So close, yet so far

Graphic by Cecilia Romero | Mercury Staff


How to stay connected with friends during social distancing

Among the major aspects of our daily routine, social interaction has certainly taken a large hit  during the COVID-19 pandemic. As students continually adapt their current lifestyles to changing circumstances, a healthy social life is essential for creating a lifestyle that feels normal again. Besides texting and video calling, there is a wide array of creative ways to maintain human connection with your loved ones.

1. Sending physical objects to your friends.

Try sending something you made. Whether that be a sketch you’ve been working on, a handwritten note or small craft, sending something out of blue that you created shows that you put in effort and care.

Ship your friends a care package. Grab a box and put in some of their favorite candy, a funky pair of socks you saw, a pack of face masks, etc. Sending small items like these are the pleasant surprises that everyone appreciates, and provides a tangible form of connection.

Order something that will arrive at your friends’ doorstep. Go online to buy a gift or order food and have it delivered to their house. We can’t hand these over in person anymore, so why not have someone else deliver a small, but meaningful, gesture? 

2. Try to recreate some of your old traditions with friends.

Study together with video calls. Not only will your academics benefit, but also it’s a great way to make studying less boring and you can spend more time with your friends. It’s also helpful to keep each other accountable for your classes and get help from someone you’re comfortable with.

Virtually eat a meal together. Plan a time that your friends are free and video chat while eating. It’s a simple way to allocate time to hanging out with friends and making it a routine will ensure that everyone stays in contact.

Watch TV shows or movies together using services like Netflix Party or ShareTube. That way you can stay up to date on what episodes your friends are talking about; you’ll still get your friends’ commentary that you were missing.

Make TikToks together. Have each friend send a component and compile them to make a final product. It doesn’t take very long and it’s a fun way to work together and make something silly like a skit, or a TikTok dance duet.

3. Use technology to collaborate on a project.

Cook a new dish together through a video call. Not only can you create a new shared memory, but you can also help each other through the difficulties that inevitably arise when making a recipe neither of you has ever cooked before.

Game together with your friends. Playing games like League of Legends, Animal Crossing, Stardew Valley, Overwatch, etc. is an easy way to stay in touch with friends and connect with many people at once. Other options are games like Jackbox, online Cards Against Humanity, Dungeons & Dragons online and iMessage games, which are more like traditional board games.

Music can convey some feelings that are hard to put into words, so why not make a collaborative playlist together? Share songs that you’ve been listening to on repeat or new artists that they can discover.

Start a book club with your friends. Find some books that you’ve always wanted to read, stay on track with chapters and update each other on a weekly basis. Knock out two birds with one stone by reading books that were on your list and having an excuse to chat with friends weekly.

4. Plan for future events for when quarantine is done.

Plan a trip together for the foreseeable future when you are reunited. Researching and imagining a fun shared experience with your friends can be relaxing and get your mind off of the current situation. Even though it may not be advisable to book flights right away — at least, not until it’s officially safe to do so — it doesn’t hurt to brainstorm.

Set a long-term goal together and challenge each other to reach the goal first. Whether this is a fitness goal by comparing how many steps you get in a day, a reading goal by comparing how many books you’ve read, or anything in between, a challenge keeps healthy competition within your group of friends.

Instead of longing to do activities in-person with your friends, make a bucket list for next year. Then when quarantine is over, you’ll have a long list of quality activities that you can draw from any time you’re unsure of what to do.


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