There is nothing more human than the need to belong. Everyone needs that close knit community that both supports you, but also that you can support. Recently, however, it feels like more and more people are struggling with loneliness. So today I wanted to answer the question: How do you sustain your friendships?

Check in on your tribe regularly. The group texts are cute, but a spontaneous call or FaceTime are the perfect reminder that you’re thinking about someone and are genuinely interested in their life.

Try to not to take anything too personally. People get busy, and stressed, and occasionally will disappear. Accept that this could happen and acknowledge that it doesn’t mean that your friend doesn’t care about you deeply. (They just might have more pressing priorities at the moment.)

Make real plans with people. How many times have you run into someone and said, “We should hang out!” Instead of making loose plan of someday in the future, get specific. Meet at a coffee shop to catch up or plan a day of thrifting and cocktails. Friendship at its core, is honestly not much different than dating. You have to make time for the people you care about.

Start a monthly ritual with your friends. One easy way to stay connected is to start a standing event with your friends. Every month you can commit to meeting up for brunch or to go see a movie. Ritualize your desire to connect.