Study finds you must know someone at least this long before you can consider them a 'best friend'

It takes four years of knowing someone before they can ever be considered a 'best' friend, according to new research.

A poll of 2,000 Americans found the average American has to go through four different personal experiences with a friend before they could ever qualify someone as a 'best' friend.

One in three say they must go on a vacation with a friend before earning the moniker of 'best' friend, while a further one in five have to share clothes first.

The study conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Evite aimed to reveal what friendship means to Americans and uncovered two in five must go through a life-changing experience with a friend before they can upgrade them to a 'best' friend.

There are certain milestones that must be checked off before any friend can become a 'best' friend: from experiencing a breakup (32%) and doing something spontaneous together (28%), to texting each other at least once a day (27%) and staying up until the early morning just chatting (25%).

The results showed that Americans would do almost anything for their besties, including: traveling across the country (42%) and keeping their secrets (36%).

A third would lie for them while another 24% would miss work just to hang with them.

But that's not all Americans are willing to do for a best friend. Forty-three percent would bail their best friend out of jail while a further quarter (25%) would actually take their place in jail.

The study also found that nearly half (49%) of Americans have made friends through a partner - three on average.

But what happens when people break up with a partner who previously introduced them to a new friend? Three in four say the friendships are able to survive the awkwardness of the breakup, with over half saying they actually steal their partner's friend away.

The reasoning behind keeping these friends? Fifty-six percent say they had mutual interests with this friend while a further 54% reveal they became closer with this friend than their partner was originally.

But Americans aren't just making friends through their partners; many make pals at the office. Of those who are employed, 56% reveal they knew they had made a friend at work when they found themselves communicating with their co-worker outside of the office about things unrelated to their work.

Nearly half (49%) of the employed respondents studied reveal they knew they'd made a good friend at work when they'd discuss their personal lives daily while a further 43% knew their colleague became a friend when they exchanged phone numbers.

Zaria Zinn, Celebration Expert at Evite stated: "Friendships can be formed anywhere, but crossing into the BFF territory takes time and shared experiences together. It's through these face-to-face bonding experiences that we build trust with one another and improve both our own well-being as well as the well-being of those around us. Good relationships keep you happy, healthy, and as the research shows, just might get you out of jail someday."

While the average American currently has three best friends, they are also juggling three different friend groups at one time.

And according to results, they don't like those friend groups intermingling; nearly seven in ten respondents say they actively work against their different groups interacting with each other.

Of those seven in ten who avoid mixing friend groups, 56% say it's because they act differently when they're around their different friend groups, which could lead to awkwardness when all together.

Another 53% say they're worried what the groups will say to each other and a further 47% are worried one friend group will reveal a secret about them to the other group.

But for men and women, juggling friendships is handled differently. In fact, compared to women, men are more likely to consider inviting friends to every party they throw and going out to eat at least once a day with pals as significantly more important to maintaining their friendships.

Also, a quarter (25%) of the men studied reveal they value 'best friendship' through sharing clothes compared to just 16% of the women respondents who agree.

Men also place a higher value on keeping secrets than women do. Forty-one percent of the men studied reveal they greatly value a friend who can keep a secret compared to just 30% of the women studied.

And men were also more likely to have celebrated a 'friendaversary' compared to women.

Zinn continued, "Mixing friend groups doesn't have to be scary; in fact, we encourage it. Meeting new people might seem awkward for your friends at first, but they all have something in common - you! If you're still hesitant, I suggest mixing friend groups in an event that is focused on celebrating you, like a birthday party or a celebration of a work promotion. Instead of focusing on how your friend groups are different, focus on the aspects that make them similar and bring those up as you introduce them to each other. You could be introducing someone to their new best friend."