The difference between acquaintances and friends
In life you have friends, and then you have acquaintances, and the difference is one that is important to note. Most of the people you will call "friends" will only actually ever be acquaintances. So why do we call these people friends? Well because they are friendly. This does not mean they are someone that you have fun with, can talk to, open up to, etc.
So, let's take a look at the difference:
Acquaintances usually have varied interests, and most of the time, while they show interest in your interests, they may not respect your choices. Friends on the other hand usually have areas of common interest, and they respect opinions and choices, even if they disagree with them.
Activities with acquaintances are usually limited and informal. These are things like company parties where no one did the inviting, or going to a ball game with a group, etc. These are not the same types of activities you do with friends, such as go on a double date, or eat dinner at your house, etc.
Acquaintances tend to judge you based on your outward appearance and persona. So, they see nice clothes, good job title, etc. they get friendly. Friends judge you on your thoughts, your values, and your belief system. They see you for who you are, not some façade that parades around with a costume on.
Acquaintances have polite socially acceptable conversations. Close friends are those whom with you have deep conversations about your interests, your welfare, and your life plans. Usually friends take interest, acquaintances show surface interest in order to be polite.
With acquaintances you share the gossip. With friends you share secrets, and preferences, and values, close friends give you loyalty and hold confidences, and you return the favor.
Usually acquaintances are a lot like us, where as friends have differences, which benefits them in their ability to help you because they think and act different.
There are a lot of things in common with acquaintances and friends. Most of the time your friends start out as mere acquaintances as you test the grounds for potential friendships. Most people are somewhat picky about who they let into their circle of friends, but are willing to meet, socialize with, and be surface kind to many. The people you let in, confide in, spend a lot of time with, these are friends. The people you see a lot, gossip with, or just talk to at work, are your acquaintances.
Have you ever had a "work friends" and you would go home and talk about work to a real friend. Well, this example illustrates the differences between acquaintances and friends. You can talk to acquaintances a lot, know basic trivia about their life, and care how they are. But with friends, you know details, you listen, and you make efforts beyond the 9-5, you converse by phone, get together on weekends, etc. by choice, not because everyone is there, or it is a group thing.
Having both friends and acquaintances is very important. It is through a large selection pool of acquaintances that we find and choose the people who become our close friends. This is very important because friendship is a huge part of being happy, moving forward in life, feeling secure about yourself etc. So, never underestimate friendship, and never confuse an acquaintance for a friend, you might be disappointed if you do.
A good test is to ask yourself if you know three things in their life they are struggling with or working toward, and if they know the same about you. If the answer is no, you will need to work harder to move from acquaintance to friend.