Most of us have that one person we can always count on. You call them up when you’re nervous about a job interview, frustrated with a family member, or even grieving the loss of a loved one. They always seem to know the right thing to say to make you feel a little better about the situation, a little more confident in yourself, and a little less lost in your sadness.

But now we’re facing a global crisis unlike any we’ve ever seen before. When anxiety spikes, many respond by pulling away from friends and family. But now, more than ever, we need to keep the people we love close. Why?

Why Do We Need Human Support and Connection?

Whether they’re connected to our work, our family, our or hobbies, our friends have a huge impact on our lives. How does having good friends benefit you? According to the Mayo Clinic, a good friend

* Lessens your stress and makes you happier
* Makes you feel more confident
* Gives you a sense of belonging
* Helps you deal with the challenges you face
* Helps you quit or avoid unhealthy habits
* Reduces your risk of major health problems

Clearly, good friends are good medicine! Not only do they improve your mental health, but they can improve your physical health too. With the increased anxiety we’re all experiencing, we need all the help we can get to stay happy and healthy. But where can we find good friends?

Good Friends – Where Are They?

You probably have more connections to potential friends than you think you do. At work, at play, when volunteering, or at community events, you can find people who could become your good friends. There is a potential danger though. Forming friendships with toxic people can rob you of your joy and your health.

What does a good friend look like? What should you look for in a potential friend?

* They like you for who you are.
* They’re genuinely interested in your thoughts and feelings.
* They’re comfortable opening up to you.
* They’re supportive, respectful, and trustworthy.
* You feel safe, happy, and comfortable when you spend time with them.

With a network of friends that meet these standards, you can face almost any challenge, including a global pandemic. But how can you maintain these relationships while social distancing?

How To Maintain Friendships While Social Distancing

Although social distancing may seem like the enemy to making and maintaining solid friendships, there are ways to work around this challenge. Regular communication is vital in any relationship. Here are some creative ways to keep in touch while staying safe and healthy.

* Video chatting
* Phone calls
* Writing a letter or card
* Sending a thoughtful gift in the mail
* Playing online games with them

Many have been using video calling apps to take a coffee break together, cook together, and even take a gym class together. Modern technology allows us to do all this and more with our friends while maintaining a safe distance. Don’t let social distancing be the reason you miss out on all the benefits of having good friends. With just a little bit of effort, you can keep your friendships strong and even make some new ones.

How I Can Be a Good Friend to Others

Having good friends is vital to our health and happiness. But to make friends like that, we need to know how to be a good friend ourselves. Here are a few things we can do to be the kind of person that attracts good friends.

* Be a good listener! This is one of the most important parts of being a good friend. People can tell when you’re giving them your full attention and listening compassionately. It will make them feel appreciated.
* Open up. It can be challenging to share our feelings with others. But opening up to your friends shows that you trust them and you want to connect with them.
* Make time for them. Good friendships take time and work to build, but they’re worth the effort. If you make time for your friends, they’ll know that they’re important to you. And they’ll make time for you too.

When you’re anxiety is overwhelming, a good friend can be like a shelter in a storm. The storm of challenges that you’re facing might not go away, but a good friend will make it bearable. Their support will lessen the frustration and anxiety your feeling and help you deal with your situation in a healthy way. Now is the time to lean on your good friends and let them lean on you.