Let’s face it– humans need socialization. Face to face interactions are part of our nature. Quite frankly, it might be what keeps us sane a lot of the time. So what happens when a pandemic disrupts our gatherings? When social isolation is needed, or mandated in some cases? How can we feel less alone when human to human contact is restricted?
Thanks to the digital age, there are plenty of options. Even in quarantine, the world has never been more connected.
Here are some ideas to help you socialize with your friends and family members:
This is my most used tool from the list. I’m group messaging all day long. It’s hard being away from family! We talk about everything. From meme sharing to daily plans to what we are struggling with at the moment. Regular messaging works great, but you could also try Snapchat or even Google chat (if you are working at the computer and need a break). Challenge: it’s the perfect opportunity to connect with a friend you haven’t talked to in a while because ‘life keeps getting in the way’.
When in-person conversations are a no-go, virtual calls are here to the rescue. There are plenty of options out there, each one with its own great features. Here are some options with the number of people they allow:
- Facetime (32)
- Google Hangouts (10)
- Skype (50)
- WhatsApp (4)
- Zoom (100, but limited to 40 minutes in the free version)
Share a glass of wine during happy hour or a cup of coffee in the morning. Even ten minutes are enough to provide bonding time. A great idea is to play games over video chat if all parties have the physical game (ie. Battleship, Yahtzee, Scattergories, etc).
You are already going to be viewing your Netflix and Disney+ watch lists, so why not do it with friends? Netflix Party is a free Google Chrome extension that syncs content between users and creates a private chat room so you can share your Love is Blind opinions. Another free platform you could use is Metastream. This one supports Hulu and YouTube, plus it lets you add videos to a common cue. Let the funny videos marathon commence!
Phone or game console, you choose. There are endless possibilities here. You can go the classic Words with Friends route or the ever-popular Fortnite. Find a video game that captures your interest and lets you chat with people all around the world.
Create a group just for family so you can keep updated on your daily happenings, one with friends to share recipes or ideas of in-home activities, or even a virtual book club where you discuss characters and plot points. You can create private groups to keep them more intimate or public ones that connect you to your community.
Be Active on Social Media
Guess what? You don’t need to personally meet the person you’re conversing with to feel less isolated. Commenting and interacting with others’ pages will help you feel part of a community. Find people with similar interests, get information from experts and don’t be afraid to contact a person you admire (you’ll never know if they’ll answer back!). You could potentially meet some of your new friends in the comments section.
Create a Blog
This one is more passive, but it lets you interact with people on their own schedule. It’s easy and free to create a blog with WordPress where you can document your daily life. Share it with family and friends or make it public, your choice! Plus, writing is a great way to empty your mind. I’ve had a private blog for years and use it as a journal with pictures so I can reach multiple family members without too much time commitment.
Show You Care
It doesn’t have to be a two-way street to stay connected with family. Order delivery for them from a local restaurant and tell them lunch is on the way! Send them a surprise care package with snacks, puzzles and a book. Email a gift card for a drive-thru coffee shop. Any little gesture can go a long way to let them know you’re thinking about them.
As long as we’re not in lockdown, you could go outside and talk to your neighbors, staying a safe distance away and on your own property. Kids can race along property lines, you can talk about the weather with your neighbor or touch base with your balcony neighbor. Note: If you have tested positive or have been in contact with someone who has, make sure you comply with the quarantine and stay inside.
Remember, you are not alone, get social and connect!
How are you planning on staying social during this time?
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