Although our masks are down, social distancing requirements have lifted, and businesses are back open, the lasting effects of the pandemic are still present in many areas of our lives — like our friendships.

Studies have shown that friendships took the hardest hit during the pandemic because we were all locked at home, unable to physically see and connect with each other.

With International Friendship Day approaching on July 30th, it’s the perfect time to reflect on how the pandemic may have affected some of the most important relationships in your life. We hope this week’s blog encourages you to consider how you can strengthen the relationships that may have been strained because of the pandemic.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

Be proactive. Intentionality fuels healthy friendships. When you make an effort to schedule lunch with a friend, the chances of you reconnecting with them are much higher. Don’t wait for them to reach out to you, take the initiative to let them know you miss them and would like to see them.

Make up for lost time. Strong friendships require spending meaningful time together. You may not always feel like you have time to check-in with a friend, but even a simple “I am thinking about you today!” text message could brighten their day.

Be transparent. When was the last time you opened up to a friend? Sometimes we have a million things going on and expect everyone else around us to recognize why we’ve been distant. While being vulnerable can be scary, your friend will appreciate hearing how you feel and vice versa, especially when you’re trying to reconnect with them!

Try a little reciprocity. Think about how much energy you would like your friend to put into your relationship and try to match that energy. It’s like the adage, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” If you want someone to invest in your friendship, make sure you are also putting in that same effort.  

Relationships are key parts of living a happy and fulfilling life. The best relationships enrich our lives, add joy, and even have benefits that improve our health. So, take the time to invest in your relationship because it’s also an investment in yourself!