Thanks to the internet and some very creative thinkers, we can learn how to socialize while social distancing. Let’s stay safe at home together!
The concept of looking for how to socialize while social distancing may sound like complete opposites. That is probably because they are. But, it doesn’t mean they can’t coexist.
Sure you can’t go to parties or get together with friends or family, but socializing does not have to be physical or traditional.
You can feel close to your friends and family without actually being close to them. You can interact and laugh and cry. Sure, you may not be able to hug, hand them a tissue, or share a sofa, but you can socialize while staying safe and keeping others healthy.
[Read: I feel lonely – how to overcome your feelings of loneliness]
What is social distancing?
Here’s a quick refresher course on what social distancing is and what it isn’t. Social distancing does not mean that you can have a party in your backyard as long as everyone stays six feet apart. Social distancing is the act of limiting face-to-face contact.
This is an important intervention that was put in place over most of the world to prevent the spread of a highly contagious and deadly virus. By conforming to these rules, you are limiting the risk to your health and the health of others. [Read: How to stay motivated during quarantine without losing your mind]
Social distancing, also known as, physical distancing, is necessary to slow the spread of the virus. It has already taken over one-hundred thousand lives worldwide.
It means that if you are able to, you should not go into work. It means you should limit time in public places. You should limit grocery shopping to once a week at the most.
You can exercise outside but must remain six feet apart from anyone that does not live with you. A mask or face covering does help. But it is not a replacement for staying home and away from others.
[Read: How to get your life together with healthy rituals]
If you must go to the pharmacy or to get supplies, wear a face covering that securely covers from the bridge of your nose to beneath your chin.
You can speak to neighbors from across the street or through windows or doors, but the further away you are, the better.
Staying off the roads unless it is complete necessary is also encouraged. You may be stir crazy but going for a drive adds congestion to the roads for essential workers.
Even if your mother lives down the block, if she does not live in your home, you should not visit her nor her you. You can speak on the phone or through a door. However, you should not be visiting anyone for any reason.
I know this seems intense, but we must take it seriously. If we break these rules, this will only go on for longer. The stricter we follow the rules, the better the result will be. And I am not just telling you to do this.
I haven’t seen my boyfriend off of a screen in over a month to protect him, his roommates, and me and my family.
[Read: How to handle social distancing from your partner and not feel lonely]
How to socialize while social distancing
Now that you know the rules, here are creative ways to socialize while following the social distancing guidelines.
#1 Have a virtual move night. We can’t go out to the movies or invite friends over to watch the latest Netflix thriller. Start a movie at the same time and either video chat or have a group chat to make fun of the bad acting.
#2 Send meals to each other from local restaurants. Right now, local restaurants and small businesses need our support more than ever before. Get a group together and do a sort of Secret Santa.
Order delivery for someone else without telling them who or what they are getting. Then once everyone gets it, they guess who it was from.
#3 Memes. This seems weird but memes bring a lot of joy. Quarantine memes, cat memes, and everything in between. Sending memes back and forth can put a smile on your face.
It is how most of us have been socializing digitally for years anyway. [Read: How to cheer someone up and make them feel awesome again]
#4 Play virtual games. Whether you are wearing a headset and playing video games or challenging each other at Words with Friends, you are interacting. You can socialize through games or add games to socializing.
Get a video chat together. Play trivia games, Cards Against Humanity, and a slew of other games that are now available to play via video calls.
#5 Reach out to old friends. Why not use this time to reconnect with old friends. How is your old roommate doing? Feel guilty for never calling your great aunt? Give her a ring and talk about the weather.
#6 Challenge friends and family. Create some friendly competition with friends and family. Film how fast you can stack cups, run a mile, or even fold a full load of laundry.
#7 Make a collective video. Unless you live under one roof, you can’t film a TikTok dance routine, but you can each film your own brief video. Then, edit the clips together. It is like a group project only you pick your own group and are doing it voluntarily.
#8 Use your drone. I’m not sure if you have seen the viral video of a couple getting together *safely* during quarantine due to the involvement of one man’s drone. It was modern-day magic. If you got a drone for the holidays now is your chance to put it to good use. Fly it over the neighborhood. Wave to friends who live nearby.
#9 Share recipes. If you like to cook or have recently taken it up since you’re at home, swap recipes with friends and family members. They can even guide you through the whole process via video chat. [Read: Ideas to make cooking with your partner more fun]
#10 Reminisce. Whether your friends are new or from decades ago, looking back on yearbooks and old photos is always a fun activity. You can flip through your yearbook on video call or just send embarrassing photos of each other to the group chat.
#11 Vent. Yes, it is important to remain positive and have hope right now. But, with all the thought going into that, we can forget to take a moment to really acknowledge how we’re feeling.
We don’t need to be strong and force happiness. Take time to talk to your friends and family about how you’re really feeling. You don’t need to dwell. But share that you are having trouble sleeping, with a friend or family member who can remind you that you are not alone.
Socializing isn’t just for the good times but the bad times too. We all have good days and bad days normally. In such uncertain times, it is more true than ever before.
Be there for each other. You don’t just have to cheer each other up. You can vent, and cry, and complain to each other without judgment.
[Read: How to fight loneliness while self isolating in a pandemic]
Figuring out how to socialize while social distancing can be confusing. As long as you follow the rules and lean on each other *metaphorically*, we will get through it together.