Coronavirus is making people feel a lot of things:
Fear, anxiety and confusion being big ones.
There’s also another side-effect of self-quarantine, social distancing, and the coronavirus — — loneliness.
A huge reason why people aren’t following the protocols is that a lot of people don’t want to be alone.
I’ve worked remotely for almost ten years now and have been a homebody and introvert for even longer. Despite that, I feel lucky to have profound and meaningful friendships, some of which are entirely digital.
Here are a few actions I’ve taken over the years to make sure my friendships are strong, even when I can’t see them in person.
These are also great tips if you want to be social without being on social media all day, which can be draining and depressing.
Talking On The Phone
I know Millenials have developed a reputation for hating the phone, but nothing makes me feel more connected than a phone conversation. One of my closest friends lives on the opposite side of the city. Once a week, we have long phone conversations that keep us feeling connected between meetings. You feel as if you’ve been in person with someone after a long chat, and you get to a level of intimacy, you can’t get via texting.
Skype Lunch/Dinner Dates
I learned this one because LA residents struggle to see each other because of traffic. I like to plan lunch dates with friends via skype. You can eat and chat like you would in person. I recommend this for people who are just diving into remote work life. Check-in with a co-worker for a “shared” meal. It will do wonders for your mood.
One of my best friends (who I’ve only met once) has a mystery book club. We read at least three books a year together. The key is to keep it low-pressure and to make it easy for people to read at their speeds. We always have a list of 3 books we are reading at a time and will check in about our thoughts via text or voice memos. Most book clubs fail because there tends to be too much pressure. Make sure it’s easy and doable. Try not to pick any heavy books or ones that aren’t page-turners by design. We started with Gillian Flynn's books because they were such addictive reads.
Text Movie/Show Watches
I’ve been doing these with my friends for YEARS. It is so fun to watch a movie at the same time, even if you aren’t together. Text movie watches work best when you have a show you are watching together because that gives you a reason to meet up at least once a week to check in with each other.
Podcast Listening Club
Same rules as a book club but a lot easier. I’d suggest a true-crime podcast or an audio drama for this one. Last year I listened to the podcast “The Dropout” with a few friends, and it was an entertaining way to connect over the craziness that went down with Elizabeth Holmes. Just another excuse to connect with your friends more genuinely and learn more about each other.
Playing Games and Starting New Projects
I’ve recently gotten into Words With Friends, but you can also do real-life projects. Over the years, my friends and I have completed yoga challenges, writing challenges, and more. Right now, one friend and I are learning how to crochet cut baby yodas.
Voxer, Marco Polo, and Audio Notes
If you aren’t into the phone, try some of the audio/video messaging apps. It’s a great way to add a layer of intimacy to friendships without the commitment of the phone. I love getting notes from my friends.