We meet new people all the time, but actually becoming friends with them? That takes a little more work. New research looks into how much time it takes to actually form a solid friendship and it’s probably more than you think.
According to the study, the ideal formula for friendship includes 11 interactions that last for an average of three hours and four minutes and happen over a period of five and a half months. In total, that time comes to around 34 hours of socializing. Sure, it sounds like a lot of time, but becoming besties is worth it. The study also reveals that people say being there for each other during difficult times is the most important quality in a best friend and that everyone supposedly has five close “shoulder to cry on” friends.
The research was analyzed by Oxford University professor Robin Dunbar, who’s known for creating “Dunbar’s number” - a theory that suggests the limit to the number of people we can maintain stable social relationships with. The anthropologist and evolutionary psychologist claims most people are capable of having around 150 meaningful contacts, with a tight circle of five close friends who are “loved ones,” 15 “good friends,” 50 friends, 150 meaningful contacts, 500 acquaintances and 15-hundred people you can recognize. “Friendships are the single most important factor influencing both our psychological and our physical health and wellbeing,” Dunbar explains. “This makes finding and maintaining friendships all the more important.”