After months of social isolation, a lot of us have forgotten what it’s like to interact on a daily basis. Many colleges are scheduled to open in the fall, and jobs are slowly welcoming employees back to their offices. However, the pandemic is still present, and until we have a cure, we’re all going to have to adapt to this new lifestyle. But our transition back into the social world doesn't have to be difficult! Here are five shows to watch to prepare yourself to reenter the world that exemplify how to socialize.
- Schitt's Creek
When double-crossed by an employee, the wealthy Rose family ends up completely broke. They're forced to leave their luxurious lifestyle and use their one remaining asset to survive: a small town named Schitt’s Creek that they once bought as a joke. The Roses move into the town’s motel, and they learn to accept their new lives in a small, run-down town.
Essentially, this sitcom is about a family that has been stripped of the extravagances of their normal life while being forced to live together in a small space for a long time. Sound familiar? Ever since this pandemic started, we’ve all been pulled away from our normal routines, and a lot of us are back home with our families. Just like the characters of the show, we’re learning to adjust and grow through this challenging process. And ultimately, they begin to appreciate their new lives in Schitt’s Creek, building new friendships and relationships with the town’s residents.
If there’s one thing to learn from Schitt’s Creek, it’s this: we can always adapt to a new life, even if it’s not the same as the one we had before.
- New Girl
What would the characters of New Girl be doing during the pandemic? Jess would definitely be knitting up a storm in quarantine, Nick would probably be thriving at peak laziness, Winston would be chilling with Ferguson, and Schmidt would probably outline safety precautions while cleaning the apartment. These characters have unique ways to handle stressful situations, so it's likely you'll find a voice that resonates with you.
If you’re feeling stressed out about going back to campus this fall, that’s normal. If you’re planning on staying home this fall and learning remotely, that’s perfectly fine, too. If you want to feel things out and take them day to day, I totally get it. Each character in New Girl would have a wildly different approach to this pandemic. While I watched this sitcom, I found comfort in how they all had their own ways to handle their problems. It was a gentle reminder that it's okay to feel how I feel.
Here’s our lesson from the characters of New Girl: Don’t worry about how you’re handling a problem, or what other people will think—just focus on yourself and how you’re feeling, and you’ll be A-OK.
New Girl is available to stream on Netflix with a subscription!
- Love Island
You may be cringing at this pick, but Love Island is my guilty pleasure. During quarantine, I’ve watched two full seasons of Love Island Australia, and as hard as it is to believe, this reality show has really thrown me back into the world of socializing.
The people who go on Love Island may not interact or even talk to each other in the way most people do every day, but it’s still a great show to watch when you want to focus on social interactions (no matter how awkward they may be). This show oddly reminds me of college: you watch strangers awkwardly meet, live in the same house, and even sleep in the same bed!
At the start of my freshman year, I met my roommate for the first time and was immediately forced into sharing the same room as her. This show reminds me of the good, the awkward and the bad. Love Island also teaches you how not to introduce yourself. For example, don't start a conversation by giving someone your number of Instagram followers. Just don’t.
Love Island 101: Socializing with people is just plain awkward, but that awkwardness can often lead to lasting friendships and relationships if you put in the effort.
Love Island Australia and Love Island UK are available to stream on Hulu with a subscription!
- Indian Matchmaking
This documentary follows Indian matchmaker Sima Taparia. Taparia helps her clients find a complementary partner and arranges their marriage. When we all return to normal life, we’ll be faced with meeting people we sometimes may not like (just like the clients in the show).
Taparia describes how there are arranged marriages, and then there are love marriages. Love marriages are when two people find each other and fall in love without any outside influences, and arranged marriages are clearly when two people are matched based on their preferences and lifestyles. In terms of dating life in college, this show reminds me how hit-or-miss some dates are. Social situations can be incredibly awkward and difficult, but it’s necessary that we go through a few first-meeting jitters, so we can actually connect and build relationships.
Since we’ve all been at home for about five months now, we haven’t been placed in many social encounters, and this show will definitely help to remind us how to navigate interactions with others.
So, what can we learn about socializing from this show? We can learn that college dating life can sometimes be horribly awkward, but you’ve just got to keep trying.
Indian Matchmaking is available to stream on Netflix with a subscription!
- Queer Eye
I saved the best for last! Queer Eye is a gift from the gods — episode after episode, I’ve watched the “fab five” change people’s lives for the better. The group calls each person they help a “hero,” since those people are often struggling parents or selfless humanitarians who don’t always put themselves first. The fab five improve their heroes’ lives in every aspect, through food, fashion, grooming, design, lifestyle and culture.
But above all, they improve each of their heroes’ well-being and overall happiness through meaningful interactions. Through food and cooking, Antoni is able to connect with the heroes’ family roots. Through fashion, Tan is able to make each hero feel confident in their body. Through grooming and beauty, Jonathan is able to inspire beauty and health within each hero. Through design, Bobby gives each hero their dream home. And through culture, Karamo is able to delve into any insecurities the heroes may have. Through the exploration of those insecurities, Karamo makes each hero feel confident in who they are.
I will admit, I’ve let a tear or two escape in every Queer Eye episode that I’ve watched, but in the best way. Watching this show reminds me that if we just treat each other with kindness and empathy, the world can be a beautiful place.
The Queer Eye boys can teach us the greatest lesson of all: Be compassionate and caring with each person you meet, because you never know what struggles they’re facing.
Queer Eye is available to stream on Netflix with a subscription!
So what do these five shows have in common? They’re all extremely relatable (in one way or another)! Each of these shows has taught me that even though social situations are incredibly difficult and awkward sometimes, all we can do is make the most of it.