Distant but Not Apart: Strengthen Your Relationships Virtually


Staying home may be good for productivity, but it’s not great for socializing. Seeing friends and family can be challenging during the COVID-19 pandemic. Social distancing makes socializing hard. You might feel like you’re isolated from the people you hold dear, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You can enjoy time together and even strengthen your relationships. It’s not the same as it was before the pandemic, but it can still be meaningful.

Schedule Regular Times to Meet

Schedule video calls with family members and friends. This might mean scheduling a video call with a different family member each night of the week, if you have multiple social groups that you stay in touch with. You’ll get better at socializing online as time goes on.

Remember to make eye contact with the camera, so the people you’re talking to will feel like they’re really in the same room with you. Don’t force the conversation, but keep a mental list of the things you want to talk about, to shorten any awkward silences. After a while, your video conversations will start to feel like normal in-person conversations. 

Consider Games or Activities

Games you can play remotely are common now, which means you can play games with the people you love, even if they’re not nearby. Some options:

Virtual escape room. Virtual escape rooms are team-driven activities. To escape the room, your team must answer questions or riddles correctly. The first team to escape the room wins!

Among Us. This online game takes up to 10 players and can be played online, so join your friends in other households, in other cities, even across the country. 

Have a little fun on your Zoom call. Turn your Zoom call into a special occasion. Get dressed up. Make a nice dinner and sit down to eat together. Have a dance party over your video call. Have some wine, if it suits you. You can even work on a puzzle together, putting together the pieces on your respective puzzles while you talk. It’s not the same as being together…but it can be fun all the same. 

Make Plans for the Future

Don’t be afraid to make plans for when the country reopens. Make a budget for upcoming trips you plan to take. Talk about favorite restaurants, favorite get away destinations and favorite shops where you and your friends or family like to spend time. Make a list of places you’d go together – you can even explore them ahead of time on GoogleMaps!

Someday, we’re all going to spend time in the same space once again. When that day comes, you’ll want to have spent this time feeling close and connected. Make a plan with your relatives and friends to make this time together more enjoyable. 

About the Author: Kathryn Elwell grew up in the Midwest. She has experience in management and human resources, and has been writing on these topics and more for 12 years.

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