Maintaining Relationships During Social Isolation

There are plenty of ways to maintain your relationships even during social isolation. From video chats to drive-bys, text messages, and hand-written letters, you can stay in touch with your friends and loved ones.

Maintaining Relationships During Social Isolation

The global reaction to the COVID-19 virus has been unprecedented, and it has quickly left the world in uncharted waters. Even though it’s necessary, keeping your distance from everyone outside of your household can quickly underscore just how important regular social interaction is for humans. If you’re trying to faithfully observe social distancing rules but you’re feeling that overwhelming need for interaction with others, here are some suggestions to maintain your relationships in social isolation.

Video Chats

Video chats have been all the rage during quarantine and with good reason. They enable conversation, are easy to adapt from pairs of individuals to larger groups, and they bring a refreshing visual element to typical verbal communication. It doesn’t matter if you’re linking up with an old college club, hobnobbing with coworkers after hours, or connecting with your parents, video calls are a great way to stay in touch during a quarantine.

Phone Calls

If you’re not feeling up for a visual element in your communication, you can still maintain that social lifeline by calling a friend or family member to see how they’re doing. In fact, while video chats are a nice way to see those that you love, often they require full attention to your screen, can quickly drain the battery on your device, and can make it hard to move around.

If you’re tending to chores, watching the kids, or are preoccupied with some other activity, a phone call can be a great way to still get in touch. Simply pop on a headset, pull up your contacts, and give someone a call. They’ll appreciate the shout out.

Text Messages

For those relationships in your life that require less maintenance, text messaging is a lifesaver. While you can spend half an hour on the phone with two or three people per day, you can keep in touch with dozens of friends and family through the power of the texted word.

It can be helpful to create a list of those who you want to keep in touch with on a semi-regular basis. Check this list every few days and then shoot a text to anyone that you may not have heard from in a while.

Other Communication Apps

If traditional digital communication feels boring, you can always look for different communication-centric apps to bring a fresh splash of life to your social distancing conversations.

For example, Marco Polo is a great video-driven app that can help you maintain your relationships while in social isolation. The app allows you to send short, quickfire video messages back and forth with others. This can be done in two-way conversations as well as with larger groups.

This has the effect of creating a digital “conversation” in which each person takes turns speaking. It can be a great way to facilitate a longer conversation, allowing each person to speak their minds while simultaneously offering others a chance to respond in real-time.

Physical Letters

If you’re feeling nostalgic, you may want to ditch your phone and try going old school with your communication. The Post Office is still up and running, and hand-written letters can be sent via snail mail.

This is a wonderful way to add an extra touch of love, care, and intimacy to your communications. It can also be a great way to reach out to older family members and friends — those who grew up in a paper-letter-driven world. The elderly already profoundly struggle with isolation, even without quarantine limitations in effect.  A carefully hand-written note could be just the thing to help bring a splash of color to their day.

Watch Parties

If you find yourself at home wishing you could have friends over to hang out, you can always invest in your relationships by setting up a watch party. Use a communication tool like Discord or Google Hangouts to gather your friends and then start a movie simultaneously and watch together.

Drive-Bys

If you want to do more than simply write or speak to someone, there are other ways to express your willingness to maintain a relationship. One of these is by conducting a drive-by.

Take graduations as a perfect example. With spring well underway, there are many people that are graduating from school. However, under the circumstances, they won’t be able to have a traditional graduation party.

Faithful friends and family that wish to show their support can bundle into their vehicles, gather at a rendezvous near the graduate’s home at a certain time, and then drive by the house in a long parade-esque line. As they do so, they can honk horns, hang balloons out of windows, and shout their congratulations to the man or woman of the hour.

Car Socials

Another “drive-by” option is conducting a car social. Pick a spot like a coffee shop or restaurant with a drive-through and then meet with a friend or two at that location.

Stay in your car, get coffee at the window, and then park at least six feet apart with your windows open. This facilitates a real-world conversation “in the flesh” without ever breaking the social distancing protocols.

Home Social Events

Finally, if you find that your relationship with those that you love at home is atrophying in spite of your close proximity, it may be time to shake things up a bit. After all, occasional adventures are a key element to a well-lived life. You may not be able to go out and find adventure right now, but you can still bring adventure into your home.

If a member of your household is celebrating a birthday, use the occasion to break up the routine by baking a birthday cake, playing games, and celebrating their life. If your anniversary arrives and quarantine is still in effect, recreate your first date right in your own home. Whatever the occasion, bringing social events into your home is a great way to break up the monotony and show someone that you care about your shared relationship.

Maintaining Relationships During Social Isolation

Whether you’re giving a beloved friend a quick phone call to check-in, conducting a graduation drive-by,  or recreating your first date at home, it’s important to put in the effort to maintain your relationships during social isolation. 77% of Americans report having close relationships that help them cope during stressful times. While social isolation may challenge your ability to draw close to your friends and family during this time, it doesn’t make it impossible.

Face the social distancing challenge head-on by identifying the relationships in your life that require maintenance, referring to the above list, and then finding ways to cultivate your social life, even from a distance.

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