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Study Shows How to Move from Casual Friend to Close Friend

Dr. Jeffrey Hall, a communications professor at the University of Kansas, recently published research about the relationship between time invested in a friendship and friendship closeness. In general, Hall found that it took 40-60 hours to form a casual friendship. Moving from casual friend to friend required between 80-100 hours, and moving from friend to good/best friend took between 160-200 hours. Time spent together was a key predictor of friendship closeness, but the type of activity mattered as well. For example, more time spent at work or in class together actually predicted lower closeness, but more time spent hanging out without an agenda predicted higher closeness.

The kind of talk friends engaged was also important. Small talk (about things like pets, sports, current events, TV/music/movies) predicted lower closeness over time. But striving talk (which Hall defined as “catching up by talking about events that have occurred since you last saw each other,” “Talking about what’s up/what happened to you during the day,” “Serious conversation where both of you are involved in the conversation,” “Playful talk to have fun or release tension,” or “Talking in ways that express love and give attention and affection”) predicted greater closeness.

Possible Preaching Angles: 1) Assimilation; Church; Small groups – Time and energy spent in meaningful conversation will help people become connected and have a sense of belonging in the group; 2) Prayer; Fellowship with God – Since closeness in a relationship requires time and deep conversation, then the same is true in our relationship with God.


J.A. Hall, “How many hours does it take to make a friend?” Journal of Social and Personal Relationships (March 2018)

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