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What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

Acquaintance Definition September 28, 2016

Filed under: Tales of Humanity's Imperfections — meganorussell @ 11:30 am
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You know what word bothers me? Acquaintance.

It’s not a gross word like moist, or a disappointing word like maybe. But it still bothers me.

I know a lot of people who are good, kind, wonderful individuals, and I hate talking about them because of the negative connotation of acquaintance.

The technical definition according to Merriam-Webster is: Someone who is known but who is not a close friend. That sounds like a nice thing, but it feels cold. Like sure, I’ve met this person, but I don’t really like them enough to call them friend. Or worse: there is a backstory there, and sweetie, we don’t have the time or the wine to talk through that one!

It could just be me. I might be the only one who hates calling someone I genuinely like an acquaintance. But I don’t want to call them my friend either. Then people might expect me to have all sorts of fun and cute stories about this person that I’ve only known in passing but think is a good human.

So, I just avoid talking about them entirely so I don’t have to say, “This person I sort of know, but don’t ask me to text them for you, is super cool and is on this awesome national tour. And you could say hi and they’d know my name, but don’t ask them how I’m doing right now cause there’s no way they’ll know.”

We should come up with a new word like frienemy but for acquaintances we like. Like demi-friend, friendish, friquaintace. Someone who is much cooler than me needs to make this a thing. Like fetch, only successful.

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One Response to “Acquaintance Definition”

  1. Sam Says:

    I agree that “acquaintance” can feel a little forced/weird, so I default to “someone I know” in these situations. I think just choosing not to use the word “friend” makes it clear to whoever you’re talking to that they subject isn’t someone you’re particularly close to. If I need to be more specific, I go with a quick one-liner (even if it’s superficial) that contextualizes people — “Someone I used to work with,” “someone I went to school with,” “a friend of a friend,” etc. all show you know someone but not well enough to plant the expectations that come with “friend.”


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