Ways to Connect Virtually with Family and Friends

I turned the news on Monday morning and listened silently as the Michigan governor made the decision to shut down all non-essential businesses for the safety of the public. In the blink of an eye, I felt my world shrink down to 1,100 square feet. And the anxiety began to creep in…

But, I sat back and thought about it for a moment… this order is a chance for us to get together to make our world feel even bigger. Can you remember the last time you spoke with that close friend that lives hundreds or thousands of miles away? Use this time to re-connect. Make the most of your quarantine by connecting remotely, because let’s face it: human connection is essential.

Virtual Game Night

You can do this a few different ways: good ol’ fashioned board games or virtual group games. If you and the other players all have the same board game at home, then a virtual board game night is a great option! If you’re looking to step up your hang out completely virtually, try out one of these options:

Jackbox Games: With Jackbox Games, a unique “room” is created online, where only group members with the room code can enter. Once in, you can play a whole slew of great games sure to entertain the whole family or friend group… my personal favorite for a group is Quiplash, which plays similarly to Cards Against Humanity or Apples to Apples.

Skribbl.io: Play Pictionary online through the website, skribbl.io! Create a private room on the menu screen to play with friends.

Playingcards.io: You have a few options on this site of games to play, similarly to Skribbl. You can create your own game using a virtual deck of cards, play Uno, and other games.

When you’re working with these games, if you want to “see” the friends and family you are playing with, I recommend starting a video chat on Zoom or Google Hangouts. With Jackbox Games, Zoom will allow the meeting host to share the screen with the games on it. Players will then have the chance to see each other and chat on the video chat while using a phone or alternate device to play the game(s).

Book Clubs

If you’re feeling as though you now have an abundance of time, a great way to use some of that up is to start a book club with friends and family. Start a Facebook group or other chat to discuss the books you will read and hold book club meetings on Zoom or Google Hangouts. Here are a few book recommendations to get you started:

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter

Behold the Dreamers by Imobolo Mbue

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

Watch Parties

Snuggle up on your couch or in your bed and watch a movie with friends and family. You could start up a group chat through text or Facebook chat, or you could video chat while each of you have the movie playing. Netflix even released a way to start a movie watch party through the Netflix website, Netflix Party! Just turn on your desired movie, look for the little “NP” at the top right – next to the address bar, and share your URL with friends.

Dinner Party

Last, but certainly not the least, is the option of hosting a virtual dinner party. Gather around the virtual table to tell stories, jokes, and talk with each other while enjoying some comfort food. Connecting with loved ones will be sure to fill your cup… while also filling the cups of those on the other side of the screen.

Kailey Hanrath, LLMSW

Program Coordinator

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