6 stages of friendship

6 Levels of Friendships + Quotes

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The 6 levels of friendship are crucial because they provide a framework for building and developing healthy relationships. When we try to rush through these levels, we run the risk of creating unrealistic expectations and getting hurt.

It’s important to remember that true friendships take time to develop and require effort from both parties involved. Rushing into a friendship can result in arguments, misunderstandings, and hurt feelings that could be avoided with more intentional and patient effort. Spending unlimited time on the phone and hanging out with someone you don’t know well can result in arguing, hurt feelings, and misunderstandings. 

By taking the time to get to know someone’s personality, character, beliefs, temperament, and compatibility, we can avoid rushing into intimacy before we’re ready. This allows us to build a solid foundation of trust and respect, which is essential for a healthy and long-lasting friendship.


Be slow to fall into friendship, but when you are in, continue firm and constant.”  ― Socrates

6 Levels of Friendships

1. Stranger

A stranger is someone that you don’t know anything about at all.

  • no point of connection
  • wouldn’t recognize them again
  • you don’t tell any intimate info to

2. Acquaintance

An acquaintance is someone that you know slightly. Usually, this type of friend is someone that you see at work, church, or your regular stops such as a coffee shop, gym, etc. There is no deep emotional involvement in an acquaintance friendship. These type of friendships are purely based on the environment and there is no intimacy.

  • you may or may not know each other’s name
  • there is no effort for deeper friendship
  • your point of connection is usually the location or mutual friend
  • you withhold sharing intimate details about your life
  • you may have small discussions at your regular places of visitation

3. Casual Friend

A casual friend is someone that you know more intimately than an acquaintance, but it’s still not a super close bond. It’s important to enjoy the casual friendship stage because it allows you to see what you and the other person have in common. Often we miss seeing how incompatible we are to someone because we jump too quickly to the intimate close friend category with a casual friend.

  • you enjoy sharing your interests and engage in similar activities
  • doesn’t know your deepest secrets and fears
  • you tend to keep the discussions light
  • you usually stick to doing the same things together
  • you’re getting to know their personality and humor
  • you’re deciding if you are compatible
  • allows time to see if there are red flags
  • not someone that you would call in an emotional or physical crisis
  • it is acceptable and healthy to have large gaps of time between hangouts

In the early stages of friendship, don’t ever feel pressured to give someone intimacy. Intimacy and trust are built over time. Usually, people that wants to jump from casual to intimate relationships immediately are struggling with codependence and attachment issues. Take as much time as you need to get the know the person, so you can avoid toxic friendships.

“Evaluating the benefits and drawbacks of any relationship is your responsibility. You do not have to passively accept what is brought to you. You can choose.” ― Deborah Day

4. Friend

In most charts, the regular “friend” isn’t there, but it’s a crucial stage when I’m categorizing friendships. To me, a friend is someone that could one day be close friend. Or, that I talk to more than lightly, but I don’t consider them super close.

This is a great stage to consider if you want deeper intimacy with a friend as well. At this stage, you should be testing the waters to see how comfortable you are with sharing your intimate thoughts, issues, and feelings. Never rush into giving someone your heart when you’re not sure they can take care of it properly. And the truth is, you may not be able to kindly deal with their issues… So, it works both ways!

  • you can have a great time with this type of friend
  • you can call this friend for advice or to accompany you to events
  • you’re comfortable with them, but you don’t share every intimate details of your life
  • it Is acceptable to have large gaps of time between speaking to them
  • you’re still determining how compatible you are
  • you are checking to see if you can handle their pet peeves and emotional triggers
  • you’re still evaluating how comfortable and safe you feel with your intimate treasures
  • you evaluate how they treat and speak to others

In this stage of friendship, take note of everything. How do they respond when you share a hurtful story? Do you feel safe? Do you feel heard? Do intimate conversations feel like a battle? Do you feel judged? How well do they take your advice? Are you both struggling to communicate? These all all things you want to evaluate before you begin to permanently start sharing your secrets and the behind the scenes of your life.

Related Article: 83 Quotes About Selfish, Jealous, Fake Friends (+ Images)

5. Close Friend or Good Friend

A close friend is someone that you trust with some of your life secrets and issues. You can both connect and you feel comfortable, but you both aren’t able to make it to the best friend category for your own UNIQUE reasons. In my life, a close friend remains such because I don’t have the best friend magic spark with them.

  • you still limit certain details in your life
  • you may enjoy their company, but you don’t crave it
  • you don’t call them immediately when something happens in your life
  • you may not be 100% compatible, but you work hard to keep the relationship going
  • you go out of your way to make them feel emotionally secure with you
  • both friends consider each other close friends
  • has consistently proved to be loyal and trustworthy
  • you like how they treat other people

“When you choose your friends, don’t be short-changed by choosing personality over character.” ― W.Somerset Maugham

6. Best Friend

A best friend is the ultimate form of sisterhood or brotherhood between you and a friend. It’s important to note that you may consider someone a best friend, but the feeling may not be mutual. Ultimately, A best friend is unique to what YOU consider a best friend. However, having a conversation with your friend about how you feel can help clarify the relationship and set expectations.

For me, the category of best friend is sacred. A best friend is someone who you have a deep soul connection with. They understand you on a level that feels almost spiritual. Even when they don’t fully understand, their ability to listen and empathize makes you feel truly loved. In my experience, these types of friendships often skip the acquaintance phase and jump right into close friendship.

But it’s important to remember that even your best friend has flaws and unhealed pain. However, a true best friend is committed to changing and growing in order to avoid causing you or others harm. This level of commitment to growth and self-improvement is what sets a best friend apart from other close friendships.

  • they fit your criteria of a good person
  • this friend is basically like family
  • has proved to be loyal and consistent
  • you can be yourself 100% with no filter
  • you have a deep desire to have them in your life forever
  • you have a deep desire to learn how to be a better friend to them
  • you always try to give them the benefit of the doubt
  • both friends feel that deep best friend connection
  • you’re not selfish with them, you put their needs before your own
  • you’re comfortable exploring relational issues and solving them together


Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are friendship categories unique to different people? Yes! I think most of us would create similar ones, but how we decide who fits into what category would probably differ. I would suggest you write your own categories for friendships and it will help you to have proper boundaries in your relationships.
  • How do I develop deeper intimacy with a friend? You can initiate hanging out and further conversations. But if you feel resistance, try not to push. Pushing for more can scare the other person. It’s okay to clearly express that you are looking to build a deeper friendship. Also ask the friend what their expectation is, so you can both be on the same page. Too often, the expectations are different and it leads to disappointment. Spell it out quickly before you put unhealthy expectations on the person or friendship.
  • What should I do when someone wants deeper friendship with me? Don’t ever feel pressured to jump into any category of friendship with someone. If you’re not feeling it, you’re just not feeling it. Also, if you are feeling pressured that is a red flag. Defining the friendship category is a great discussion to have with your close friend. This discussion will test the weight of your friendship and if will last if they don’t get what they want.

Related Article: Am I A Toxic Friend?

Levels of Friendships Quotes

  • “Close friends are truly life’s treasures. Sometimes they know us better than we know ourselves. With gentle honesty, they are there to guide and support us, to share our laughter and our tears. Their presence reminds us that we are never really alone.” ― Vincent van Gogh
  • “Cutting people out of your life is easy, keeping them in is hard.” ― Walter Dean Myers
  • “In prosperity our friends know us; in adversity we know our friends.” ― John Churton Collins
  • “I don’t suppose you have many friends. Neither do I. I don’t trust people who say they have a lot of friends. It’s a sure sign that they don’t really know anyone.” ― Carlos Ruiz Zafón
  • “A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself.” ― Jim Morrison
  • “A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked.” ― Bernard Meltzer
  • “One friend with whom you have a lot in common is better than three with whom you struggle to find things to talk about.” ― Mindy Kaling
  • “Two things you will never have to chase: True friends & true love.” ― Mandy Hale
  • “Friends are honest with each other. Even if the truth hurts.” ― Sarah Dessen

“Be slow in choosing a friend, slower in changing.” ― Benjamin Franklin

Christina Daniels is the founder of Adorned Heart. She is devoted to learning about human behavior and its affects on society. She received a B.A. in Psychology and M.A. in Public Policy. She hopes to use her life and academic experience to empower & heal the hearts of women!

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