How To Turn Acquaintances Into Friends

Many of us can rattle off a handful of acquaintances we have right now without missing a beat. But when it comes to close friends that understand us, our mental gears kick into overdrive trying to find a name.*

So, how can we convert these new acquaintances into old friends? Well we made a quick and easy checklist for you:

  1. Before you get started remember to manage your expectations. Set expectations too low and you may never be willing to put yourself out there. Set them too high and you may just end up making people uncomfortable or being disappointed by the results.
  2. Work on being the kind of person that people would want to be friends with. Just think, “who would be my ideal friend?” and work your way back from there. What would this ideal friend look for in you? Example: if your ideal friend is outdoorsy and likes cooking, maybe consider dusting off the old cookbook (i.e. take interest in their interests).
  3. Display your value as a person. While this may sound similar to the previous point there is a key difference. While it was previously mentioned that you should take interest in the interests of your acquaintances, displaying your value is a more general step. Generally, there are traits that people value more than others; examples would be things like being punctual, being confident, having a good sense of humor, being friends with Elon Musk, having an interesting job, seeming trustworthy, being well-read or well-traveled, etc.
  4. Stay positive and refrain from flooding them with stories about your own problems. People more often than not gravitate towards those who are positive. This doesn’t mean never bring up anything that’s not sunshine and rainbows, but constantly complaining about your dog pooping on the carpet is gonna bring anyone’s mood down.
  5. Start things simple. Instead of inviting Brian from work to hike across the Alps with you, maybe see if he’d be interested in playing a game of basketball or doing something you know he already likes to do regularly. The great thing about people is they have all kinds of hobbies and interests. Whether it’s knitting, going to the gym, playing card games like Black Spot Cards, cooking Korean BBQ, everyone has something. Brian’s a cool guy, he’ll have something fun going on. Or find something you like doing that Brian seems interested in.
  6. Learn about them, and let them learn about you if they show interest. Sharing personal information is a big part of bonding with others. Careful with this though. Oversharing is definitely a thing. If you want them to walk away thinking you’re great, let them talk about things that excite them; try to talk roughly 30-40% of a conversation, and cede to them the rest. Showing that you care about and remember details about them can mean a lot to people.
  7. Maintain consistent interactions with them. You don’t need to be joined at the hip, but getting together whenever’s convenient works just as well. Not only does spending more time with people get them to like you more, but it’s also a boost to the mental health of all involved.**
  8. Profit and repeat. If you and Brian are entering Korean BBQ competitions on the weekends we think it’s safe to say that you’ve successfully acquired a friend. Have fun you crazy kids!


*Source for loneliness

**Source for health benefits

Leave a comment