Even for the most introverted, I think we can all agree that having this much personal space does not feel natural, and many of us are starting to really feel that 2-metre-plus gap between our friends, family and even partners. But, all is not lost. Thankfully, because we’re living in an ever-advancing digital world, we have plethora of alternative ways we can fill that gap, whilst staying safe in this current climate.
Here’s a list of fun (and free) ways you can hang out with your family and friends virtually…
Love a group video call? Well, Houseparty, for many, has quickly shot to the top of the pecking order of apps you can use to connect with loved ones due to its easy-to-use platform, and range of popular virtual games.
These include ‘Quick Draw’ (basically Pictionary), ‘Trivia’, ‘Heads Up!’ and more.
It uses fun, house-related language to let you know when your mates are online, and when they’re chatting with each other: e.g. ‘Jamie is in the house’, ‘Jamie is in a room with Kamal’, helping us to feel just a little bit like we’re close to each other in real life during what can feel like very isolating times.
Plus, you don’t have to play their games, you can just chat, or you could even make up your own, for example: virtual bingo, a pub quiz, or a book club.
Get the Netflix Party Google Chrome extension:
Netflix Party allows you to watch your fave series and films with your mates at the same time whilst chatting on Netflix messenger in a bar down the side of the screen. You just need to download the Google Chrome extension and once you’ve got it, you click on the NP symbol in the top right hand corner and then share the link to others so they can join.
Once you’re all in, you’re watching at exactly the same point in the episode or film, and if one of you pauses it to pop to the bathroom, it pauses for everyone, meaning that you’re all watching it in sync like you would be when hanging out on a quiet weekend in at home.
If gaming is more your thing, Discord is a relatively new, but fast-growing app with over 90 million users (reported in 2018) that connects gamers from all over the world by providing a platform where you can video call, voice or text chat whilst playing games, or doing nothing other than just wanting to talk!
You can create what the app calls ‘servers’ which are chat rooms where you can connect with multiple people at once, and within the servers, you can also create channels about specific topics on anything from anime to well-being.
Going stir-crazy and starting to act a little ‘weird’? Well, you’ll be relieved to know that you’re certainly not the only one, and there’s a space that very much welcomes weirdness: TikTok.
TikTok is a social media platform that’s boomed in popularity over the last couple of years with over 1 billion users worldwide. You can create your own 15 second video to share publicly or privately with your friends via their text chat. Or, if you don’t fancy creating your own, you can just share other people’s content on the chat and have a good old giggle at it together.
Or, if you don’t fancy downloading any of the above apps because you’ve already got enough cluttering up your phone memory, you can set up group calls any of the following platforms: FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, or Instagram.
This may seem like an incredibly obvious one, but if you don’t have time to call in between work & home life, and you’ve got to the point where you’re worrying that your thumbs might actually suffer from repetitive strain injury with all of the extra texting, voice notes can be a better form of communication – requiring less thumb work and also a more personal touch. It can make all of the difference hearing someone’s voice, and even your own if you’ve been stuck indoors all day,
You can send these on any of the following platforms: FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, or Instagram.
If you’ve been neglecting your Xbox or PS4 for a little while, now’s definitely a great time to dust it off and use it as another way to have fun and socialise with your mates. You can use the Party Chat function in order to talk to your mates via headsets whilst playing games against each other.
More and more of our Residents’ Teams are hosting online events including virtual bingo, so keep an eye out on social for any more that might pop up over the coming weeks whilst we all do our best to adjust to the circumstances, to keep our residents safe and happy.
However, whilst talking to friends and family is, of course, a great way of lifting spirits up in difficult times, there is extra support available. Our accommodation teams are here to talk and advise, no matter how big or small the problem, and we also partner with YoungMinds (UK) and Jigsaw (Ireland) who offer helpful services and resources. Here are some articles we hope you will find reassuring: