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5 Ways to Express Affection during COVID Without Hugging

I think we can all agree that the spread of COVID-19 has changed a lot about the world around us. Classes, concerts, and just about everything else have been moved online, and finding a way to interact with the people around you in a safe and appropriate manner is more difficult than ever. As an avid and frequent hugger, this is a dilemma for me. I am and always have been someone who expresses my love for others very outwardly, and with a lot of enthusiasm. I love hugs, handshakes, etc. However, Coronavirus has completely changed this.

Finding new ways to show my love for others -- especially now that I am finally meeting my college friends for the first time in person -- is imperative. All that being said, here are five ways that I have found to express affection, or just get out of the house with your friends, without giving hugs!

The Classic Elbow Bump

Not only is this one an iconic symbol of 2020, it can be super funny to do with
friends -- and it can be a cute photo op! The elbow bump allows you to “shake
hands” in a way without actually touching another person’s hands or getting too close to their face, so it had to be a part of my list. Never underestimate the elbow bump!

Write a Card

Writing a handwritten note is something that has died down so much since the creation and evolution of email, social media, and the internet in general -- so why not write a card? It can be customized in any way you want, and it is guaranteed to make the receiver feel special. Even just leaving a small sticky note on your roommates door to tell them how much they mean to you can be an incredible gift. When I arrived to move into my dorm a few days ago, I saw that my roommate had left a “Welcome Home Maddy” sign on our door, and my heart absolutely exploded -- it truly is the little things in life that mean the most.

Create a Playlist and Share Some Music

Music is the key to my heart and I think a lot of people feel the same way, so making a playlist or sharing some music that you love with the people you love can be a great way to show them that you care. Music is a huge part of life for many of us, and sharing our feel-good songs can easily lift our spirits during these crazy, uncertain times. Music can add to any occasion and warm our hearts in otherwise chilling times. (P.S. I would recommend any music by Vance Joy).

Video chats, of course!

Although Zooming is something that I think we’re all sick of, it can be extremely useful for social purposes, especially if the person you’re trying to connect with is immunocompromised or not feeling well. A simple FaceTime dinner date is enough to show the people you love that you miss them and want to make time for them.

Having just moved into my dorm as a freshman, FaceTime has been a lifesaver in keeping up with my family and life back at home. Although nothing beats an in-person, real-life interaction, video chats can be a close second. Any gathering, whether it be in person or online, is what you make of it!

Socially-Distanced Picnics

As if picnics weren’t amazing before, they have become a staple social interaction in 2020 amidst the pandemic and social distancing guidelines. A picnic in the park or by the water is the perfect outing if you want to get out of the house and spend some time with your peeps. You can get out and enjoy nature with your loved ones, all while clearing your head and appreciating the beauty around you, and it is a 2020-approved alternative to spending time with others in a crowded, enclosed space.

Hi! My name is Madelyn Byrd and I am from Summerville, South Carolina. Writing is something that I have always enjoyed doing, whether it be writing songs, creative or educational essays, or poetry. I am deeply interested in international relations and women's issues on a global scale, which is kind of why I am here! Some fun facts about me include: I am in the Honors College at the College of Charleston, and I love alternative and indie music, scary movies and dogs! I look forward to writing new pieces as often as possible with HerCampus at CofC!
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