How To Tell When Your “Uni Friend” Can Be Considered A “Real Friend”

Don't be scared to make the transition.

Want more Junkee in your life? Sign up to our newsletter, and follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook so you always know where to find us.

Did you meet someone in the first few weeks of uni and really hit it off? Someone you’ve been sharing memes with, swapping observations about the tutor and rolling your eyes when someone in your class answers yet another question with “well, actually…”

You think they’re great! They’re a good uni friend. A good pal to share the 45-60 minutes of a tute with. In fact, you kind of wish you guys were something more. Not in a “I wanna bone them” kind of way, but in a “come to my house and knit socks for puppies” kind of way.

But making that transition from uni friend or acquaintance, into real-life friend is a tough one. It’s awkward. There’ll be growing pains, and learning the names of their cousins, and testing their limit when it comes to NSFW jokes. It’s like dating, but worse.

A researcher at the University of Kansas wanted to know just how long it would take before an acquaintance became a fully-fledged friend. So without further ado, here’s the science behind friendship.

Friendship By The Hour

Jeffrey Hall, the author of ‘How many hours does it take to make a friend?’, broke friendship down into the amount of hours you need to spend with someone in order to be considered “close”.

He discovered that it takes 50 hours of hanging out with someone for them to be considered a casual friend. 90 hours of hanging out time makes them a friend, and 200 hours makes you “close”.

So if you’re still in the sort-of-awkward phase, don’t worry. You’re sure to make it to the 200 hour mark soon.

It Doesn’t Always Work Out

However, there are exceptions. You can’t just rope someone into spending time with you and force them to be your friend. (If this was true, me and Kristen Bell would be ride or dies by now.)

According to Hall, there’s a difference between quality friendship time and “closed-system relationships”. The latter includes co-workers, neighbours, annoying classmates, etc — basically, anyone you’re not too keen to spend a large amount of time with.

Further research also suggests that if you haven’t made the switch from acquaintance to friend within three or four months after meeting, you probably never will. Have you gone the whole semester trying to organise study dates but you’re getting nowhere? It’s probably a sign that you should let it go.

Making Friends In Times Of Change

As Hall explained to The Cut, we’re more likely to make connections with people during times of change. “There is very good evidence that friendships are more likely to develop during times immediately after geographic [re]location or entering into a new environment, like a new job or starting school,” he says.

So when you start a new unit, you change degrees or you start volunteering with a society, you should look around for potential buddies. These are the times you’re most likely going to connect with someone, so you may as well make it count.

(Lead image: Community/NBC)

h/t: The Cut