50 hrs to make a new friend is a lot of time, and that only takes you to the casual friend level. According to Dr. Jeffrey A Hall, who studied how long it takes to make a new friend says, “You can’t snap your fingers and make a friend. You have to put the time in.”
So how long is 50hrs anyway?
Well, it's the equivalent of your average work week or a two day marathon. But, to really put this into context, let's think about it this way. If you spend one hour per week with someone it would take an entire year for that person to become a casual friend. Considering what can happen between zero and the 50hrs it takes to make a new friend, this is a lot harder than we thought.
"If you spent one hour per week with someone it would take an entire year for you to reach the 50hrs to make a new friend milestone."
"To make new friends you have to voluntarily choose to spend time with that person of your own free will."
So then making friends in the workplace should be easy because of how much time we spend there right? Not necessarily. While having a friend in the workplace can make your job more fun and less stressful, the workplace is often a competitive environment and we do not choose the people we work with, and it turns out that’s a really important factor for making new friends. To make new friends you have to voluntarily choose to spend time with that person of your own free will. It’s not to say that you can’t make friends at work, but for coworkers to truly become real friends, you need to meet them outside of the workplace too. Alright, so clearly there is more to this than just spending a bunch of time with someone.
What else do I need to know?
Well, don’t get discouraged is the next bit of advice. It turns out that with each level of friendship achieved it gets easier to progress to the next level, because you naturally begin to spend more and more time together. The increased amount of time together helps propel you to the next level of friendship. So just like any other journey, it's the first few steps which are the hardest.
"It gets easier as you progress, because you naturally begin to spend more and more time together."
Ok, so how do I get started?
And that’s such a great question! Because, it turns out, you can’t force people to spend time with you. As mentioned above, one of the most basic criteria to making a new friend is that you have to willingly choose to spend time with this person. The first thing you need to do is make it a priority to spend time with new people. Consciously set aside time each week dedicated to the task of making a new friend.
"Make it a priority to spend time with potential new friends."
Once you've decided you are serious about making some new friends, don't wait for people to extend the offer. Start inviting them to hangout right away. While it can be scary to make the first move, Dr Jeffrey A Hall says that making an effort to extend the offer will improve your chances dramatically. Also, there are a few things you can do to ensure your invitation is well received. But the basics of inviting people to hang out include: be specific, be direct and tell them everything about the planned activity you are inviting them to.
Be Consistent & Persistent.
If you are truly interested in cultivating a friendship, continue to initiate spending time together and occasionally switch up the context. Just one invitation is not going to get you there. You will need to continue to set aside time, and continue to ask someone to spend time with you in order to reach that 50hr mark to make a casual friend.
What you do together counts.
Going back to the work example, if just spending time together was enough to make a new friend. Everyone you work with would be your best friend! But that's not the case. The best way to signal to someone that you want to be friends, is to continually change up the activities and times where you spend time together. For example: If you work together, go out for lunch or a drink in the evening.
Also, because it takes 50hrs to make a new friend, the length of time you spend in each interaction is important. So consider asking people to do things that take more time than just going for coffee. For example a day trip to a nearby town or a hike which lasts longer than an hour. It's also recommended to carpool to/from the activity as well. Not only is it better for the environment, but it will increase your odds of making a new friend!
We hope we've made it just a little easier for you to make some new friends. While it's not easy, it is most definitely achievable. You just need to invest your time and keep a positive spirit. Knowing that the investment will payoff because good friends improve our health, our happiness and our longevity. So stay focused, overcome your fears and you will be handsomely rewarded.