you’re looking for someone to call your BFF, that’s going to run you about 200 hours.
The study also clarified that hours that are not chosen — i.e. those that you spend with a coworker because their cube is next to yours — don’t have as much of an impact. So in order to become actual friends with your colleague, you’ll have to hit happy hour together or make plans to hang out on the weekend to make those hours count.
Why did it seem so much easier to form friendships when you were younger? This friendship study shows that there’s a reason for that.
“When people transition between stages, they’ll double or triple the amount of time they spend with that other person in three weeks’ time,” University of Kansas professor Jeffrey Hall, the study’s lead author, explained to Inc. “I found freshmen who spent one-third of all waking hours in a month with one good friend.”
People are also more likely to seek out and make new friends during other big transitions, such as moving to a new city.
“People seem to pair off with potential friends shortly after that transition, meaning it seems that people know who they want to pursue a new friendship with among the new people they meet,” Hall told The Cut.
The time frame in which you spend those hours matters as well, with some research suggesting that if you haven’t become friends with someone within three to four months of meeting them, odds are you never will.
What do you think of these findings? How long did it take you to bond with your bestie?