I've never really owned an acoustic guitar before, but some of my mates have them and everyone I've played, the strings seem to be quite far away from the neck. Making the guitar quite uncomfortable to play.

Are all acoustics similar to this or is there ways of changing this ?
I think the term might be profiling ?

Its my birthday soon and I was interested in purchasing one, but this factor is slightly putting me off.

Fuck it.
Usually the strings on an acoustic are a bit further away from the fret board, due to them usually having thicker strings on them. Because of how much the vibrate, you need the extra distance to avoid any buzzing against the frets or anything like that. Though the action on your friends guitars could just be rather high.

It is possible to have someone set a guitar up, shaving off the saddle/nut. In some cases, it requires going as far as shaving off the bridge, but that's usually for more extreme cases. It'll still take some time to get used to, if all you've played is electric.
"Here I sit, beneath a lonely line."

~iband48's signature
most likely your friends don't know about guitars. the term is not profiling - guitars with strings too far from the neck or guitars that feel too stiff need a set up.

btw, while a set up includes adjusting the height of the nut and saddle, if your bridge needs adjustment, your guitar needs a neck reset, and chances are that will cost the big bucks unless you have a taylor.