I’m not going to lie, I was really hesitant to publish this post. I know that the current situation with coronavirus is important, but seeing it on the news and media 24/7 is just too much. I know many bloggers and YouTubers are putting out tips for working in a new environment, but in this “new normal,” work and school aren’t the only things that have changed. The way most of us communicate and maintain social connections has radically changed, and for many, it’s the first time being “long-distance” with friends. I’ve never lived near one of my best friends (who’s practically my sister at this point), so thankfully, I have a little practice with long-distance communication. After counseling one of my other friends on how to maintain her friendships and relationships in this “new normal,” I thought it might be helpful to share my tips here.
It’s the Little Things on the Daily
When you’re with your friends, they’re there to experience all the silly little moments life has to offer. Even in quarantine and social isolation, you’ll still have those little moments, so don’t be afraid to share them now! Snapchat is great for showing and telling, but even a simple text is great! If you see a post on Instagram that makes you smile or reminds you of your friend, be sure to pass it along! The little things all add up, and even just a simple “good morning” and “goodnight” text everyday can help you stay in touch even when you’re far apart.
Video calling is probably the most obvious way to stay in touch, but it’s still worthy enough to make the list. If you can’t be with someone, there’s nothing better than being able to see their face, hear their voice, and have a full conversation in real time. I do have to say its definitely not feasible to video chat with your friends every single day, but if you try for once a week or even one every few weeks, you’re doing great. It’s always a couple-hour long party when I do group FaceTimes with my friends, and even just a one-on-one FaceTime session over break tends to be quite a long call. If not everyone in your friend group has an Apple product, don’t worry, video chatting is still an option! Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat all offer video chat services within their apps, as does WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Zoom and Skype are the best-known video-chat services, but Google Hangouts and Microsoft Teams are also an option. For a real throwback, I believe Houseparty is still a thing (remember when it was popular about 4 years ago?).
If you’d play games in person, play games online! Yes, it’s definitely missing that face-to-face connection, but the sentiment is surely there. I always love to play Exploding Kittens with my friends (yes, there’s an app for it). My friends loved to play Cards Against Humanity Together, so Evil Apples is a digital alternative for it. iMessage and Snapchat games are also always fun, and certainly work in situations where everyone might not be available at the same time, or in the same time zone.
Read and Watch (and even Listen) Clubs
Movie nights are certainly a highlight in college, so why do they have to stop now? Watch, and read, clubs are a great way to stay entertained, and keep in touch. The best part? You only need one other person to do this! Once a week, or every few weeks depending on everyone’s schedules, pick a TV show or movie to watch. Everyone involved watches the selection, and then discusses! You can either have a group message thread starting after a certain day, or you can schedule a group call if it works with everyone. It’s like a digital book club, only with Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+. You can even do the same with new music, new books, really all media! If everyone has the time, there are also some screen sharing apps that are premiering, like Netflix Party and Rabbit. I personally haven’t used either yet, but from what I understand, they allow everyone on a call to watch the same content in real time, so it’s live a true digital movie night.
The current situation is definitely hard and it can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. I’m confident in saying no one asked for this, but we can all work with what we have and make the most of our situation! Thankfully, modern technology allows us to stay in touch with all of our friends, no matter where they are in the world. And soon enough, we’ll all be together again, and all the new memories we make together will be even more valuable. Sending lots of pixie dust your way!
See ya real soon,