How to stay close at a distance: Things to do with friends during a pandemic

Use technology to your advantage with these fun and easy ideas to stay connected with friends


Lucian Novosel

Unsplash / Lucian Novosel

In the age of social distancing, it may feel like you’re completely alone. But you can still hang out with your friends. We live in a digital age, so why not use that to our advantage? Video call apps like Skype, FaceTime or even Zoom are great ways to stay in touch while in self-isolation. Whether it’s one friend or a whole group,  set up a time where you’re free to talk. While just talking can be fun, here are a few cool ideas that you can do with friends while social distancing. 

Have a movie night

If you love movies, this is the choice for you. With Netflix Party, a free Google Chrome extension, you can invite your friends to watch Netflix with you online. Netflix Party synchronizes video playback and adds a group chat to your favorite movies and shows. All you need is a Netflix account and Google Chrome. From there you install the extension and create a party. Only people with the shared URL link are allowed to join and you can invite as many friends as you want. So pop some popcorn,  grab some snacks and choose a movie you’d all want to watch and there you have it. 

Have a game night

Game nights are a personal favorite. If you have a game console with an online subscription, you’re pretty much golden. You can play popular games like Fortnite, Mario Kart or the public’s most recent favorite, Animal Crossing. All you have to do is share your usernames with your friends and connect online. If you don’t have a game console like a Nintendo or Xbox, fear not for there are still ways for you and your friends to have a game night. You can download mobile apps for card games like Cards Against Humanity or Exploding Kittens.  Popular party games like Jackbox Games are also encouraging users to play remotely. There are also websites like Pogo, which allow you to play board games like Monopoly online. If you’re feeling nostalgic you can head over to Club Penguin Online and play the recreation of a childhood classic. You can join the same server and hangout out with your pals in penguin form playing fun mini-games together. 

PowerPoint party night

A trend that started on TikTok has become quite popular among friend groups. The idea? You choose a topic that you’re passionate about and you make a PowerPoint for it. Then you can use a group video app like Zoom, something most college students have become quite familiar with, and present them to your friends and have a discussion afterward. If you want you can set a theme for the PowerPoints or let your friends go rogue and see what they come up with. Not only is this a fun thing to do with friends, but also a cool way to learn new things that you may not have been that informed about.

Have a dance party 

There’s a DJ who’s been live streaming sets while everyone has been social distancing. DJ D-Nice hosts Instagram live dance parties that anyone can join if they have an Instagram account. You could do this all on your own or hit up some of your close friends and have them join in with you. Again, with parties like these, Skype, Zoom and FaceTime are definitely your best friends. Apps like JQBX allow you and your friends to listen to the same music in real-time. Using your Spotify account, JQBX allows you to create a room that you share with friends so you can all groove to the same music without having to worry about starting the song at the same time. So, download this app, hop on a video chat with your friends and get to partying. 

Karaoke night

Just like a dance party, you can also host karaoke nights through apps like Zoom. Create a Zoom link that your friends can join and set some ground rules. If someone is singing solo, mute your mics and let them shine. If there’s a duet then use the share screen function so that everyone can see the lyrics. YouTube channels like Sing King Karaoke and Sing2Piano make some excellent backing tracks for karaoke nights. If you want to spice things up, add a level of competition to it. Make your own Quarantine Idol, have your friends judge and crown someone the winner at the end of the session. 

The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t been easy on anyone. At times, it might feel you’re going through this alone because your friends are so far away. Whether they live in a different town or a different state, give your friends a call even if it’s just to say hi. Communication is important during times like these, so do all you can to stay close with your friends. 


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