5 Ways To Have A Social Life During Quarantine

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5 Ways To Have A Social Life During Quarantine
Self

It’s been several weeks (I’ve lost count) since the end of socialization as we know it, and I’m starting to forget how I ever maintained relationships with anyone besides my roommate. (That’s if you call watching re-runs of Friends in shared silence a relationship.)

Yesterday, I felt uneasy by how closely Phoebe and Monica were sitting together on the couch in the Central Perk, I was utterly baffled by Ross bursting in from the streets of New York City without so much as washing his hands before sitting down!

I look at old photos of me and my friends cramped together in bars, and I try to reconnect with the social butterfly I used to be. But the FaceTimes are getting repetitive when no one has any new stories to share and most of my group chats have morphed into an endless newsfeed of links to the latest alarming statistic. 

So what now? How do you have a social life during quarantine?

RELATED: 7 Ways To Balance Mind And Body While Isolated In Coronavirus Quarantine

You’ve exhausted your Netflix recommendations, your wardrobe is organized by color and season, and your friends are no longer coming to your weekly video calls with the initial zeal we all had in the early stages of the lockdown. How do we restore some vibrancy to our social lives while staying safe?

Here are a few things I’ve found helpful to stop me carving tally notches into my wall like Tom Hanks in Castaway.

1. Get creative with themed video calls.

Part of the reason this change in my social life has been so alarming to me is that it has exposed my inability to have fun with my friends when there is only conversation involved. Are my friends only my friends because we have similar drinking habits and like to hang out in the same places?

Instead of confronting any questions like this, I’ve opted to introduce a central theme to some of my Zoom calls to spice up our catch-ups.

Margarita Monday in front of my laptop webcam is giving me my happy hour fix without having to overspend in a bar. If drinking is no longer doing it, try a costume party or a dress code.

Last night, on Zoom, me and my best friend squeezed into our old prom dresses and blasted our favorite noughties classics from our separate homes. Sanity has left the chat, but the fun doesn’t have to!

2. Sweat out your stress in a group workout.

I, for one, am getting sick and tired of fitness models on Instagram telling me there are “no excuses” while they show off their toned stomachs and at-home ab workouts. A global pandemic and existential dread is most definitely a valid excuse!

But even while I resist the pressure to come out of quarantine with a whole new physique, I have to say, moving my body a couple of times a week has been giving me an endorphin hit that’s needed these days. Pre-isolation, I rarely attended gyms unless it was a group activity, with the promise of a coffee and a catch-up after sweating it out in a spinning class.

So, if you’re entirely co-dependent on healthier friends with more self-discipline like me, why not schedule a virtual group workout? Load up a workout video on your phone and prop your laptop with the video call at the end of your yoga mat to give your friends all the good angles. This way, you can hold each other accountable and avoid sneaking back to the couch like you do when no one is watching.

Or, if you’re lucky enough to live close to your friends, get outdoors! I find it easy to stay six feet apart from my friends on a run... because I’m usually lagging that far behind anyway. 

RELATED: 13 Ways To Beat Loneliness During Quarantine When You Live By Yourself

3. Start a good old-fashion book club.

Maybe it’s the English major in me, or maybe I’ve watched Dead Poets Society one too many times, but I’ve always loved the idea of a book club. I just never had the excuse to force my friends to partake in one until now.

This is an awesome way to talk about things other than the impending doom in the world and gives structure to you calls with friends. It also fills your time for a sustained period because you actually have to read the book (or at least take the time to look up summaries online).

Each person in your group can take turns choosing a title you all have that's gathering dust on your shelves, or you can easily download an online version (shops are closed, so don’t go out to buy non-essential books). Then, set a deadline and schedule a call to discuss. Maybe try preparing some questions or reflections.

And if books aren’t your thing, maybe try a film club, a TV series club, or an old-episodes-of-The-Bachelor-Club? I’m all out of ideas here, guys. 

4. Have an almost in-person hangout.

The only thing more alarming these days than watching the news is seeing the amount of time I’m spending on my phone in my weekly screen time report. I personally don’t understand why Apple made this taunting feature or why I have it enabled, but now that our phones are our only source of social interaction, it's hard to remember to put it down.

That being said, I’m pretty sure I’m developing astigmatism in my eye from staring at a screen constantly, and I miss actually being able to see people without relying on my WiFi connection's ability to keep them in focus.

Some of my loved ones recently drove separately to a coastal lookout point and drank beers on their respective car hoods six feet apart. Meanwhile, my parents are being neighborly from a safe distance by setting up lawn chairs with the couple next door and conversing from opposite sides of the fence.

I might try it from the rooftop of my building and shout to the cute guy from across the street. And if you bring snacks to these socially-distanced hangouts, it's basically a dinner party, right?    

5. Make fun plans for the future.

This concept was obsolete in my mind until last week when my grocery store cashier asked me what I planned on doing when this was all over. I was shocked, honestly — there’s a future beyond all of this? I’d completely forgotten!

While crippling doubt seeps in every time I think of anything beyond the next three days, it’s important not to lose sight of our goals and plans, even if they have been thrown for a loop a little. My friends and I have been making a travel bucket list on a shared Google Doc. Turns out, there’s a lot of islands in Indonesia that we all want to go to someday.

Even though we’re all worried about finances and job security, it's good to have something to work towards someday. And it doesn’t have to be super-ambitious! Maybe there’s a local restaurant you always pass by and have been meaning to try, or road trip you’ve wanted to take.  

RELATED: 50 Encouraging Coronavirus Quotes About Social Distancing To Help You Cope With The Isolation

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Alice Kelly is a writer who covers lifestyle, entertainment and trending topics.

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