I’m sure there are quite a lot of people in your life. People from work, high-school, college, sport club, friends of friends, relatives, people you just met for one night or one talk.
We can draw two main circles around you regarding people you know. The first one consists of people you are the most familiar with. It often counts real friends and close relatives. The rest is composed by people you can qualify as acquaintances. You know them but you don’t feel close to them. They are customers, sometimes neighbours or work colleagues or friends of friends.
For the vast majority it is easy to tell whether someone belongs to the first or to the second circle. However sometimes it can be tricky. Would you say that Billy, your co-worker who sits every day next to you but who you never see outside work, is a friend or not?
I’ll give you one tip to easily draw the line. You’ll recognize a friend when a silence in a conversation does not feel awkward. Put in another way, if you feel forced to break any silence or to find new discussion topics when discussing with Billy, that means he is an acquaintance.
Trying to break silences is not being natural with someone and this is, in my opinion, the difference between friends and simple acquaintances.
A friend is obviously someone you are natural with.