Whether we’re introverts or extroverts, we’re all missing our friends and coworkers right now (OK, some of our coworkers), so today we’re rounding up six ways to stay connected during social distancing due to the coronavirus quarantine. (Note that even though some people are interpreting social distancing as allowing outdoor get-togethers at which everyone stays six feet apart, experts are advising us to avoid that sort of contact too!) Fortunately, there are a ton of ways to be social while we’re stuck in our homes, many of which you may even like enough to continue when things are back to normal (whatever “normal” will mean in the future). How are you communicating with friends right now? What are some creative ways you’re using for socializing that other readers may not have thought of?
Here are six ways to stay connected during social distancing:
Stay Connected with Video Chat
Video chat is one of the easiest ways to keep in touch with friends right now, whether it’s via Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, WhatsApp, or Facebook Messenger. (Be aware that Zoom is getting a lot of criticism lately for privacy and security flaws.) Many people are doing virtual happy hours, for example, which is a fun way to connect. (Showing off your pets and/or children is optional.) If you’re getting bored with beer and wine, check out Kat’s and readers’ suggestions in what are you drinking in 2018? (hey, who cares if it’s from 2018? Does time even matter anymore?). If you’re not a drinker, we’ve got non-alcoholic alternatives in our post on what to drink instead during Dry January. Drinking aside, I’m just waiting for an opportunity to use a funny Zoom background…
Social Distanced Virtual Show-and-Tell
Even traditionally solo activities can become collaborative in this time of social distancing. I’ve seen some great ideas online in which a group of friends each bakes something and then connects on video chat to share what they’ve made. You can keep things low-key or create a competition. Depending on your skill level, this may turn out more like Nailed It! than The Great British Baking Show, but that’s not the point — and no matter what your finished product looks like, it’ll still taste good (hopefully). You can also do this with art and with crafting; just use whatever materials you have on hand.
How to Stay Connected During Social Distancing: Online Book Clubs
Many of us are finding that we have more time to read right now, and if you’re most often “reading” Facebook or Instagram posts and/or poring over the news — I’m doing both lately — setting up an online book club is a nice way to connect with friends while creating accountability for reading an actual book. If you need suggestions for light, fluffy books to get your mind off things for a while, see our posts on summer reading fun for working women and brain candy books and other fun summer reads. Just as with a regular book club, the amount of time you actually spend talking about the book itself is up to you… (If reading an entire book isn’t in the cards for you and/or your friends right now, consider a short story club or article club, which also sound fun.)
Virtual Watch Parties
I haven’t used Netflix Party yet, but I really want to try it out! In case you haven’t heard of it already, Netflix Party is a free Chrome extension that lets a group of friends synchronize playback of a movie or TV show and talk about it via group chat. This article from The Verge explains how to do it and gives some other watch-party options, such as Metastream, which you can use with YouTube or Hulu. A movie that I think would be a perfect fit for this is Office Space. Need more ideas? See our posts on underrated movies (Kat, Elizabeth, Rebecca, and I shared our recs), office movies, favorite fashion movies, and TV for smart women. Readers, please share your suggestions!
Letters and Cards
Texts and emails are great, but everyone loves getting real mail. If you’re limiting your trips to stores right now (which of course is what we all should be doing), I’ve found some great cards on Etsy (try Irene Irene Art, Paperwheel, and Papersaurus Creative — affiliate links) and from Emily McDowell & Friends. If you’re trying to reduce your online shopping as well, you can always make your own cards, use spare ones you have at home, or write letters. In case you’re worried about contracting the virus via mail, this New York Times article and this Washington Post article share experts’ statements that the risk of transmission is quite low — just wash your hands after touching the mail to be safe.
If you’re finding it hard to talk about anything other than the pandemic when you chat with friends (I know the feeling), games are an excellent option to avoid that. Words with Friends is a classic, of course, and if you like crossword puzzles, try Crosswords with Friends — or collaborate on puzzles like these or these. Video games are an obvious option, and this Polygon article and this Wired story have a lot of suggestions. Animal Crossing seems more popular than ever right now — and it’s a good option for someone who’s not typically into video games. (IGN has more suggestions of games for non-gamers.) If you’d rather see some friendly faces while you’re playing, this article from The Independent explains how to adapt chess, charades, etc., for video chat.
Readers, do tell: What have you found to be good ways to connect with friends during the coronavirus quarantine? What is the first thing you’re going to do with your friends once it’s safe to get together again?
- 10 free video chat apps to use if you’re social distancing [CNET]
- 10 Tips For Hosting A Digital Book Club [Bustle]
- How to start living your best Zoom party life [Mashable]
- Quarantine Baking in Times of Crisis [Eater]
- 7 Virtual Happy Hour Activities and Drinking Game Ideas to Fight Isolation [Vine Pair]
Stock photo via Pexels / cottonbro.