While the topic is timely, the idea of maintaining a social life when you can’t leave the house isn’t all that unique. A report earlier this year highlighted that 60% of Americans feel lonely — a figure that’s up 13% from just 2018. From parenthood to new trends in workplace culture, the causes of this uptick are certainly older than the recent social distancing many are participating in. With the most recent issues, however, we need to be looking at new solutions. We’ve pulled together a list of 10 ways you can have a social life without leaving home. We’re hoping you can use them now and in the future, too.
You knew this one had to show up first. There are about a million options to video chat these days. It’s not for every occasion, but it does offer a unique way to interact. When you can see the person on the other side of the conversation, it becomes so much more real. You get to see their expressions and you can imagine you’re right there with them.
Ah yes, the bane of many people. While it’s not always fun to get stuck on a group text that you wanted no part of, that same design flaw is also what keeps those conversations alive long past the ‘How are you?’ and ‘Fine’ texts.
Try Virtual Versions of Longstanding Events
Have you been forced to cancel weekly dinners and movie nights? Try virtual versions of events (and don’t be scared off by some initial technical hiccups). Call someone up just to eat dinner together. Use something like Netflix Party and watch every movie that came out in 1999 together.
Stick to a Schedule
If you’re feeling isolated, it’s easy to let the boundaries between different parts of your life blur. You’re on Slack with a coworker at 8pm on a Monday and on a call with your mom at 11am on a Thursday. Separating these out can make the social parts of your day more meaningful.
Take Advantage of the Live Features of Social Media
The major social media apps have added so many live features in the past couple of years. Instagram is a great example, and it’s getting quite a bit of use these days. Even if you’re not interacting in a chat, simply being part of something in real time can help you feel a bit more grounded.
Take Online Classes
Whether it’s a fitness class or an online course, many of these offer ways to interact. There are often communities on social media dedicated to discussing the ins and outs of certain at-home workout options. Online learning may have class discussions, too.
Introduce Older Family Members to Newer Tech
If there were ever a time to get Great Aunt Florence set up with FaceTime, it’s now. Just be ready to be very (very) patient.
Call Instead of Text
Tempted to shoot off a text to ask a loved one how they’re doing? Try a phone call instead. There’s nothing quite like plenty of practice to help you overcome your Fear of the Phone.
If you have absolutely nothing new to talk about, it’s tough to keep any kind of conversation going. Take a virtual tour of a museum. Learn some new interesting facts. Pick up some tidbits from a podcast. Count the number of eyelashes your new baby has.
Take Advantage of Virtual Versions of Games
Yes, everyone is likely playing Animal Crossing for the next month. That doesn’t mean you can’t also try some online versions of board games you used to play as a child.