Five Tips for Maintaining Friendships During Social Distancing
- Social Media
- Skype and Other Video Technologies
- Social Games
- Phone Calls and Texts
The Coronavirus has forced people to stay home and keep their distance from one another. While this may be a good way to slow down the spread of the virus, it’s not so good for maintaining friendships and mental health. Fortunately, there are a number of technologies that allow friends to continue to connect with each other, even if they can’t do it in person. Here are five of them.
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Email has become such a common way to connect that few people actually write traditional postcards and letters these days. Given the command to practice social distancing during the COVID-19 outbreak, email has become one of the go-to communication methods during the pandemic.
Through email, friends can share funny videos, links to interesting news stories and personal anecdotes and feelings. Given how isolating the situation with the virus is the last matter, the sharing of feelings is particularly important. People feel less isolated when they can share their thoughts and feelings with one another.
2. Social Media
Social media sites, like Twitter and Facebook, allow friends and family to catch up with one another, to share photos and videos and to watch video newscasts. Social media also allows a group of friends to carry on a group conversation, which gives them a chance to catch up with more than one friend at a time.
3. Skype and Other Video Technologies
According to Psychology Today, people have gotten pretty clever when it comes to socializing with friends over video technologies, like Skype.
Some friends have worked out video happy hours, book club meetups or coffee chats. This allows them to interact in real-time. It also replicates some of the activities that people normally do together, like drink coffee and have snacks.
This is an important component of maintaining mental health during the Coronavirus pandemic. Humans are meant to be social. It is how they are wired. Video chatting technology, plus the addition of a cocktail or a cup of coffee, allows them to maintain their social rituals, even in the midst of the pandemic.
4. Social Games
With multiplayer video games, like World of Warcraft, game playing has become both a source of fun and a source of socialization. These games have been popular for a number of years now, and many people develop friends across the globe because of them.
Now, because COVID-19 demands social distancing, gaming-as-social-connection has grown even more popular, according to NPR. Some game players use a multiplayer game’s chat function to communicate with their friends, while others have introduced other technologies, like Zoom or Discord to add the option to talk to each other in real-time.
5. Phone Calls and Texts
Naturally, phone calls and texts haven’t gone away during all of this. People still use these tools to reach out to their friends and loved ones. Smartphones have another advantage besides talk and text, however. They are compatible with social games and other apps, giving people even more options for connections.
The Coronavirus has all but stopped in-person social interaction, and while social distancing keeps the numbers of sick people down, the resulting social isolation can wreak havoc on people’s mental health. However, there are some simple solutions: In the time of COVID-19, friendship has moved out of the face-to-face realm into the digital realm.