The 34 hours that can turn an acquaintance into a good friend

Need to make a new friend? Then you have to put in 34 hours effort to cement a solid relationship with a pal, experts say

  • People require 2,040 minutes to change from acquaintance into a good friend
  • The research was analysed by Oxford University Professor Robin Dunbar
  • It revealed each person supposedly has five close ‘shoulder-to-cry-on’ friends

We all have friends we’ve known for many years, and some we’ve known for just a few weeks.

But how long does it take before an acquaintance becomes a real buddy? Around 34 hours is the answer, according to experts. 

A study of more than 2,000 individuals has revealed we require 2,040 minutes of commitment to make that change.

How long does it take before an acquaintance becomes a real buddy? Around 34 hours is the answer, according to experts

The research was analysed by Oxford University Professor Robin Dunbar – best known for formulating Dunbar’s number, a theory suggesting the limit to the number of people with whom we can maintain stable social relationships.

The analysis revealed that the ultimate formula for friendship involves 11 interactions, each lasting on average three hours and four minutes, over the period of five and a half months.

It also revealed that each person supposedly has five close ‘shoulder-to-cry-on’ friends – with ‘being there for each other during the hard times’ ranking as the most important quality in a best friend.

And two-thirds of those who took part in the survey by menthol sweet brand Fisherman’s Friend said they were actively looking to add to their inner circle and need a good number of friends to feel content. 

Professor Dunbar said: ‘Friendships are the single most important factor influencing both our psychological and our physical health and wellbeing.

‘This study shows how two-thirds of us have a best friend who provides those moments of emotional support and advice when we need it most. This makes finding friends and maintaining friendships all the more important.’

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