Friends are an important part of a healthy and satisfying life.

How to Become Friends With an Acquaintance

by Eliza Martinez

It is normal to have many more acquaintances than close friends. An acquaintance is found simply by meeting a new person and speaking briefly to her. A friendship generally requires much more time and effort to form and maintain. However, every friendship has to have a beginning. Having close friends gives you an outlet to share good and bad times with. Making the effort to deepen a relationship with a current acquaintance into a firm friendship can pay off for both of you.

Listen, then follow up with the person. If she mentioned a new book she started reading or a movie she wanted to see, ask her about it the next time you see each other. Knowing a little bit about her life gives you the chance to ask questions and find out more as you get to know each other. Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker, a licensed psychologist and marriage and family therapist writing for PsychCentral, points out that people remember when someone shows interest in them and what they say. Remembering details and getting to know a person helps you build a relationship with her.

Initiate contact. Don't wait around for an acquaintance to call you. Pick up the phone and invite her to dinner, a museum exhibit or concert. Many people are uncomfortable making the first move in a friendship, so stepping up and asking an acquaintance to spend time with you can jump start your budding relationship.

Find common ground. Maybe you both enjoy documentaries or eating in Mexican restaurants. This gives you something to talk about, and it also presents the opportunity for you to spend more time together.

Practice good conversational skills. Show interest in what she says and maintain good eye contact.This makes an acquaintance feel like you're interested in her and gives you the chance to talk and get to know each other better.

Invite an acquaintance to a social gathering or ask her to join a group you belong to. Bringing an acquaintance into the fold of a group of your friends lets you converse and learn more about each other in a less intense and more neutral setting. Next time you go out for drinks or dancing, invite your acquaintance to join you. Or, if you hold a monthly book club or host a mom's night out every couple of weeks, invite your acquaintance to tag along to see if she wants to join. Spending time together participating in a mutually enjoyed activity helps you to create memories together, which can help deepen your relationship into a friendship.

Do a favor for the person you'd like to be your friend. Perhaps your acquaintance needs last minute child care or a ride to church. Offer up your services as a way to get to know each other better. You'll feel good about helping out, and your acquaintance will feel like you would make a good friend.

About the Author

Eliza Martinez has written for print and online publications. She covers a variety of topics, including parenting, nutrition, mental health, gardening, food and crafts. Martinez holds a master's degree in psychology.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images