COVID-caused quarantine has impacted nearly every aspect of our lives. Summer vacation plans have been squashed. Long-awaited concerts are canceled. We can no longer simply head out to the movies, nightclub, or even enjoy a leisurely Sunday brunch with our besties. One of the most devastating aspects, as we strive to stay healthy during this pandemic, is that social distancing means we can no longer simply hang out with our friends.

Staying connected to those beloved friends over these past few months has required some creativity as we turn to virtual options like Zoom, FaceTime, and Google Hangouts. Relying on remote connections has placed a new importance on the qualities it takes to truly be a good friend. Three qualities every good friend should possess include being an active listener, communicating honestly, and exuding positivity. Here’s a look at why those qualities are so important.

A good friend is an active listener. 

We’ve all likely heard friends or family ask us, “Did you hear what I said?” as we’ve been half-heartedly listening, likely preoccupied with our phones. Now, when actual face time with friends is even more precious, it’s time we push aside distractions and become active listeners.

To perfect your active listening skills, offers five tips:

  • Listen, listen, listen to what your friend needs to say.
  • Reframe or restate what you are hearing.
  • Ask about your friend’s feelings.
  • Keep the focus on your friend, not how you had a similar experience.
  • Help your friend brainstorm solution ideas rather than offering advice.

A good friend is honest.

If honesty is the best policy, then embracing genuine honesty with all your friends will only prove to further strengthen those relationships. Being an honest friend means others can put their trust in you when they need advice, whether they’re grappling with huge, life-changing decisions or really just wants to know if a new dress is as flattering as the salesperson claimed. Honest friends, too, make the best confidants, won’t lie to protect feelings, and give the best compliments. If you are looking to strengthen a friendship, practice honesty in all you do.

A good friend is positive.

As Saturday Night Live has taught us over the last two decades, nobody likes a Debbie Downer who only exudes negativity, worry, and pessimism. Instead, most of us would rather surround ourselves with people who radiate positivity. Those friends are the people who are always sharing fun stories, recalling hilarious memories, and offering up adventurous excursions. During this confounding, even depressing, time when negativity is overtaking headlines, workplace chatter, and social media feeds, exhibiting an upbeat, happy personality can become a lifeline to a friend in need of an emotional boost.

No matter how you are staying connected with your friends during this time of social distancing, try strengthening your relationships by focusing on active listening, honesty, and positivity. Your friends will appreciate your efforts.