Staying Social in a Socially Distant World

     I once had a dream that seemed completely normal except for one major factor: I had a belt on with swords sticking out in every direction. Everywhere I went, people scrambled out of my way so as not to get brutally stabbed by my sword-adorned belt. Sharpness in every direction causes them to run away in fear. While this scenario was simply a nightmare I dreamt of, it adequately reflects how most of society is currently feeling. Covid-19 has changed every aspect of life, but social distancing has affected people the most.

     As a college freshman, I am struggling a bit with how to make new friends when everyone has to stay six feet apart. It seems impossible to gain meaningful friendships without being able to invite someone over to hangout. After doing some research, I found that there are actually many ways to make connections from the safety and comfort of your own homes. These five ideas will not only help you get to know a new friend, but also allow you to grow your relationship with current friends you haven't seen in a while! 

 

1. Zoom Nights

     Although Zoom has become a thing of every college student's nightmares, it can actually be a really fun and useful app when staying in contact with friends! This virtual meeting service allows groups of friends to eat dinner, catch up, share stories, and enjoy one another while maintaining plenty of distance. It is especially good for larger groups of people who can't safely gather in real life.

 

2. Online Gaming

     There are so many free apps and games available for use right now! One game my friends and I love playing together is All Bad Cards. This is an online version of Cards Against Humanity and it is completely free to play. The best part is, you don't have to be in the same place to play! When we want to play, we either Zoom or just text out the link and wait for everyone to join the game. Another fun game to play is Jeopardy! There are many free website where you can recreate the popular TV game show. My family hosted a "McNew Jeopardy Trivia" and it was so fun to play while using Zoom screen sharing!

 

3. Picnic

     If there are only two or three of you, a good and safe option is to go grab a cup of coffee or get lunch and have a mini picnic! There are so many beautiful parks to sit in and share time with friends and family while still being socially distant. Just remember to bring your masks and stay six feet apart!

 

4. Movie Night

     A really fun thing to do with your friends while socially distancing is to host a virtual movie night! There are a lot of free websites, such as TwoSeven or Netflix Party, that allow you to video chat while watching a movie synchronously. This means you and your friends can watch your favorite show at the same time AND be able to video chat in real time. All you have to do is download a web browser extension and then you'll be able to have a safe movie night with your friends. 

 

5. Join a Fitness Circle

     Fitness is important and what's a better time to workout than when everyone has to stay distanced? If you and your friends usually work out together, or even just like to work out in general, a fun idea would be to start a group chat made specifically to set fitness goals and share achievements. Everyone could work out on their own and then log it in the chat, then, at the beginning or end of every week, set a new goal for the upcoming week. You could also find many apps, such as Strava, where you can create fitness circles and share photos and workout progress. This is a fun way to stay active (and socially distanced) with your friends. 

 

     Social distancing sucks, but it doesn't mean we have to stop sociallizing altogether. There are so many options when it comes to safely being able to have fun with your friends or getting to know new friends! In the end, EVERYONE is wearing a belt of swords and they are all looking to stay social in this socially distanced world.