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Relationships

This Is How Many Hours It Takes To Form A Best Friendship

Forging a bond takes how long???

Dorothy had Blanche and Rose. Rachel and Ross had Monica and Chandler and Phoebe and Joey. Even in TV land, writers recognize the value of friendship.

Unfortunately, as you grow older, the whole friendship thing doesn’t work out quite as well as it used to. Kids, jobs and life often get in the way of forging and keeping real connections. The urgency I felt in my 20s, when every overture from a new beau required a 30-minute analysis with a friend, is gone. Or there’s just not time for it.

But according to a new study, time is the one thing you have to put in if you want to build a true best friendship.

In a paper published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, Jeffrey Hall, a professor of communication studies, defined how long it takes to make a friend, and how long it takes for someone to typically make their way through the various stages of friendship.

He was building on previous research that says most people are genuinely close to only about five people — your posse of best friends. People also may have about 15 people they call friends, although the brain can’t really process having relationships with more than 150 people overall.

So how many hours does it take to make a friend? Hall says that the total may not be the same for everyone, but there are some generalizations to be made.

— To form a casual friendship, people need to spend about 40 to 60 hours together in the first few weeks after they meet.

— To move from a casual friend to an actual friend takes about 80 to 100 hours of time together.

— To create a bestie bond takes about 200 or more hours of time spent together.

For the first part of the study, Hall and his colleagues evaluated 355 survey responses from adults who had moved within the last six months and who were trying to make new friends. They were asked about the people they’d met and how long it took relationships to form. They also were asked about the number of hours they’d spent with people and how they’d rate the relationship.

For the second part of the study, Hall surveyed 112 college freshman over a nine-week period. The students were asked to identify two new people they’d met. Then, during the study, Hall examined how these new relationships progressed.

In the end, though, Hall emphasized that it’s really the quality of time spent together that is key.

“When you spend time joking around, having meaningful conversations, catching up with one another, all of these types of communication episodes contribute to speedier friendship development,” Hall told Psychology Today. “You have to invest. When we express to another person that, ‘Whatever is happening in your life I want to bring into the present of my relationship with you,’ we cultivate closeness with that person.

“Consider how many people you don’t bother to ask,” Hall continued. “You wander into the office and you say hey, that’s it.”

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