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Awkward Acquaintances

Now the title of this post is a handful to type. I'm not sure if it was intentional or just a couple of words that so happened to be really hard to put together.

I have a few questions that I never found an answer to in 25 years of life:

1. How do you cross that line between acquaintances and friends?
2. How can you tell when a person is a friend and an acquaintance?
3. When is an acquaintance not a stranger, and a friend not an acquaintance?

I ask these because I was recently in a situation where I felt like that acquaintance/friendship line was crossed, but I'm not really sure about it. This person I met (who shall remain nameless) has shared with me some of the burdens in her life while I listened intently trying to get to know her from that hour that we got to talk -- well, she did most of the talking anyway.

Does that make me her friend, because I've given time to know her somewhat and was able to (I think) give her some comfort by listening? Can I consider her a friend because I gave her that time?

All the friends I have now are mostly a product of structured/environmental circumstance -- we went to school together, we worked together, we met in the same organization, etc. However I don't have friends yet that came from being total stranger (okay, I guess I've had girlfriends that were first total strangers, but we were introduced somehow by my existing friends at that time). But what about that person in the elevator that you just had a short conversation with a couple times before and at some point later became a longer conversation about her life and what's troubling her? Do we become friends if that conversation happens again and we gain more insight into each other's lives? How do you know when that division between acquaintance and friend has been crossed?

I can't be more specific about things but I am a little confused about this situation. I guess I should be in more of these situations to be able to get the hang of making acquaintances and/or friends more -- or at least do a good job with few attempts first then get better at it over time.

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