Staying Connected During A Pandemic
You’re probably tired of hearing about the global pandemic. Trust me, I get it. I too am tired of talking about “these unprecedented times” and reading about every store that ever existed and how they are handling the COVID-19 pandemic. You’re probably just tired of 2020 in general. I feel ya.
Your summer probably didn’t turn out the way you thought it would at the beginning of the year. If you’re anything like me, everything you were looking forward to got canceled. For a hot second there, you couldn’t even go get ice cream with your friends because, well, someone decided that ice cream stands were non-essential.
Despite everything that’s going on, though, you probably feel a strong, deep desire to stay connected to others. Human beings are social creatures (as Aristotle put it), so that tension you feel when you’ve been away from your friends for so long is absolutely normal, even if you’d classify yourself as an introvert. It’s important that we stay connected with others; it’s how human beings cope with “unprecedented times.”
So, here are some things your parents probably scolded you for doing in 2019 but you should definitely be doing in 2020:
Keep your social media accounts updated. Seriously, social media has been a life-saver in 2020. It’s pretty much the only way I had to communicate with other people during the entire month of April. You don’t have to be on every platform, but definitely take the time to find one you like and utilize it to keep in touch with your friends. Do so responsibly, of course.
Learn the archaic art of talking on the phone. I know it sounds crazy, but back in the day, we used to use phones to call each other. Talking via social media and texts is a great way to stay connected, but you don’t always get to hear your friend’s tone of voice, the volume they’re speaking at, etc. when you do it that way. Talking on the phone provides a different communicative experience. Try it out!
Lights, camera, action! Video-calling was another life-saver that resurfaced in 2020. Your schools might have used Google Classroom or Microsoft Teams to hold classes “in-person” once everything closed down. A lot of people became familiar with Zoom. There are tons of programs that allow you to video call your friends (Facetime, Facebook Messenger, Snapchat…) so take advantage of them and get your friends together for a chat.
Host a Netflix party. In case you missed it, there’s an extension that allows you to host watch parties on Netflix. It puts you and the friends you invite into a private chatroom, so you’re all watching the movie at the same time and talking to each other throughout. Back in the day, we had to be on the phone at the same time and carefully plan when we would all hit the “play” button at the same time, in hopes that we would be within a few seconds of each other. Now Netflix does the work for you!
You’re probably finding out that, even while doing all of the above, you still find yourself feeling sad and lonely. That’s because digital communication can’t fully replace the experiences you have when you hang out with your friends in real life. It isn’t ideal, but it’s the best that we can do right now in order to keep ourselves and others healthy during a time of crisis.
What are some ways you and your friends have stayed connected?