Getting Acquainted: The Hidden Value of (In)Significant Others
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In the context of modern personal life, acquaintances are becoming a growing feature of people’s personal communities. However, their significance is often framed in terms of their instrumentality. What we understand less is how these distant interpersonal relationships hold meaning and value in everyday lives. In this paper, I argue that acquaintances are valuable contributions to everyday life in order to challenge previous assumptions of their insignificance. To do this, I draw on data from seven semi-structured qualitative interviews in order to investigate the role and significance of acquaintances in participants’ lives. I hope to build understanding of the often hidden value of acquaintanceships and how these relations contribute to shaping a person’s sense of who they are.