If you are, like me, currently hitting the post-midterm, pre-holiday break downward spiral, you’re likely also finding ways to procrastinate your work. And what better way to avoid all responsibilities than by hanging out with friends?
Then, entering stage right, comes the dilemma of COVID-19. How do you manage to hang out with your friends while being safe? Luckily, my friends and I have you covered! Here, I’m going to rate eight things that my friends and I have done while hanging out based on entertainment and how well they follow social-distancing guidelines. I hope this list gives you some ideas for your next socially distant friend hangout!
A disclaimer: When spending time with friends, make sure to follow CDC and local COVID-19 guidelines! If you happen to be on campus, follow TAMU guidelines as well. Wear your masks and keep the distance! If you’re feeling sick, spread the love to your friends virtually instead (a lot of the things I talk about in this article offer a virtual option as well)!
- Among Us: 10/10
I think Among Us might be the online equivalent of Uno in the sense that it breaks friendships, but it’s also so much fun to play.
In case you’ve been living under a rock or just haven’t hopped on the hype train, the basic concept of Among Us is that, if you’re a crewmate, you and your fellow innocent, non-murdering crewmembers are supposed to complete tasks and/or kick out the imposter to win the game. If you are the imposter, then your job is to kill everyone, or at least enough people to where the imposter(s) and crewmates are equal.
In terms of keeping the distance, this game is perfect! Everything is online, and if you can’t be in the same area, your friends can send you their game code and you can join! There’s also a chat option within the game so you can talk if not together IRL.
As for entertainment purposes, this game can be addicting! It’s really exhilarating trying to find out who the imposter is, especially if you’re close to the end of the game. If you’re the imposter, it’s fun to watch other people point fingers at each other while you descend everyone else into chaos. (Unsurprisingly, this game has made me discover I’m good at lying.)
If you haven’t played this game yet, grab some friends (or join a public game) and try it out!
- Skribbl.io: 10/10
I have no artistic ability whatsoever, but we’re guessing words here, not painting the Mona Lisa.
Skribbl.io is similar to games like Pictionary and Draw Something, in which you’re given a word to draw and your friends have to guess what the word is. The main difference is that Skribbl.io is a website, while Pictionary and Draw Something are a card game and an app, respectively.
Similarly to Among Us, this game is completely online and no interaction is needed! The game is a lot of fun (it can be even more amusing if you, like me, suck at drawing). A personal recommendation: If you’re learning another language or speak more than one, try playing in that language! The game is available in 26 languages, and although trying to wrack my brain for Spanish words felt like trying to learn after quarantine, it was a lot of fun trying to figure it out with my friends.
- Uno: 8/10
Nothing beats a classic shouting match card game of Uno!
Like any other card game, the goal of Uno is to get rid of all your cards and make all of your friends suffer by stacking all the +2 and +4 cards you have (That’s officially against the rules, but it makes the game more fun. I do it anyways.) This game gets very competitive very fast, so tread with caution.
In terms of COVID safety, I had to take off points for the cards being passed between people. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 transmission via surfaces is uncommon, but it’s still a better idea to stay away from things that are passed to and from multiple people.
If you’d like to play without physical transmission, there is an online version of Uno as well as an app where you can play with friends. There’s also other similar games you can play online or on your phone (Crazy 8s on GamePigeon, anyone?)
- Phase 10: 5/10
Looking for a game that will kill time? Phase 10 might work for you!
The main goal of Phase 10 is to go through 10 phases (1 per round) and have the smallest amount of points by the end of the game. This game can go on for hours, so if that’s not your thing, I’d stay away from this one. I took off a couple of points because while I personally love this game, my friends did not share the same appreciation for it. It was very fun for me but tiresome for them.
Similarly to Uno, I took off extra points for interaction due to shared cards. To my knowledge, there is an app for Phase 10, but I’m unsure if you can play with friends.
- Cards Against Humanity: 8/10
Can you tell there’s a theme with cards here?
To keep this as PG as possible, and if you didn’t already know, Cards Against Humanity is a fill-in-the-blank card game where a phrase or question is given and players pick an answer from one of 7 cards they have. The judge picks their favorite answer, and that person wins the round. Whoever wins 7 rounds first wins the game.
There’s a twist: This game can be very gross–if you’re not a fan of dark humor or perverted jokes, skip out on this one. My friends and I find this game to be very humoring, so things get rowdy very fast (I am still surprised we have yet to receive a noise complaint). It’s hilarious to see everyone’s random answers to questions, and it can be very hard to decide on which answer is the best.
Again, interaction via cards takes off points here. There’s also an online version of Cards Against Humanity, as well as many similar games. There are also games like Apples to Apples, which is a rated G version of this game. If you’re not keen on the contents of Cards Against Humanity, that might work for you.
- An Off-Brand Version of “What Do You Meme?” with 2011 Memes that My Friend Found at a Thrift Store: 3/10
I know this is VERY specific, but I did not like this one. Considering my friend got this at a thrift store for $1, my expectations weren’t high for this game anyways, but I was still disappointed.
The format of this game, and its far better, on-brand counterpart, What Do You Meme?, is similar to Cards Against Humanity. A meme is given, players pick an answer from their cards describing the meme, a winning answer is selected, and voila! The round is over.
This game gave me the very particular vibe of a Facebook mom who still uses minion memes, and I don’t even have a Facebook account. I hadn’t seen a photo of Bad Luck Brian in YEARS until we played this game. I wish it had stayed that way.
Once again, points off for interaction since cards were involved. Need I further elaborate?
Just go buy the real version if you want to try this one. It’s far more entertaining.
- Binge Watching 90 Day Fiancé: 9/10
Reality TV isn’t my go-to TV genre, but this show makes me die of laughter every time. There definitely is a reason this show has such a large audience.
If you haven’t watched it, 90 Day Fiancé is a TLC reality show focusing on couples going through the K-1 visa process. The K-1 visa allows American citizens to bring their fiancés from other countries to the United States of America for up to 90 days (hence the show name) so that they can get married, and eventually allow their spouses permanent residency or citizenship. The show also has many spinoffs, with most preceding or proceeding an initial season of 90 Day Fiancé. A flipped version of 90 Day Fiancé comes in the form of 90 Day Fiancé: The Other Way, in which Americans move to their partner’s country of residency rather than having their partner move to the United States.
I find this show particularly amusing because oftentimes, those on the show are in very unusual predicaments. It often leads to cringy moments that can definitely be laughed off, a LOT of drama, and on occasion, a couple you can root for!
I took a point off of my rating solely because of the fact that I can’t focus with 3 other people in the room. I typically have a hard time focusing on my own, but with 3 other people putting commentary in, it’s a lost cause for me.
This works well for distancing! You can watch spaced out in an area, or via a video call.
If you’re looking for a place to start, Season 5 is my personal favorite!
- Conversing: 9/10
Oftentimes, if my friends and I can’t think of anything to do or we’re bored with everything else, we’ll just talk! Sometimes we’ll talk about what’s going on in our classes, our plans for the weekends, or really random topics like starting a hand sanitizer business because we’re broke college students. It really is one giant free for all, and every conversation is interesting in its own way!
This definitely works if you’re spaced out and wearing masks, but if you can’t meet up IRL, video calls are always a great alternative.
The only reason I took a point off of this is that my friends and I can get very loud. Again, very surprised we haven’t received a noise complaint yet. If you happen to hear us, I apologize in advance.
To wrap this up, I hope you’ve gotten something new to do with friends! There’s definitely a lot of things I still want to do (virtual Lotería sounds absolutely wonderful), so I may add to this list later! Stay safe, keep the distance, and wear a mask!