When you were a kid, making friends was so easy. You could bond over your mutual love of the sandbox and find your BFF in no time. But as an adult, fitting in new friendships can be a challenge, especially when work and family need to come first.
Good news: A new study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships has taken the mystery out of making those elusive adult pals. They’ve discovered just how long it takes before you’re out of that awkward getting-to-know-each-other phase and onto the good stuff (like binge-watching Queer Eye and drinking rosé on Friday night).
According to researchers, it takes about 50 hours of time together to go from being acquaintances to casual friends, and approximately 90 hours before you feel comfortable upgrading them to “friend” status. Finally, it takes more than 200 hours before considering someone a close friend or best friend.
Interestingly, the study found that while hours spent together was a strong predictor of friendship closeness, this was not the case if that time was spent at work or school, since these people are typically not interacting by choice. (Sorry, Katie from accounting.)
“We have to put that time in,” explains lead study author Jeffrey Hall. “You can’t snap your fingers and make a friend.”