It’s not uncommon for many people to set a New Year’s resolution to make new friends. However, it’s often easier said than done to establish new friendships especially during a global pandemic. As we continue to work from home and social activities remain on pause, is it possible to make, and keep, new friends? Absolutely — just follow these tips to create lasting friendships.

Make it known that you’re looking for new friends.

Why should you tell others in your inner circle that you’re looking to add more people into your life? The reality is nobody can read our minds and start establishing new friendships on our behalf.

“It’s important that you name your desire to connect with new faces,” Dr. Lauren Cook says. Cook is a therapist, speaker, and author who says active communication is key. Otherwise, those in and out of your inner circle may assume you’re not seeking new friends.

Get proactive.

Once you put out the news that you’re ready to make new friends, it’s time to double down and start connecting. Put your best foot forward and make a solid introduction by following these tips.

  • Start getting to know friends of friends. Cook advises individuals seeking new friends to begin with existing friendships. If you participate in group events, like Bachelor Mondays or watching a sports game, continue attending these online viewing parties. Ask friends to invite at least one other person they know to attend the event. This gives you a chance to start mingling with friends of friends.
  • Reconnect with old friends. Confidence and mindset coach Lauren Kester is reaching out to acquaintances that she hasn’t spoken to in years and reconnecting with them. After simply asking how they’re doing and getting caught up, Kester has been able to spark new friendships with old connections during this unprecedented time.
  • Be yourself! Bring your friendly personality along during watch events or any other virtual activities you participate in. Kester advises asking genuine questions when initially making introductions and getting to know new faces. “People love talking about themselves,” Kester says. “If they get to feel good by talking about themselves, there’s a good chance they will feel good about you too.”

Join helpful apps and community groups.

You’ve stated your intention to make new friends and have what it takes to make a great first impression. Now it’s time to get out there! Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, you can find out who else is seeking new friends through apps and community groups.

Not sure where to look first? Cook recommends heading to friendship-friendly apps, like Bumble BFF and Friender, that help people find new friends based on shared interests. Other great spaces where you can find potential new buds include community groups, like a junior league, and Facebook groups where you’re able to connect with many individuals that share a mutual love for your interests or may be in the same stage of life.

At the end of the day, it’s important to realize that we’re all thinking outside the box to make new friends. Getting creative in this new normal is a big part of building these lasting relationships.

“I think the key to remember here is that all of us in this new, and awkward, boat and people are forming relationships through new and unique ways,” Kester says. “Truly, where there is a will, there is a way!”