Maintaining Socialization

Rahul Khanna

Slumping in front of a screen all day, awkwardly hopping around to avoid personal contact with others and forgetting how it feels to even exist without a mask and hand sanitizer… it can definitely get to you. But even if we need to put a temporary halt on the all-you-can-eat buffets, or put off going to the theater for a few weeks, doesn’t mean we should turn off the lights, lock the door and shut ourselves away from the outside world. Here are some of the best ways to connect with others in a worldwide pandemic.

1. The old-fashioned telephone

At a time when physical interaction is unsafe, being able to hear other voices or see familiar faces, even virtually, is a great way to keep your sanity. All it takes is a device, some internet, and the initiative to get out of bed and connect with someone. With all the fancy new features being added to phones you can even Facetime multiple people at the same time. True, it isn’t as satisfying as face-to-face interactions, but it’s without a doubt the next best thing.

P.S. Zoom isn’t only for academic classes! Feel free to host a meeting, schedule a convenient time and invite a couple of friends to hang out. Though if I were you, I would probably steer clear of the breakout rooms.

2. Multiplayer video games

For everyone out there who enjoys gaming, multiplayer video games can be a great way to spend time with friends while having competitive (or non-competitive!) fun at the same time. Ever since quarantine began, there have been a ton of new online game releases that offer a great multiplayer experience. You can stick with tried-and-true classics like “Minecraft,” “Overwatch,” “Call of Duty” or “Super Smash Bros.,” or experiment with some of the hottest new games around, like “Among Us” or “Fall Guys.” The experience is also significantly better when you can talk to others while playing, so consider using Facetime, Discord or just plain-old calling. 

3. The great outdoors

While it is important that everyone tries to stay home as much as possible to prevent further spread of COVID-19, eventually there may come a point when you just want to get out of the house for a bit. Consider going to the park with a few friends, having a mini-picnic with a few people, or even better, taking a hike at a scenic trail. Many of the best trails are in coastal areas like Laguna Beach, Crystal Cove or Upper Newport Bay. After being stuck at home for the entire summer and forced to sit in front of a screen for the whole academic day, spending a few hours outside could be rewarding. 

4. Picking up hobbies virtually

Now that everyone has a bit of extra time on their hands, it’s the perfect opportunity to learn something new. It’s even better when done with friends—you could organize an online book club via Zoom or learn to cook with a friend on Facetime. While picking up a hobby can sometimes be frustrating when doing it on your own, doing it with others makes it significantly more fun and rewarding when you reach that finish line. Just remember to keep things low-stress, and emphasize spending time with others.

While quarantine can certainly be aggravating, maintaining connections with loved ones is more important now than ever before. Doing so doesn’t even need to be a daily routine—just take the time every couple of days, at least, to chat with someone outside of your house. Schedule a meetup with a group of friends when possible, whether virtual or in-person (with adequate precautions, of course). While these tips and tricks are a great source of ideas for how to spend time with loved ones, the initiative to connect will have to be yours.