Are you a Leslie Knope looking for your Ann Perkins? Here’s how long it takes to make friends, according to new research
Anyone over the age of 22 probably knows that making friends as an adult can be HARD. Like, really hard. Why is it so difficult? When we were kids, it was so much easier to go up to someone and say, “I like you. Let’s be friends.” Then you’d spend the entire summer together performing All That skits or perfecting the dance from “Oops!…I Did It Again.” (Wait, was that just me?) And while “they” say it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at something, we’ve never known how long it takes to make friends — until now.
As it turns out, new research from the University of Kansas has answered that very question. And, unfortunately, making friends takes quite a bit longer than we thought.
A study headed by Professor Jeffrey Hall and published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships tells us exactly how long it takes to make friends:
"It takes roughly 50 hours of time together to move from mere acquaintance to casual friend, 90 hours to go from that stage to simple 'friend' status, and more than 200 hours before you can consider someone your close friend."
You hear that? That’s the sound of tears from the Leslie Knopes of the world who just want to find their very own Ann Perkins.
Truthfully, the study makes a lot of sense, and it might explain why forming meaningful friendships as an adult is so difficult.
A 24/7 work culture means we’re busier than ever. And if you have kids, it’s even harder to find the free time necessary to forge a new bond. Who has that many hours to spare?
But instead of being sad over the hard truth of how long it takes to make friends, let’s consider just how important friendships really are.
Science has shown that having friends is very beneficial to your health. Friends can help you live longer, keep your mind sharper, and help you navigate the inevitable hard times in life. Considering all these advantages, it definitely seems worth it to invest the hours necessary to find that close friend you’ve been looking for — and deserve.
"We have to put that time in," Hall said. "You can't snap your fingers and make a friend. Maintaining close relationships is the most important work we do in our lives — most people on their deathbeds agree."
So while it’s a bit discouraging to learn how much time it takes to make friends — especially when you remember how easy and natural it once was — we think it’s pretty obvious that it’s worth it in the long run.
Spending 200+ hours hanging out and watching Parks and Recreation reruns while creating a meaningful bond that might last the rest of our lives? We’re game.