I don’t know about you, but I’ve sorely missed in-person social gatherings and activities during this pandemic.
Although several different states have varying restrictions on group activities at the moment, the CDC recommends having no group gatherings to minimize spread during a time of high numbers for COVID-19 cases.
This restricts any social or friend gathering to a remote setting, rather than in-person. And while Zoom hangouts and parties have grown popular over the past year, I’ve grown to be underwhelmed and even bored with the whole thing.
Other writers have remarked on the uniquely awkward nature of Zoom parties, so I know I’m not alone in this assessment—Zoom parties can get repetitive and become a hassle, which shouldn’t be what social activity feels like. Instead, it should be relaxing, getting to hang out with friends, even if it’s only virtual.
So, I thought it would be a good idea to give some tips and tricks for how to make remote social activities more fun and entertaining for everyone. Because we all deserve to hang out and relax with our friends, even if we can’t do it in person at the moment.
A cartoon image of a desk, complete with a desk light, a mug, a potted cactus, and a laptop in sitting in the middle. While being able to stay connected even in the midst of a pandemic is a great thing, there are some downsides to remote activities that are hard to ignore.
5 Ways to Make Virtual Hangouts More Fun
- Stream a TV show or movie together. With streaming features like Netflix Party or DisneyPlus GroupWatch, multiple people can stream the same movie or TV show while on Zoom or FaceTime. This is a great way to keep everyone invested during the hangout, while also giving you something to talk about.
- Play a virtual game together. We all remember when Among Us took over the Internet for a few months. As a group game best played virtually, it’s one of the more perfect social distancing activities. But if you don’t like Among Us, or want to try something different, there are also games like Uno, Town of Salem, and Jackbox Games that you can try out during your next Zoom party.
- Have a PowerPoint Party. The idea behind this is simple—create a five-minute PowerPoint presentation on a niche subject, and present it to the rest of your friends over Zoom. I’ve seen this used as an icebreaker at club meetings, and it’s always a hit—one guy I know even did a presentation on different types of grass, and it was hilarious, and one of my favorite presentations of the night.
- Try baking together. It’s sort of like a book club, but more interactive. You could all pick a recipe and try making it together over Zoom. This way, there’s always something to do while you’re on the call, and you can compare the finished goods together. This is especially a good idea if your friend group is more hands-on, or you’re looking for something to fill up long silences.
- Make trivia games for each other. This is sort of similar to the “games” idea, but I used to do this in high school with my friends. The idea is that you create a trivia game about yourself on a platform like Kahoot, and then get all your friends to play the game to see who knows you best. It’s a fun way to pass time, and can make you feel closer to your friends.
A cartoon of four hands, each holding a puzzle piece that connects together. In a time of upheaval and uncertainty, being able to truly bond with and maintain friendships is more valuable than ever.
It’s frustrating to have to stay socially distanced from your friends, but with the pandemic, it’s also the safest thing to do.
So hopefully, with these tips and tricks, you can still feel connected to and interested in meeting up with your friends, even while staying remote. Remember to stay safe out there!