How to Become Friends With an Acquaintance

Be the one to initiate activities together if you want to turn an acquaintance into a friend.
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You've gotten to know a girl from your biology class pretty well and would like to become friends -- but you aren't sure how to move beyond just being an acquaintance. Friendships don't develop overnight, so don't expect the two of you to be best buddies by next week. However, if you give the relationship your time and attention, it could easily develop into the friendship you desire.

1 Initiate Contact

Turn an acquaintance into a friend by taking the initiative to make plans with her, advises psychologist Marie Hartwell-Walker in the "Psych Central" article "Turning Acquaintances Into Friends." Learn about interesting art exhibits, check the movie listings for fun new titles and keep on top of which bands are playing at your local venue. Plan to spend time after events chatting over tea or coffee so that you have a chance to connect and learn more about each other.

2 Do Favors

Friends are generous and do favors for each other, Hartwell-Walker says. Show your acquaintance from biology class that you would like to become her friend by offering to pick up her assignments when she is ill. If she seems overwhelmed about an upcoming test, ask if having a study buddy would help. If you find out she is a fan of a particular musician, keep an eye out for magazines featuring that artist and clip the articles to bring in for her. Be the type of friend that you would want in return -- generous and considerate.

3 Show Interest

Listen when an acquaintance talks, make good eye contact, and show an interest if you would like to become friends, according to the "Helpguide" article "How to Make Friends." Ask open-ended questions to learn more about the other person such as, "How long have you lived in your neighborhood?" or "How do you spend your time on the weekends?" Try to find mutual interests -- and turn those into potential activities you can do together. For example, if you both are avid skiers, a joint outing is the next natural step.

4 Personal Disclosure

Friendships develop when there is a deeper level of connection and interaction, as discussed by psychology professors Eliot R. Smith and Diane M. Mackie in the book "Social Psychology." As you get to know your acquaintance better, share your thoughts and feelings. For example, if your classmate is having problems with her boyfriend, share a story about how you handled a similar difficult situation in your own life. As the friendship grows, it will become natural to share more personal stories about different aspects of your lives.

Arlin Cuncic has been writing about mental health since 2007, specializing in social anxiety disorder and depression topics. She served as the managing editor of the "Journal of Attention Disorders" and has worked in a variety of research settings. Cuncic holds an M.A. in clinical psychology.