1. Stranger
  2. Acquaintance
  3. Friend
  4. Good friend

Let’s talk about interactions with these people.



A stranger is a person you don’t know or have never met before. You may know of this person because you two have mutual friends or classes or work at the same place, but you two are still strangers.

Interactions: you may or may not say “hi” when you pass them. If you feel particular friendly, you can small talk. I’ve had many conversations with strangers and have never known their names.


An acquaintance is one level above a stranger. An acquaintance is someone you’ve exchanged introductions with.

Interactions: An acquaintance is barely different than a stranger. You will always greet an acquaintance if you see them. And if you two have mutual friends, you may talk about them or see these acquaintances at social gatherings. You might not  have this person’s number in your phone and you two definitely do not hang out alone.


How do we know if someone is a friend? A friend is someone who we’ve had some bonding with. That bonding can be emotional, social, through work, shared experiences such as growing up together. Friend dynamics change from people to people. Some friends may be the ones you can tell about your emotions and worries (emotional bonding). Other friends may be the ones that you barely talk to, but would lend you the shirt off their back (a friend you grew up).

Interactions: friends interact on different levels. When someone is in the “friend” category though, they can begin to get to know you more, or perhaps know you intimately, know your friends, meet for social (not professional) lunches, dinners, or bar trips. Friends are people you feel comfortable with introducing to your significant others, parents.

Good Friend

A good friend is a subset of the friend category. A good friend is a distinguished person your life. This person is a friend, but also possesses some very strong character traits which allow them to be a good friend. It’s likely that others also consider them a good friend because of their qualities. Some of these traits include empathy, emotional intelligence, support, compassion, and loyalty.

A good friend is not found overnight — it takes years and hundreds or thousands of interactions to develop the bond that good friends have.

Another way to define a good friend is this: it’s a person who you feel absolutely needs to be at your wedding.

Interactions: a good friend interactions the same as a friend, but my belief is that you will let a good friend deeper into your social circle and deeper into your psyche — you will feel more comfortable talking to them with issues such as financial trouble, relationship trouble, feelings, and generally making yourself vulnerable. A good friend is someone you may not share activities with, but they are always someone you have to “catch up” with every time you see them.