How long does it take to forge a deep friendship? I heard someone throw out “400 hours” as a guess–I don’t know if this has actually been studied scientifically.

You can rack up 400 hours pretty quickly in a dorm.

You can rack up 400 hours pretty quickly in the workplace.

In a church–if you’re only attending a weekly worship service–you may never reach 400 hours with someone even after years of attendance (especially in a large church).

I work with lots of college students. I tell them that dorm life is wonderful–but it’s also artificial. Because they’ll never be in similar living arrangements again.

If you expect friendships to happen quickly because they did in college, you’ll be disappointed. So disappointed you may begin thinking there is something wrong with you or with the people around you, or with your church. The simple reality is that you have to log the hours.

You have to make the huge group smaller. The worship service isn’t frequent enough, nor is it set up for fellowship. You have to join a class, a bible study, a small group, or some other ministry.

You have to show up consistently and log the hours. If you have people over for dinner; if you schedule coffee dates; if you go on a mission trip; if you attend soccer games; those hours will accumulate until you eventually forge the relationships you need.

But it’s going to take three to five years. You read that right. Years. Not days, weeks, or months.

And it’s totally worth it.