Connecting with friends without leaving home: The new “virtual hook-ups”

Whether self-imposed or for other reasons, there are times when leaving the house just isn’t an option. If you’re still housebound after about a week or so, you’re most likely ready for a little human interaction–outside those who may live in your home.

Fortunately, technology offers several options to reach out, including phone calls, emails and texts. But perhaps the best way to connect with others is video conferencing.

It used to be pretty cumbersome to host or participate in video conferencing. But today’s technology platforms make it easy to schedule, launch and enjoy video conferencing with friends and family. Depending on your technology platform, FaceTime, Skype or Zoom could be an easy option.

Once your tech is up and running, you’ll want to give some thought to your virtual hook-up. Will this be a quick video call with a friend or something more elaborate? If you anticipate more time in the house, you may want to make your video call a bit more special–or at least a bit more fun. 

Here are a few fun options to consider.

Girls Night In: Grab a few girlfriends (virtually), and schedule an evening of conversation, laughter and wine (or other cocktails). Each girlfriend should have her own snacks and beverages, and dial in at the appointment time to let the fun begin. Remember, this is a visual medium, so you may want to dress and coif as if you’re really hanging out with the girls to make your connection a bit more fun. 

Book Club: If you’re in a book club this is a great option to keep your meetings on track. If you’re not in a book club, consider starting one. In a pinch, it could even be a “magazine club”. The goal is to share opinions on a common literary source. Find something good and share with the group!

Watch Party: This may be the most low-maintenance option. Schedule your call to coincide with the scheduled airing (or the streaming) of your favorite show. Grab some popcorn and beverages and have everyone start the show at the same time (this is easier for a broadcast show, but online shows can work as well).

Gamer Time: Online games are a good way to interact with others, but you don’t typically have the face-to-face interaction as part of the game play. Connect with your opponent(s) via video conference before you start your game to feel like you’re really gaming together. This can work with phone-based games, like Words With Friends or Yahtzee, or with gaming platforms such as XBox or PlayStation.

Double-Date Night: We love our nights out with other couples. When you can’t connect physically, a virtual double-date is the next best thing. Each couple should have their meals and beverages (yes, those are cocktails) ready at the start of the video conference. You can dine and have conversation as if you were at Morton’s, all without wearing shoes.

Sunday Dinner: Here’s your opportunity to connect with family across the country, although it could get a bit loud. Cooking is a big part of the meal experience, so start the conference while meals are being prepared. Discuss menu items and recipes, and show off what’s on the stove. Move your device to the table as everyone settles in and serves their plates. Decide who’s going to bless the food, and share your prayer across the miles before you dig in to eat.

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