5 Ways to Hang Out With Friends Virtually

If you’ve found yourself looking for something to do amidst this pandemic, one that doesn’t involve refreshing Instagram every few minutes, you’re in luck. There are plenty of ways to get your daily fix of fun from the comforts of your home and most of them are free!

Let’s look at all the ways that you and your friends can be alone together:

Watch a movie or TV show

This is easily the most popular thing to do with friends remotely and I couldn’t be happier about it.

Netflix Party is a popular Chrome extension that’s been getting a lot of buzz. It’s a way for you and your friends to watch a video on Netflix together in synchronized playback and talk about it in their custom chat sidebar. The Chrome extension is free but everyone watching needs to have or borrow a Netflix account, as well as a computer with a Chrome browser.

If you’d prefer to watch a movie with someone and actually see their face at the same time,  I recommend Zoom. It’s a popular video-sharing website and app where you can create a free account. Once you’re video chatting with your friends, you can share your screen and watch movies together while continuing to chat with them over video. It might take longer to set-up but you don’t have to type out all your thoughts while the movie is streaming and it’s especially helpful if the content you want to watch isn’t on Netflix.

Draw

FlockDraw is a really great website for remote drawing sessions. There is no signup required, just simply go to the website and create your own session. Share the link with your friends and you’re good to go. It’s not very elaborate in terms of artistic options but it’s super simple and requires no set-up on your end. Plus, it’s super easy to play Tic-Tac-Toe or Hangman to kill some time. Picture FlockDraw as the equivalent of having a piece of paper that you guys are doodling on at the same time with a live chat to boot.

Listen to music

Want to show your friend a new song? JQBX is a really great music sharing web app for that. It’s basically Netflix Party for Spotify. Everyone needs a Spotify premium account so that you can create your own private room, link-share it with your pals and take turns DJ’ing. It’s super easy and it’s a fun way to just geek out to your favourite artists’ albums or discover your new obsession.

This one’s cheating a bit: SyncTube is hands down the best way to watch YouTube videos together. The website is not technically just for music but it’s a great way to watch music videos and discuss it with your friends in the chat. It requires no sign-up and is completely free. Just create a room and copy and paste the YouTube URL into its built-in search bar. In minutes, you’ll be playing and pausing your favourite music videos and having a grand ole time.

Play a game

Steam has a relatively new remote play feature and it’s awesome. For those of you living under a rock, Steam is a fan-favourite video-game hosting platform that lets you play a large variety of games. Creating an account is free however games can cost anywhere from $0 - $20. It’s like an app store, some games don’t cost anything but you might have to pay a few bucks to get the ones that interest you. The good news? Only one person needs to buy the game. Everyone else just needs a decent internet connection and a free account. With a simple invite link, they’ll be able to interact with the game displayed on your computer screen.

Sing karaoke

Alright, let’s get this out of the way. No, Smule is not free. Yes, depending on what your idea of fun is, it’s totally worth it. Smule is an app that lets you sing a wide selection of karaoke songs with your friends in real-time. You can sing duets as a dual-screen video pops up on your phone. And if you want to make a night of it, you can always spice it up with a drink of your choice. I recommend trying out their seven-day free trial, so if you just plan on doing one karaoke party, it’s completely free for you and your friends to test out. If you like it enough to want to do it again? Check out their one-month subscription for $7.99.

Cabin fever season is in full force, let’s make the most of it.