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Getting to Know Someone — How Long Does It Take?

how long does it take to know someone?

What does it take to really get to know someone? Is it the passage of time or your experiences together? It’s actually a mixture of both.

Mentally go through your loved ones, and consider just how well you really know them. By the end of this article, you might realize you don’t! Or you might get lucky and realize you do. Whatever the case may be, this is something everyone struggles with, both with friends and partners, so don’t be too distraught over it. The best thing to do is simply to put in the time, hang in there, and wait for it to happen.

Truth is, getting to know someone varies on two factors: that particular individual, and you. Yes, you. Everyone opens up at their own pace. While some people take months, others take years. The longer you know each other, the better. But none of that matters, because you won’t see them for who they are, unless you stop being blinded.

Upon meeting someone for the first time, you develop an idea of who that person is, and how they work. In other words, it’s expectation. It may be real, it may be miles off, but you already have your mind set. Until you stop being blinded, and they open up, you don’t really know the person in front of you!

How do you know when you finally know someone?

There are 8 simple questions you could use to double-check whether or not you know your friends, partner, or that hottie you’re thinking of dating seriously. Here are those questions.

#1 Have you ever had an argument? This may sound counterproductive, but having an argument or two is needed in order to really get to know someone. People who have never argued either don’t care enough about each other, or they simply bottle up the bitter feelings, because they don’t want to be honest. When you know someone, you also know their ugly side. [Read: 23 dos and don’ts of relationship arguments]

#2 Has this person ever let you down? Again, it sounds strange, but this is beyond needed. When someone, anyone, lets you down, it’s because they fall short of the expectation you’ve put on them. If you’re blinded by your own perception or expectation of who they are, there’s going to be that defining moment where they let you down.

Most people put the blame on the person letting them down, but in reality, they should be pointing the finger at themselves. Rather than being upset, take this moment to pull off the blindfold and really see the person for who they really are.

#3 Have you had the actual moment where you feel like they’re a total stranger? This is an awful moment, especially when the stranger is your partner. After the blindfold is off, there will be a period of adjustment, where the person will be a complete stranger.

Things may or may not be awkward. Your memories will be tainted for a bit. But this is actually for the best. This is a transitional period and a one-way ticket to finally coming to terms with who a person truly is.

#4 Have you known this person for at least 3 years? Yes, it seems like a long time, but this is an unspoken rule. A lot of things happen at the 3rd year mark, both in friendships and relationships. By the third year, you’ve already gone through a lot of different experiences together, both good and bad.

The third year in, friends either disappear, or get closer. Partners argue, get to know every side of each other, and oftentimes breakup. For couples who are either lucky or persistent in making things work, the third year mark can be the test that will make their relationship stronger. It sounds worse than it is, but this is the moment when you know who’s here to stay, and who isn’t meant to be a permanent fixture in your life. [Read: How to know if it’s time to end a friendship]

#5 Have the two of you spoken of how things were before you two really knew each other? This is a given. At some point down the line, your friend or partner will mention how shy, naïve, blind or immature you both used to be in the past. You’ll talk about past arguments, maybe even past views on each other, and then some. At this point, it’s safe to say you’ll know that they’re being genuine, and you’re no longer blinded by mere infatuation or naive optimism. [Read: 60 get to know you questions for a new romance]

#6 Have you ever spent time apart? Remember, spending time apart helps you reflect. This is something most people forget, but when you spend time with someone all the time, you develop tunnel vision. All you see is that person, and all interaction revolves around that person. What you think and feel and analyze about that person when you’re alone actually helps put things into perspective. [Read: Does absence make the heart grow fonder or wander?]

#7 Have you faced a serious obstacle together? One thing is seeing someone on a good day. It’s a whole other thing when you see that person respond to problems. A person may seem easygoing and carefree, but they may actually become very volatile when faced with a stressful situation.

As mentioned earlier, getting to know someone involves knowing both their good side and their ugly side. By going through a serious hurdle together, you can then see how they react, and you can see if the way they act during this time will jive with the way you would handle the obstacle. [Read: 10 ways to get through a rough patch in a relationship]

#8 Have you ever taken a trip together? Going on an adventure together to places unknown to you opens up a whole new side of both your personalities. By taking out a familiar setting, you’re seeing someone as they’re exploring new territories.

Are they willing to explore? Do they want to just stick with something familiar? How do they handle new situations? These are questions you’ll inevitably answer when you go away to unfamiliar places. [Read: Is it too soon to start travelling with your partner?]

Getting to know someone doesn’t happen overnight. Every situation takes however amount of time both parties need, so it could be anywhere from months to years, but at the end of the day, these 8 questions can help pinpoint where you are on the timeline. If you don’t fully know each other, don’t fret. It will happen, for better or worse, and you’ll know whether they have a place in your life, or if it’s better to walk away.

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Jennifer Mendez
Jennifer Mendez
Jennifer is a writer, director, consultant and author, with a passion for all things literary. While she works on a variety of projects at a time, her one true ...
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One thought on “Getting to Know Someone — How Long Does It Take?”

  1. Ian says:

    Three years is a great rule to go by. I can’t say I really knew my now wife until around that same time in our marriage. Even though we’d been dating for a couple of years before we eventually tied the knot, I never really had a firm grasp on her and who

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