Human beings are social animals. When we are told to not be social, to stay away from one another and to avoid contact with others, it can detrimental to our well-being. We aren’t built for social distancing! But, in the wake of a pandemic, and for the sake of saving lives, we all need to sacrifice and do it. But we also need to find ways to stay connected while social distancing, so that we don’t go crazy and we can get through this pandemic together.
Stay Connected While Social Distancing
I’m incredibly thankful that we have the technology to stay connected while social distancing. While it’s true that talking through a screen isn’t ideal, it’s way better than not having any human interaction at all. There are quite a few methods of staying connected for face to face meetings, playing games, and enjoying culture. Here are my favorite ways to stay connected while social distancing.
If you use Apple products (I don’t – I’m a Samsung girl myself) you can use Facetime as a way to stay connected while social distancing. We use Apple stuff at my work, and I’ve been told that you can get nearly 30 people on a Facetime call!
So, if everyone in your family is an Apple user, you could potentially all get on one Facetime call. It’s a great way to have virtual parties and celebrations with your extended family without ever having to leave your home. The app is free, and available on the Apple app store.
Skype is the original video chatting app. It started the whole trend of face to face video calling, and oddly enough, it’s still around!
The great thing about Skype is that it works on both Mac and Microsoft products. The not-so-great thing about it is that only two-person face to face calls are free. Group calls are a premium feature, which will cost you either $4.99 per day or $8.99 a month.
Facebook messenger is my go-to app when I want to have a video call with one of my friends. It’s easy because all my friends are already right there, on my friends list. It’s easy to find anyone I’d want to chat with.
I’ve been using Facebook Messenger to have a face call twice a month with my best friend (the joys of living on opposite sides of the country) and it’s super easy to use. It’s also great to be able to see someone’s face while you are having a conversation with them. You don’t realize how much you miss that until you don’t have it anymore.
The app is free, and Facebook almost forces you to have it if you use their regular Facebook app. Privacy concerns aside, it’s a great app for staying connected.
I must admit, I’ve never actually used Google Hangouts before. I didn’t even know it was a thing until my bestie told me that her family used it to play Jack box! Google Hangouts is great because it supports up to 150 people in a single room!
I don’t know why you’d want to have that many people in one session outside of a wedding or a seminar (but hey, if you’re adamant about getting married during this time of social distancing, it’s a great way to invite everyone!) but it’s nice to have the option. With google hangouts, you should be able to invite anyone you’d want to come chat and hang out without worrying about filling up the room.
Jack Box Games
Speaking of Jack Box, if you want to do more than just talk, Jack Box is the way to go. Jack Box is a group of party games that you play with an internet connection, a computer/monitor, and a smart phone. One person in the group needs to own the game, and have the capability of sharing the screen with the others. I use a capture card and Twitch streaming, but my friend uses a projector and Google Hangouts. I’m sure creative people can come up with other ideas as well.
If you want to test out Jack Box games before you buy, head over to Twitch.tv and search for people playing Jack Box party pack games (there are now 6 different party packs to chose from!). Then go to jackbox.tv on your phone, and enter the room code to play along. Who knows – you may even find me streaming it! I’m going to use this time to see if I can make affiliate on Twitch.
Netflix wins the corona virus quarantine. I’m sure it was just luck that they were ready to release the awesome feather that helps people stay connected while social distancing just when social distancing became a thing, but it’s awesome.
Netflix has a new feature (or maybe it’s been available for awhile and no one knew because no one needed it). It’s a viewing party, where you can stream your favorite movies and tv shows with your friends and family and chat about it at the same time.
Facebook also used to have what they called Watch Parties, where you could watch your favorite shows while chatting with a group. I used it to watch Buffy and Angel a few times. I’m not sure if that’s still an option though.
Old Fashioned Phone Calls
As a millennial, phone calls are the bane of my existence. I hate calling anyone, from delivery services to family. Can’t I do it online? Couldn’t we resolve this issue via text or email?
But, its important to remember that just hearing someone’s voice actually does wonders in keeping us connected, especially while social distancing. So call your older relatives who may not be technologically savvy. See how they are doing. It will make them feel better, and you will be surprised at how good it will make you feel as well.
Other Ideas to Stay Connected While Social Distancing?
I’m not the most tech savvy person ever. I’m sure I probably missed a few methods to stay connected while social distancing. What are you doing to keep connected with your friends and family? I’d love to hear about all of your ideas in the comments!
And, if you’re bored, check out this post for more ideas of fun things you can do while maintaining social distancing
Melanie Allen is an American journalist and happiness expert. She has bylines on MSN, the AP News Wire, Wealth of Geeks, Media Decision, and numerous media outlets across the nation. She covers a wide range of topics centered around self-actualization and the quest for a fulfilling life.