It is great to have strong ties with close family members, friends, and work colleagues. These positive relationships provide us with a number of different elements that help our wellbeing including; stability, support, and the experiencing of positive emotions (joy, amusement, love etc). However, it is just as important to maintain the weaker ties with people we come into contact with in passing. This is because socially we tend to be close friends with people who mirror us demographically, culturally, intellectually, politically, and professionally. This makes it easy to bond, but it also means that we drink from the same informational pool. The people we have the weaker ties to (acquaintances) don’t tend to move in the same circle of people as ourselves and therefore expose us to different information, experiences, and opportunities. Acquaintances are those people you speak to every now and then but wouldn’t class as a friend. For example, certain people you work with, people you see on your commute to work each morning, or certain people you may have on various social media platforms.
Having more contacts is more likely to lead to more opportunities (e.g being made aware of job vacancies, or someone putting in a good word for you).
Having more contacts means you have a greater pool of people to acquire information from.
Having a lot of acquaintances can help reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Maintaining acquaintances are a lot less demanding than close friendships.
Having a lot of acquaintances helps you to see the world from different perspectives.
Research has indicated that people with a greater number of casual acquaintances were happier.