We’re all getting used to new routines and new ways of life right now.

One of the many new normals is video chats instead of in-person chats; there’s no hugging or gentle, reassuring pats on the shoulder here, unfortunately. Yet these video chats are our lifelines – they provide much of our only sense of connection at the moment. Since we’re going to be video chatting for a while here, we’re sharing some tips for keeping them fun and consistent.

 

1. Schedule out your virtual hangs, and schedule them regularly

Knowing that you have a 3pm meeting with your two BFFs on Thursday is something you’ll look forward to all week (even if you can’t keep track of what day it is – same boat here). Having these meetings set up makes them feel like goals you get to reach throughout the week. “If I do 2-3 hours of job hunting today, then I get to Skype with my family this evening!” I’ve always found that a reward-based system helps me get things done. It’s also good to remember, though, that if you don’t get that 2-3 hours of job hunting in, it’s okay. We’re all going through it here – take it easy on yourself and don’t worry too much about maximum crisis-bound productivity. Just check in with your people as often as you feel comfortable with.

 

2. Plan your video meetup around a theme...

A group of my friends and I have created the 3pm teatime meeting™. I’ve seen Happy Hour video meetups abound. How about a breakfast check-in meeting? Mini book club? Maybe there’s a pet-themed meeting where you all show off your pets and how cute they are. Whatever theme you come up with, it adds an element of fun and gives you something to talk about other than COVID-19. (See also: #4 on this list.)


2.5 ...Or a fun activity

My pal Carly introduced me to Skribbl.io – a free online game wherein each round, someone has 80 seconds to draw their chosen word and others have to guess what it is. The sooner you guess, the more points you get. And there’s no Chat Roulette creepiness here – you can make a private chat room for you and your friends. As she explained the game, I realized that online hanging doesn’t have to just be hanging and talking. There’s also Netflix Party, a Chrome browser extension that allows you to group chat with friends while all watching the same movie/show (playback is sync’d so you’re all watching at the same rate).

There are endless possibilities for activities – how about a video chat where each person takes a turn DJ’ing a song and you all collaboratively make a playlist? Or everyone cooks dinner together and compares recipes from afar? Or have a virtual fashion show and show off your best (or zaniest, or comfiest) outfits!

 

3. The number one rule about COVID, is don’t talk about COVID

I’m pretty sure we’re all sick of talking about this dang virus by now. We’re consuming endless news about it anyway, so why converse about it any further? We’re all exhausted emotionally. Here are some ideas for other things to talk about:

  • Progress you’ve made on projects, personal or professional
  • Cooking successes and failures in the kitchen
  • Books you’ve been reading
  • The latest music you’ve been listening to
  • Podcast recommendations
  • Flowers and animals you saw on your walk outside today
  • Anything that excites you and provides a positive distraction!

Plus, check out more conversation starters on our Instagram below!



4. Remember MAIL?

Of course you do. Mail is how we get our groceries now, right? Anyway, if you’re missing friends and family but don’t want to Skype every day, how about making some mail? Take a cue from our talented friend Amber Esner, who is a creative genius at mail-making. You can find her mail-specific blog here for some inspiration. Use what you have – no need to buy anything new! Make it fun and add collage! Get creative with typography! Just remember to do everything with clean hands. :)

 

How else are you connecting with folks virtually these days? Let us know on Instagram!