I take friendship very seriously. To me, it is essentially the same thing as a romantic relationship, just without all the physical intimacy. Friends share secrets, go on grand adventures, and trust each other to keep the other out of trouble. So, it comes down to the age-old question: how do you know if someone is a friend or simply an acquaintance?
“Friendship is essentially the same thing as a romantic relationship.”
I see friendship as a wide spectrum. It can range anywhere from your best friend in the whole world to the person you say “hi” to in passing. Personally, I use a 6-tier system that helps me determine the level of closeness.
- Tier 1 – Significant Others
- Tier 2 – Best Friends
- Tier 3 – “One of my best friends” but not a Best Friend
- Tier 4 – Good Friends
- Tier 5 – Casual Friends
- Tier 6 – Acquaintances
Top Tier Friends (1, 2, and 3) are ride-or-die, and Mid-Tier Friends (4 and 5) are a little less serious. It all boils down to expectations: trust and loyalty. The higher the tier, the harder I hold you to those expectations.
Though, for the sake of this blog post, let’s focus on the difference between Casual Friends and Acquaintances.
I discovered that the best way to tell if someone is a friend or an acquaintance is to ask yourself: “Would I invite them to lunch, and not feel awkward if they said yes?”
You might be wondering why I chose lunch, specifically. There are no distractions or social crutches to fall back on. It’s not like you’re drinking or at a party with a whole bunch of other people. It’s a quiet, sober, small group event.
If you enjoy their company and feel confident that you could hold a conversation that veered outside of small talk, you might consider them a friend. If you are itching to ask someone else to join you to ease the tension, they might be an acquaintance.
“Would I invite them to lunch, and not feel awkward if they said yes?”
There is an obvious flip side to this test: “Would I feel disappointed if they said no?”
It’s always hard to tell if someone you consider a friend thinks of you as one, too. The only way to figure it out is to either ask, or to make an effort to foster that relationship and see if they reciprocate. If they do? BOOM! Beautiful friendship.
Now, as an adult, I find that most people I know fall into the “Acquaintance” category. This is totally normal! You don’t have to share secrets and go on grand adventures with everyone you know. Intimacy and relationships are built over time. So, whether it’s one day or a lifetime, it’s always nice to have a lunch buddy.
Hannah Raulston is a YouTube vlogger who has a passion for travel and storytelling. She is an avid movie collector, and works as a voice actor, writer, and video producer making commercials and corporate videos in the Cleveland/Akron area. You can check out her YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/HannahSeries.