A friend recently texted me, “I miss human connection. I feel kinda empty inside.”
Yeah. Me too.
Times are weird, friends. I know the majority of you aren’t completely alone during quarantine like I am, but it still takes a toll. We are indeed “social animals” and we create so much of the meaning in our lives through our interactions and connections with others. A lot of who we are is actually “who we are in relation to others” it turns out.
So social distancing is hard. Quarantine is hard. I guess there’s a reason why solitary confinement is considered the harshest of prison punishments.
This pandemic won’t last forever, but while we’re isolated from many of our friends and loved ones I thought it would be nice to try to find ways to recapture some of that human connection — even if through a screen. Here are some of my ideas of how you can maintain emotional connection while social distancing. Give em a try and let me know how you go!
1. Get into a deep conversation
This is fun and one of my favorite activities whether you’re social distancing or not! Get a friend on video chat and ask each other questions that spark deep conversation. You can try the 36 questions to make you fall in love with someone, or use my ~very special~ curated list of questions below, or both!
What are the highest and lowest points of your life so far?
What were your first thoughts when we met?
What does the ideal life look like to you?
What is the most beneficial emotion? How about the most destructive?
What is our funniest memory together?
What do you do to impress others deliberately?
What do you understand today about your life that you didn’t understand a year ago?
What’s the best part of being you?
Which world culture is the most fascinating to you and why?
What have you always wanted to ask me?
What does it mean to love someone?
What do you miss about being a kid?
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
What’s your favorite family tradition?
What characteristic of mine is your favorite?
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done and would you do it again?
When do you feel most alive? Tell me everything about it.
If you could enter a time machine, what time period would you visit and why?
What is your favorite book and why?
What secret haven’t you told me yet?
2. Listen to the same playlist or watch the same show
You can download the free Chrome extension Netflix Party and watch a movie or show with someone simultaneously. The play and pause buttons are synced so you are really watching together. There’s a little chat window so you can type to each other but when I did it, we also stayed on a video chat on Whatsapp to make it feel even more like watching together.
3. Take online personality tests and compare results
Might I recommend…
The Enneagram personality test – Find out which of 9 interconnected personality types you are. I prefer this to Myers-Briggs personally. (P.S. Any other enneagram type 4’s out there?)
The dark triad test- Measure yourself on three traits: Machiavellianism (a manipulative attitude), narcissism (excessive self-love), and psychopathy (lack of empathy). Dark. Fun.
Love language test – Which of the five love languages (gift giving, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service, and physical touch) represents the way you prefer to give and receive love?
4. Teach each other a language
Even if you only know a few words, it still gives you some quality time together.
5. Play a game or do trivia together online
Maybe you’ve heard of the app Houseparty by now but if not it’s a fun way to spontaneously get on video call with a bunch of people and play games. They have a video version of charades/head’s up (however you choose to play it), pictionary, and trivia.
I also love the trivia site Sporcle a la 2008 or (whenever). I’m not sure how to make this a team activity but I’m sure you can find a way.
6. Cook and eat a meal at the same time
Can’t say I’ve tried this one personally but it seems kinda cute. You could pick out a recipe and get the ingredients then come together on video call and cook and eat at the same time.
Social distancing has been tolerable in Amagansett. We live on a street where neighbors walk and hang at reliable distances but are still able to discuss. We’ve had a seder in a driveway, a birthday party on the street, book and movie discussions, and visits to the windy and cold beach. Walking with friends who are camped out here is always a positive experience. The most normal time was sitting at a fire pit (6 feet apart) with our drinks in hand and having face to face discussions. Molly is here now, teaching online all day. We do have dinners together and I’ve learned to be a very good cook. Zoom calls depress me, but still get to see people I haven’t seen in a while. Hulu has been wonderful: Normal People, Little Fires Everywhere, Mrs America, etc. HBO, Netflix, and Amazon too. Read some compelling books (now reading Til the End of Time)…about the beginning and the end of the Universe. Puts everything in perspective. Can recommend some fiction if need be. Keep us posted on your situation. love you and stay safe. xoxoxo Tante M
Gosh. Can I quarantine with you? It sounds kinda great to me…I get what you mean about Zoom calls. In the beginning of quarantine I was calling people all the time and now it does just feel sort of depressing because I have nothing to say anymore on the phone! I’m probably going to book a flight home soon. Just no idea how to plan life right now because everything feels so uncertain. I hope I get to see you soon. Love you <3