Staying Social When Social Distancing

Staying Social When Social Distancing

For those of you who maintain an active social life, staying inside away from everybody may be challenging for you. Where before you could visit friends or meet up for dinner, now you’re instructed to stay indoors and only venture out for essential shopping or work.

So, how do you stay connected during social distancing?

Drawing on my own experience with my close friends and support networks, here is what can potentially work well for you:

Whatsapp

I’m in a few Whatsapp groups with different friendship circles, where the activity has certainly increased during this time. From saying good morning, sharing Netflix recommendations and saying goodnight, we’re making full use of this already beautiful online space between us.

If you’re not already in a Whatsapp group, consider putting one together with people who know each other, with their permission, of course. Use it as a space to “check in” with each other, share memes or talk generally.

Skype chats

While I’ve used Skype to connect with coaching or mentoring clients, until now I hadn’t really used it with friends. But with social distancing, we really needed an opportunity to see each other in a safe way.

So, for the last three Saturdays we’ve had a group Skype call and it’s been awesome. Though we speak everyday, seeing familiar faces on a screen is something we’re so grateful for. It’s just nice to catch up that way and after a the first few minutes, it’s easy to forget you’re sitting in seperate houses and speaking through a screen.

Shared movie nights with friends

Social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the shared experience of watching a movie with your friends.

We’ve agreed on a choice of film in the group chat and then set a time where we all watch it together, with live commentary in WhatsApp. It’s quite an experience!

If you have a paid account with Netflix, you can share your details with friends who don’t have it. In fact, just before the need for social distancing, Netflix Party launched and provides users with the experience of watching a film with friends, with the added option of instant chat alongside the main screen.

The possibilities are there, just pick a film, coordinate your calendars and be open minded. You’ll soon feel like you’ve spent an evening with your friends.

Stay connected on social media

We’re incredibly lucky to have access to a wealth of online resources which help us connect with people from all over the world. It’s fair to say I have as many online friends as I do in real life.

With a need to maintain boundaries and privacy, my actual mobile number is shared only with those closest to me. However, I use social media DMs in the same way to connect with my online friends. From sharing memes, sending voicenotes and just replying to their IG stories, I use social media to stay connected.

One of the best things in all of this is people’s humour, albeit dark, in creating memes that we can all relate to right now. I don’t feel like I have laughed properly in some time, but those memes have given me a quick giggle and a few seconds of peace from all the worries I’ve been holding onto.

Social media continues to be a gateway for human connection, especially when we’re in a time where it is massively reduced and in some cases restricted. So, I’m glad it exists and I continue to use it daily, to feel like there is some normal in my world and to connect directly to the people who are a part of it.

Talk about the future

Remember, we’re not going to be social distancing forever. There will come a time when we can go out for dinner, watch movies at the cinema and live our lives outside again.

Planning ahead gives you a sense of hope, something postitive to hold onto and exciting to look forward to.

I’ve spoken about having and attending parties with masses of friends, of making sure I’ll be catching up with friends and having more days out with my children. There’ll be no waiting for the right weather or the right mood, I’ll be focusing on living life loudly and with my loved ones in tow.

This lockdown has forced many of us to rest and be still, when our lives are usually busy and full.

And while I know for certain there will be many losses from all of this, I hope at least we gain the ability to know how to slow down often enough to appreciate the many blessings we have.

As always, stay safe x

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