We meet and get to know new people in our day-to-day lives. Only very few of them really become our close friends, while others remain just acquaintances. Ever wondered why?
Even the best of friendships begin as acquaintances. Before it turns into a beautiful friendship, it has to go through various stages of friendship. From acquaintance to casual friendship and then to closer friendship before it turns into a more intimate level of friendship.
An acquaintance is someone you have met once or twice in a group setting and felt comfortable with them. With a casual friend, you are more invested emotionally and the relationship has progressed to one on one meetings. A close friend is someone you meet regularly and find reliable. When you begin to open up and share everything with your friend, your friendship reaches an intimate level.
A tricky thing about friendship is how your friend is considering you. Even when you may treat this person as your true friend, your friend may not have progressed beyond the casual friendship stage. That is why this question arises.
How to tell if someone is a friend or acquaintance? How to know if someone considers you a friend?
This article explores the world of friendship and comes up with some answers. You will find here diverse ways to identify if someone is a friend or acquaintance.
Acquaintance or close friends? How to tell?
When you meet someone and find that you can get along with them well, you tend to meet them more often. Soon this acquaintance will develop into friendship. At a given point in time, if you want to know where your relationship stands, all you need to do is figure out your comfort level with the person.
How often do you meet up or talk to each other? Are you comfortable revealing your secrets to this person?
This will give you the answer to the question – How to tell if someone is a friend or acquaintance?
1. You meet them only at your workplace
Circumstances brought you two together. You get along well with each other and are just being nice. But neither of you is making any effort to expand the acquaintance beyond the workplace.
There is no doubt that you are happy to see and interact with each other. But neither of you is willing to go out of the way to develop this acquaintance into a friendship. Neither of you is ready to set aside time for the other and make space for the other in your lives.
You interact with each other when it is convenient. You are pleasant to each other but not yet ready to hang out with each other outside work hours.
2. You barely know any personal details about them
There must be some common point that brought you together and you know about that. This can be their place of work or the park where you go jogging or the shop that you frequent. Besides this, you may know their name. You may also know where they live and their phone number. If your acquaintance has progressed beyond the first stage, you may know their relationship status.
If this is where your relationship is, it is still an acquaintance. You have no idea about their likes and dislikes and what their life goals and dreams are.
3. You haven’t yet revealed anything personal
You know the bare essential personal details about each other but nothing more than that. You haven’t yet talked about your innermost thoughts and feelings. You don’t feel ready for this as your acquaintance hasn’t yet progressed to this stage.
Your association with the person is comfortable as it is but you don’t feel confident to develop it further. You feel awkward about deeper conversations and hence have been avoiding such topics. Maybe if you know more about them, you will be ready for such interactions.
4. You are comfortable enough to hang out together
As you get to know each other better and feel more sure and comfortable in each other’s presence, you may want to spend more time together. Though this is a tendency in all age groups, younger people tend to indulge in this more.
Some studies estimate that youngsters spend one-third of their waking hours in the company of their friends. Initially, you may meet up when it is convenient for both of you. But as your friendship progresses, you will hang out together even when you are busy and short of time.
You can gauge the stage of your friendship from the time spent together. Do you hang out together? How often do you hang out together? Do you spend quality time with each other? Is it as part of a group or is it only the two of you?
The answers will reveal your level of friendship.
5. You tell your secrets
Your friendship stage can be easily understood from the depth of the secret revealed. Is it something known to others as well? Have you talked about your emotions, thoughts, dreams, and goals? Is it still on a superficial level or has it gone deeper and intimate?
As your friendship progresses to higher stages, your conversations will get more and more intimate. While in the beginning, you will be satisfied with a “Hi!” and “How are you?”, it will advance to “Are you feeling ok today?” and “I can sense something is wrong with you today.”
Whether someone is a friend or acquaintance can be accurately gauged by your comfort level and ability to trust them. How deep a secret are you willing to reveal to your friend? From this, you will know whether this is a casual friend or a true friend.
6. You poke fun at each other and laugh together
Joking around doesn’t usually happen with acquaintances. As you’re unsure of how the other person will react to your jokes, you are careful around them. Again, it is the same with poking fun and acting silly. When you don’t know a person that well and they are merely an acquaintance, you may not want to take undue advantage of them.
Pulling each other’s legs and passing silly jokes about each other are things you may attempt when your friendship has crossed the casual stage. By then, you know more about each other and are sure about how they will react to these.
Another sign to look out for in your friendship is your comfort level to be yourself when you are with your friend. In the early days, you are always cautious and guarded in your dealing so that you won’t end up offending them. As you gain more information about your friend, you will feel more and more comfortable. Ultimately, you will feel confident enough to let your guard down completely and be yourself if you consider them your true friend.
7. You care much about each other
As your friendship grows, you may not be satisfied with just spending time with each other. You will be concerned about each other’s welfare and well-being. You will start caring for each other.
When you reach this level in your friendship, you can interact with your friend without judgment. You will make yourself available to them at all times of the day. You will be ready to support them unconditionally. You will be there for them whenever they need you.
If you want to find out whether someone is a friend or acquaintance, all you need to do is ask yourself how much you care for each other.
Final thoughts on friends vs acquaintance
When we talk about close friends, we always refer to how it progresses from an acquaintance to various levels of friendship. Do you know that the reverse may also happen? You can go back from close friendship to casual friendship or even to the acquaintance level.
As you have seen, the best way to gauge a friendship is by figuring out the time you spend in each other’s company and the level of comfort enjoyed. For some reason, if you start spending less time with your close friend, your level of comfort will also come down and you will go back to being mere acquaintances.
When your friend is acting distant and you are wondering about the reason for it, you just need to figure out if you are spending less time with each other. If you want to revive your friendship and go back to being close friends, all you need to do is to spend more time with your friend.