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May 13, 2020

Keeping in Touch with Your Friends During COVID-19

By Andy Goffin

Stuck at home missing your friends? You’re certainly not alone. I wish I had known my time with my closest friends at school would end so abruptly. At most schools, the weather was just starting to get warmer and the spring semester was beginning to hit its stride. Now, the current state of COVID-19 has forced people to accept this new norm of staying at home. If you had previously spent all day every day with your friends at school, you have likely been facing a strange transition to quarantining with your family; maintaining friendships during this time can be extremely challenging.

I was initially worried about communicating with my friends when there was not much to discuss (particularly when there are no sports on TV!) besides COVID-19. Yet I have realized that I needed to be making the most of my time at home. By utilizing modern technology and resources at home, I have found that participating in shared activities and initiating group conversations have made my friends feel as close as possible to me when we are all across the world. Stride suggested a few ideas to stay connected with friends during quarantine.

Gamers Unite

Whether you’re into board games, video games, or something else, you now have more than enough time to play your favorite games. Connecting with my friends through Xbox has been a daily activity for me, whether we are playing the same game together or our own respective games. Hopping into an Xbox Live party and playing NBA 2K20 with my friends from our remote locations has given us an outlet to communicate every day. If you’re not all playing the same game, it is still enjoyable to have someone with whom to talk as you play.

If you’re most accustomed to playing board games, many of your favorite games have online versions with multiplayer features. Hop on a Zoom call with your best friends and play Settlers of Catan or poker from your bedroom, or rotate through some extremely addicting GamePigeon games with your friends on iMessage.

Keeping Up with the Group Chat

Most college friend groups have a group text, and just because you’re not at school doesn’t mean that the constant texts need to halt. Sending memes, class updates, memories, and other general news always seems to spark conversation among my friends in our group chat. Often when these conversations have multiple involved, one person will start a group FaceTime, and suddenly we will all have an impromptu video call. It has definitely been meaningful to see

friends’ faces during this time and know that everyone is in this current state together.

Have a Netflix Party

Watching Tiger King or your favorite movie on Netflix with your friends from each of your homes has never been easier. With the free Google Chrome extension called Netflix Party, subscribers can start, stop, and pause a Netflix show or movie at the same time in groups of family and friends. A side chat bar also allows viewers to discuss what’s happening in the movie. If you are using a streaming service other than Netflix, browser extensions like TwoSeven also have similar collaborative capabilities.

Workout Buddies

The excuse “I didn’t have time” when it comes to working out is no longer valid during this pandemic. It certainly can be more challenging to exercise at home without the necessary equipment, but having friends motivate you during quarantine can make a huge difference. Create a workout plan with your friends and stay on top of each other for following it. Every day, check in with your friends and see what muscle group they’re doing that day. Your friends and you can return to school in the fall (presumably) looking bigger than ever.

Bring the Party to your Computer

Many people likely miss going out after a long week of work. Knowing that you have consistent weekend plans always motivates people to power through the week. While it definitely is not the exact same experience, schedule a Zoom call with your friends for a Friday night and try to make the most of it. Get creative with games to pass the time, like these ideas from VinePair. Have friends invite new people so you’re still meeting people. I must admit socializing through Zoom has not created the most ideal situation, but if everyone buys in and accepts this new norm, we can all get through this time together.

What are your ideas to stay connected?

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