When your horoscope app doesn’t have the answers, look to the stars for advice. And by that, we mean look to Gala Galactic, HelloGiggles’ resident zodiac advice columnist. If you’ve got zodiac questions, she’s got answers for Galactic Guidance: A Zodiac Advice Column. All you have to do is send your Qs to Happy stargazing!

Dear Gala,

I am a Virgo and I’m always trying to be the best friend I can be. What could make me a better friend?

— An anxious companion

Hi Virgo!

First, let me begin this reply with one thing I already know to be true: you are a good friend. How could I possibly know that, you wonder? Easy. Anyone who regards friendship so highly as to make it one of their foremost self-improvement concerns is already a good friend. Friendship is a powerful force in the lives of all living things, even animals and plants, but we are not necessarily conditioned, as adults, to privilege it. When we are children, we are placed alongside other children and encouraged to play. But as we get older, our playful friendships disintegrate and new ones form based on affinity groups and shared experiences. Like hating bell bottoms and listening to The Cure. Being a good friend as a teenager is all about hating the same things, taking the same risks, and keeping each other’s secrets. Teenage intimacy is often born out of reaction to structures; its volatility is its grace.

When it comes to continuing friendships from our youth into adulthood, a lot of success is dependent on understanding and accepting that you can know someone as a teenager and not know them as an adult, that the person you have loved all your life might be changing and the person they are changing into is also the real them—so you will have to get to know them again.

Adult friendships, especially on a soul level, are not as easily developed. As adults, we learn that reaction has far less agency than creation, and we seek to build new structures that can shelter and sustain the people we are becoming.

But building sustainable structures is not simple. For one thing, it becomes harder to make soul friends as we get older since many of our friendships develop in relation to the institutions to which we pledge our waking hours and labors. Service workers, for instance, form unlikely bonds involving diametrically opposing personalities based solely on their resentment of rude customers and unfair management. These friendships might take up a lot of our days, but we rarely know how to translate them outside the workplace and into relational structures where we feel seen and valued. Additionally, these bonds can often mirror the bonds we made in our youth: reactionary and invested in a kind of underdog group personality. Which is not to say that workplace friendships can’t grow and develop into deep, life-long bonds. Just look at Mystic Pizza or 9 to 5. It’s just that in order for them to do so, the people involved have to reach beyond their common context and toward a common dream—even if that dream is as simple as having sweet, quiet company to study birds with on early mornings when the whole world is asleep but the birds are wide awake and calling.

A common dream, or a dream of common language, is a good place to begin. To share ambitions, to share insecurities, to trust that you are not alone in your doubts about aging, about partnership, about careers that you never chose but wish you did. Friendship is a place where love can thrive without obligation. Where one can build, through presence and care, a network of emotional and material support that exists outside the bounds of the state. There are no tax breaks for friends, no shared insurance, no fraught ceremonies where we pledge ourselves to each other. And, while many of us wish we could offer all these things and more to our chosen family, it’s also true that friendship’s existence outside of hetero-normative ambitions and government paperwork makes it a site of invention and freedom.

Most people, queer and straight, face societal pressure to invest most of their intimate and intentional energy into romantic/erotic relationships. So, it is important to turn toward our friendships not just in moments of turmoil, but also in moments of joy. It is important to nurture the connections we make by making time with our friends intimate rather than social—one on one, without significant others, where your friends have the freedom to share themselves as they would only with you and no one else. And where you, in turn, have the freedom to do the same. And just as it is important to prioritize intimacy and closeness, it is important to prioritize your own boundaries and emotional needs. Be honest with your friends about your availability, say no when you don’t want to say yes so that your friends can trust that when you say yes, you mean it. This includes any favors you “promised,” any events you “should be at,” any details you “ought to help out with since it’s in your field of knowledge.” Virgo, this one rule, this one mandate that all yeses should come from a place of personal desire and ability rather than shame and obligation, will radically favor every friendship you hope to cultivate and sustain.

With friendly support,

Gala Galactic