Over the past few months, millions of connections have been severed across the globe. While many people have lost their loved ones, countless others have been forced to navigate a “new normal” that involves connecting with their loved ones over voice and video call.

As in-person interactions die down, romantic relationships have started to fall apart, friendships have started to disintegrate, and familial connections have started to lose their essence.

Today, we’ll tackle friendships in particular. If you’re struggling to strengthen a dwindling friendship, we’ve rounded up some tips to help you set things right again.

1. Give Your Friend Grace

While the pandemic has played a big role in stressing friendships, it’s not the only cause of the damage. If your friendship had a shaky foundation to begin with, it’s very likely that the pandemic has only made things worse. Even the best friendships might need strengthening now that you can’t get together as often or at all. Maybe your friend hasn’t called you for a while. Call them instead and extend grace. Maybe it’s you who has been neglecting the friendship. Recognize your shortcomings, and make up for them by apologizing and making an effort to reconnect.

In The Ojai—Pink Moment Promises, Patricia Hartmann walks readers through the complexities of farm girl Meggie Baxter’s life. As she navigates the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic and later, a jarring earthquake, she makes many decisions along the way—some well-founded and some hasty. Among these decisions, one affecting her friendship with Rusty stands out. After countless ups and downs, Meggie realizes the importance of her bond with Rusty, and sets out to make things right.

Here’s an excerpt from the book:

Meggie hurried to town to get her copy to The Ojai as soon as possible. She’d had a hand in sullying Rusty’s reputation. Now she had a chance to make something right. It was a start.

The earth and her world had shaken. She only hoped her friendship with Rusty could sway with the trembler and be rebuilt on solid ground even stronger than before.

In some way, that she didn’t fully comprehend, she needed Rusty. He kept her from becoming her worst self. He gifted her with grace. Perhaps she could learn to give Rusty the forgiveness and grace he needed too.

Grace. Meggie prayed it was enough.

Follow the same strategy (click here to continue reading for more insight). Give your friend grace, and the friendship will blossom organically. Of course, you’ll have to put in effort. However, the flowers will bloom more brightly once you’ve sown the seeds.

Start by reaching out to them and making a conscious effort to renew the connection. What led to the disconnect? Did time or busyness get in the way? Pride? Envy? Resentment? A vulnerable conversation will help you and your friend get past the hurt and become closer.

Recommended Read: A Guide to Finding the Strength to Heal and Start Anew

2. Dive Deep Into What Connects You

a young man having a meaningful conversation with his friend

When reconnecting with friends, we often use our time to fill them in on what’s been going on with us. They do the same. This superficial approach seldom leaves room for growth in a friendship. And without growth supporting the friendship, it eventually dies down.

If you’re looking to revive it, dive deep into what connects you two. Get into the specifics. Find common ground. As you peel back the layers, you’ll bond on a deeper level. This is a great way to make a friendship last, even during a global pandemic.

By connecting deeply, you and your friend will naturally gravitate towards each other. You won’t have to rely on small talk; you’ll feel compelled to get into the nitty-gritty. Over time, the friendship will thrive.

3. Reach Out First

But you reached out last time. And the time before that.

In many cases, this thought process holds us back from reaching out to a close friend. This can hurt your friendship and drive you farther apart. If you want to undo the damage, let your ego deflate and recognize that a good friend is worth reaching out to… again. Maybe they are just as lonely and depressed as you are.

Reach out first. It’s very likely that your friend is overburdened with work, familial responsibilities, or general stress. And you may be in the same boat a few months down the road. If that happens, hopefully, they’ll reach out to you more frequently.

At the end of the day, who reaches out first is of little significance. Make an effort when you can. Of course, if your friend keeps blowing you off, that’s a red flag. But don’t perceive a couple of unattended calls as disinterest. Water the friendship, and it’ll flourish.

Recommended Read: How to Stay Motivated Amid the Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic

Looking for more insight into love, friendship, perseverance, forgiveness, and hope? Check out Patricia Hartmann’s collection of historical and modern fiction novels, including The Ojai—Pink Moment Promises, Yosemite—One Last Golden Summer, Secrets of Sandpiper Cove, Lonesome Mountain book, and Lost Lake.