Friends vs Acquaintances


In 2015, I sent some friends and acquaintances this question –

“Friends vs Acquaintances. Who do you consider a friend or acquaintance and what are your expectations of them if you have any? Would really appreciate your feedback. Gracias”

I chose to anonymously post these responses with hopes that it will stir up conversations/ group discussions and help prioritize/put certain friendships and/or relationships into perspective if it hasn’t done so already.

Below are all of the responses I got back.

Friends are people who will have your back all the time even when you guys are fighting. Not afraid to tell you the truth even if it will make you mad. Acquaintances are your regular hang out people, have a good time… They really are not dependable… Note: we use the term friend for acquaintances as well…

A friend is someone I’ll leave around my kids and invite over. Someone who’s concerned, makes a difference in my life, we can travel the world and someone you can both count on each other. Acquaintance is as far as you can reach, nothing personal, you are here if you’re here. Won’t go out of my way to find you.

A friend is someone you are more vested in what you do for him or her. I don’t think of a friend as how they can help me but more how can I help them. Acquaintances are someone you meet and have a lower level of concern for each other.

Friend is someone I trust and have a developed relationship; an acquaintance is someone I know however there is no friendship. Only expectations I have of anyone is to be honest and truthful.

Sorry for the delay. Damola is a good friend of mine. I expect no judgement from a friend and trust. I probably have more acquaintances than anything. Too many to name. I don’t have expectations from acquaintances except respect. I have 5 very close friends, like my inner circle. I have other friends but not as tight as my inner circle. Then acquaintances.

Interesting question. What prompted you to ask? A friend my mother… To be there for me unconditionally. Acquaintance just in general people I know and don’t really have any expectations from them. De nada Amiga.

Just getting up right now and to answer your text message friends because you can always count on a friend and a true friend and a real friend will always be there for you no matter what.

I consider a friend as someone you can rely and depend on in times of trouble. Someone you can count on, while an acquaintance is just someone you coincidently meet but could eventually be your friend.

I expect a friend to be just like a sister to me. I need their trust, need them to be reliable, and be each other’s keeper. Unlike the acquaintance, I wouldn’t expect more but in most cases they tend to be more reliable, trustworthy, and sees your best even at your worst state.

Depends on the individual and the situation. Some acquaintances might be there for you more than a so-called friend. Sometimes you might expect certain things of a friend and they might disappoint you. That’s a tough question. And the answers are subject to circumstances in my opinion. There are also some acquaintances that are more like friends and others that are truly just people you see in passing. As far as expecting things… I expect to be treated with respect and shown kindness. Beyond that I try not to expect things from people.

A friend is whom you can share thoughts & opinions with and be honest with it. Someone who you care for and doesn’t matter how long it’s been since you’ve seen each other and can always pick up like you live together. Acquaintances are those you deal with on the surface, nice to one another but isn’t to open with thoughts. But either lay no expectations on anyone to avoid disappointments.

An acquaintance is someone you know less about, while someone you regard as a friend you should know more about. As for expectations, personally I won’t expect anything more from either of them. Although humans are built to be dependent on other humans and their environment for survival, I look inward more than looking outward. Sorry for the long story. Your question can’t be answered in two lines 😉

Hey Rasheedat happy new year. I would honestly say I do not have expectations from acquaintances….friends….i do have expectations of them. Above all else to have your best interest in mind. A friend is someone I can depend on and reliable.

Friend – someone I can confide in. Trust is BIG with me. So if I feel as though I can trust you with my thoughts, you’re my friend. We pick up where we left off no matter how often we see each other or talk. Acquaintance- someone I can hang with socially. We may talk regularly or once in a blue moon. I may rely on this person for business needs. But I don’t trust them with my thoughts and info about me. Hope that answers your question.

Friends are people you know more of and they know more of you as well… Can become like brothers or sisters and can go to the end of the earth and back for you! Acquaintances are people you meet and know based on a common task or obligation you share together… Examples are: mostly colleagues from work, school, a group of people you work on a project together, people you sometimes meet by chance and strike a conversation with every now and then……In reality though, acquaintances do develop into lifetime friendships… And then you will always have people that remain acquaintances or level of friendship is only to a certain point and not more.

I don’t have too many friends but I have a lot of acquaintances. The few friends I have I consider family, they are people I know that have my back no matter what. I’d expect when my friends hear negative things about me, they stand up for me before coming back to tell me what went down.. I’ll do the same too. Acquaintances are people I know on the surface.

Acquaintances know very little to nothing about my personal life. More like a give and take, something for something kind of relationship.  A friend is somebody who does for you without expecting anything in return…. somebody who knows you inside out and is not afraid to tell you the truth no matter how hard it might be.

I think acquaintances are people you meet and know in general – from work, church, school, neighborhood, etc. From the acquaintances, a few people begin to stand out. Those you have more in common with, or those who you can trust and who you care for… Sometimes it just happens, other times something happens that causes you to work more closely with someone and that helps the friendship blossom. Hope that answer suffices.

So per your question…acquaintances for me are people you relate with on a regular basis but the relationship is on the surface like co-workers, friends of friends etc. while the relationship with friends go deeper than surface level. They know more about you, you guys can reach out to each other for help and you pray for each other. Per expectations, I don’t really have any expectations from acquaintances or friends.

I think there are different kinds/levels of friendship and as friendship evolves I would expect different things from friends. I generally expect nothing from acquaintances and from most friends actually.  I expect friends to attempt to understand me, talk openly and tell me the truth.  One difference between a friend and an acquaintance is that one only calls when there’s something to talk about and the other calls you even when there’s nothing to talk about.

I will consider a friend to someone I relate with freely, someone that’s comfortable around me or someone I can chat and argue with. While I will see an acquaintance as a casual friend; someone I see or talk to ones in a blue mood or, someone that I know is just there but we aren’t close friends nor enemies. My expectation of a friend will be my friend should act as a friend open and free with one another.  My expectation towards an acquaintance is he or she will only try to please me for that moment so I don’t see his or her bad or weakness. An acquaintance I think will want to always please you cos you see and talk once in a while. But good friends won’t hide from you

An acquaintance is someone I meet through a mutual friend….We mutual & friendly when we see each other and I don’t have any expectations or expect any from them….while a friend is someone I know personally and consider a relationship with… expectations of them is to always keep it with me and have my back.

An acquaintance is someone that I know and enjoy their company but won’t label as a friend as there isn’t a certain level of trust present. A friendship to me is basically like a relationship with your partner.. You invest your time, love and care in to the person.. And for a friendship to work this effort has to go both ways. That’s whom I would consider a friend.

A friend is everything. An acquaintance is not a friend. No expectations of an acquaintance. For a friend – don’t do to me what you wouldn’t take from me.

Acquaintances: Folks you know at the surface, i.e. name, career, hi-hello, no emotional connection really. This in general would be most 80% of the folks in your circle. With the passage of seasons in one’s life, acquaintances come and go. Friends are all the above, with except these people, my relationships go skin deep. So much so that they become family. Friends are all the above, with except these people, my relationships go skin deep. So much so that they become family. My friends mean the world to me, and although you can’t truly trust anyone completely … friends should have a space in your heart. Like for my family, I’ll go to war for my friends. And if I perish … I perish.

A friend is someone that is a part of my life and an acquaintance is just someone I know. I have no expectations of anyone. Expectations are only a setup for failure, because it’s hard for people to live up to others’ expectations of them.

Hmmm friends I consider to be connected with on a personal level. People you share good news with, talk, bond, etc. Acquaintances are people who just happen to be in your life at that moment because of that circumstance. E.g work. As far as expectations, I don’t have much anymore. Expectations lead to disappointments. And you’ll be surprised when acquaintances are ready to go above and beyond for you and “friends” ….not so much.

But a real quick answer a friend I want to see on a bad day, I am open to letting them into both my good and bad sides. An acquaintance, it’s always just good times. Nothing deep and I expect nothing from them.

I believe friends are those you seek or reach out to whenever for many reasons fun, excitement, gossip, pleasure, favor etc whereas Acquaintance are those you do not know their names either in passing, at work place or a friend of a friend of another friend…. you won’t necessarily reach out to them unless you plan on moving up to the next level which is making acquaintances into friendship.
Disclaimer: This is me texting still half asleep.

A friend is one that stands by you in your darkest times. You expect nothing much from acquaintances.

A friend is someone I can confide in and spend my time with. An acquaintance is someone I say hi to and gist with when we see, we don’t spend time together and only talk and hang out when we bump into each other mostly unplanned.

A friend is a trusted individual that I can confide in and rely on for all kinds of support (moral, financial, spiritual, and emotional, e.t.c). I may not talk to him/her daily but we catch up wherever we left off. We have each other’s best interest at heart and will always bring out the best in each other. No form of envy nor jealousy, just strictly healthy competition. An acquaintance is someone known to me but with no rapport or whatsoever. I will treat the person with utmost respect but what goes on in the person’s life is not my concern. After the usual hi, bye and the unavoidable but sometimes unnecessary small talk, we go about our own business.

An acquaintance is someone you met but never developed a relationship with. You are just aware of them. You don’t necessarily talk or share anything. There are different levels of friendship, a close friend is different from a work friend etc. it’s what you put in that you should expect. I have friends that expect me to call them every day and talk but I don’t usually do that and I don’t expect that from them either; but when we do talk, we share a lot. Idk if that answers your question.

I generally don’t consider people acquaintances. If we talk, I consider you a friend. And I generally don’t have expectations of my friends, I just assume we won’t hurt each other intentionally.

A friend is someone you are close to. An acquaintance is someone you see once in a while or someone you know.

An Acquaintance is someone that I say hi and bye too. We chat for a few minutes every now and then. I don’t expect anything from then, but if they ask me for favor I’ll be more than happy to do it.

Granted that I do not have a ton of friends, my only expectation of them is respect and to treat me as they’ll like to be treated. I do not have any expectations of acquaintances, however, I find that that they oftentimes are more reliable than friends.



  1. This is an insightful article! I do agree that acquaintances are people you have slight knowledge about you however, I believe they can easily transition to become friends over time. I won’t say most acquaintances are more reliable than friends but I will say that those who desire to deepen the relationship prove their commitment to you over time by the sacrifices they are willing to make in the relationship and vice versa. One thing I do is to analyze every relationship and determine which one they will be to me; acquaintance or friend. I think either way we are able to choose which acquaintance will remain an acquaintance and which one will be promoted to friend! 🙂

    1. Thanks for your feebabck Jo. I also happen to agree with everything you’ve said especially the part about acquaintances could transition to a friend(s) overtime. We need to speak more on how you analyze those relationships early on in the relationship though. Thanks for stopping by 😉

  2. This is so interesting, I think it’s fascinating how people view their relationships and a lot of the time their responses tell you a lot about how they view themselves too. I think true, strong and reliable friendships are harder and harder to come by so when you find someone you connect with you should hold onto them for dear life! Although it is very true that some friends come into your life for a short while but others stay forever but they always leave a mark. Acquaintances however can walk in and out with little effect, I think that’s the big difference.

  3. There are so many beautiful thoughts here. The great thing is that they are all different and unique and somehow they are all the same. They all define what it means to be a friend.

  4. Such an interesting article! I feel like on a subconscious level I’ve always known the difference between friends and acquaintances but never really thought about it until I read these responses.

  5. True Friendship is very rare these days, If you find someone whom you can trust and count on,you should definitely hold on to them for rest of your life

  6. I believe that in times of great difficulty you will find out who are your friends, acquaintances, close friends and best friends. For me I have many acquaintances who like you said you can hangout but that is it, then friends who again you can hang out with and there is a bit of trust but in difficult times you know you can’t rely on them, close friends who is a handful maybe 3 or 4 and you can talk to about anything and you know you can rely on them and then you have the best friend who is there for you no matter what and is something you trust completely x

  7. There is a big difference between a friend and an acquaintance. Friends are normally around for life and acquaintances are not quite so longstanding although they can in time turn into friends too.

  8. i realised literally this year…and at my age – i have maybe 2 friends maximum …and hundreds of acquaintances who i actually thought were my friends. i think the only way to tell is through having different experiences in life – were things become apparent

  9. Time will filter which friends will remain friends or turn as acquaintances, or acquaintances will remain acquaintances, or become friends. Having trusted friends who genuinely worth to call as friends is a blessing.

  10. To me a friend is someone I would miss desperately if they were gone, or wonder about if I haven’t heard from them for a few days. An acquaintance is someone who I’ll see at the grocery and think “huh, I sure haven’t seen her for a while, she looks so pretty” In my life I have less than a handful of true friends x

  11. Very true how you know who your true friends are during tough times. I myself have very few friends however they are really true friends.

  12. I couldn’t choose my birth family but I could my friends. Like you, over time they became like family. Now, we celebrate holidays together.

  13. Good Question! I certainly think that Friends are those who would travel around the World to e with you on your special day or are like Sisters/ Brothers to you. I have plenty of acquaintances that I’ve met over the years, you friend each other on Social Media but it’s not a Friendship and I don’t expect anything from them.

  14. Great question! I have hundreds of acquaintances and only a handful of friends. To me an acquaintance is someone I can ring up and say I need you, and they will be over as fast as possible.

  15. I have not many friends because I believe that you cannot bond with so many people the same way. I love spending time with my friends and the conversation is so natural, I do not have to put any effort in it.

  16. That is a good question. I have what I call “best friends,” “friends,” and “acquaintances.” Best friends are like family. Distance is not an issue. You may see each other only once or twice a year, but you are bound together in your hearts. Friends are people whom which you have contact almost everyday, but the relationship is only superficial. Acquaintances are people who you got to meet in passing, no bond exists, just a casual greeting or smile when you meet each other on the street.

  17. Interesting thoughts on the difference between friends and acquaintances and all very true. I do have a lot of acquaintances and I even enjoy hanging out with them, but like you said, the are not dependable. Friends are always fewer and those few who genuinely are concerned about me.

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