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How to Become Friends with an Acquaintance

by Alizah Scherr

Friends are people with whom we have built a strong bond over time and have grown to love and care about. Without friendship, we would not receive much emotional support and life would feel like a very lonely place. A study conducted by Jill Cyranowski and colleagues and published in a 2013 issue of Health Psychology confirms that social relationships affect our overall physical health and well-being. All friends start off as acquaintances. True friendship takes time to grow, nurture and secure.

Speak to the acquaintance with whom you want to become friends whenever you get a chance. The more communication two people have, the more likely they will be to continue contact with each other. Even superficial conversation such as talking about the weather is a form of communication and should not be discounted.

Joke around with your acquaintance. Not only will using humor highlight your witty side, it will allow the acquaintance to begin to associate you with traits such as happiness and laughter. This positive association will increase the amount of time that the acquaintance wants to spend with you.

Start mentioning your likes and dislikes. This will give the two of you an opportunity to find things in common. Even small similarities can help to forge a bond, and also serve as topics for future conversations.

Talk more in-depth about what you have in common. Whatever similarities you have found - a hobby, a fear, a life event - begin to speak about them in greater detail. This will open the door to forging an emotional bond.

Tell your acquaintance that you would like to get together socially at some point. Letting someone know that you are interested sends the signal that you want a friendship. If your acquaintance is also interested, this overture will be well received.

Go out socially with your acquaintance. Meet up in a non-formal setting where the two of you will have time to learn more about each other. The more opportunities you have to spend time together, the greater the chance to get know your acquaintance at a more intimate level.

Call your new friend sporadically to check in. Make sure that you keep up the communication. People feel more positively toward others who show concern and empathy. Frequent communication will also help safeguard the friendship from dissolving, which can happen more easily before a strong emotional bond is formed.

Invite your new friend to get together with some of your other friends and family members. Integrating a person into your world will help decrease the feeling that you are separate entities and further enhance the emotional bond.

Tell your friend that you appreciate the friendship. People like to feel that they are liked, and telling your friend this may provide the opportunity for your friend to express similar feelings to you.

About the Author

Alizah Scherr has worked as a professional school counselor in a public school system for more than five years. She has a master's degree in education and is certified as a counselor.

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