The one thing I have struggled with the most during the pandemic is maintaining my relationships with people I cannot spend in person time with. Just like most people, I have been stuck in a house with my family for the last couple of months. While I love my family and am used to spending a lot of time with them, seeing as I spent 18 year with them, but this is the first time I have not been able to spend time with anyone else. The short trips I take to the store does help a bit but with our masks covering our faces and at least six feet between us, it is hard to get any honest human connection that way. FaceTime and Zoom have kept human connection alive during a time it feels impossible for it to exist, yet talking to someone through a screen with no activities can get a bit old. I began to look for ways to spend time with my friends even though we have run out of things to talk about, especially since there is less to experience stuck in your house. Playing video games is the easiest thing to do virtually with the creation of gaming consoles, online gaming and digital platforms like Discord. Yet, it is not easy to spend thousands of dollars on a console, online gaming membership and the video games themselves. Here are a couple of free/cheap activities you can do over the phone with someone you no longer get to spend in person time with.
Watching television shows and movies is probably the number one thing people spend time doing together. Of course, since the pandemic started we have all done our fair share of Netflix binging but it is always more enjoyable with company. I have found a browser extension that allows you to watch the same thing as your friends at the same exact time. You simply find the show or movie you want to watch, can be on Netflix, Disney, Hulu or HBO, click the Teleparty extension in the top right corner of your browser, copy the invitation link and send it to your watch partner. When your partner clicks the link, it will bring them into the Teleparty watch room where the show or movie will be synced perfectly. If one of you pauses or skips, the video will do the same for the other person. Amazon Prime Video has their own version of this on their website, but it only works for things on available on Prime Video. JellyParty is just like Teleparty but it allows you to watch anything from anywhere together. So if there is something on YouTube you may want ti watch together, I would recommend JellyParty. But be warned that while all these extensions are wonderful, JellyParty can be finicky at times.
Pictionary is a game that most people have probably played at least once in their life. Skribbl gives you the opportunity to play this with your friends even when they aren’t with you. For this to work, you will need to visit skribbl.io and create a room. After you have done that, you simply need to copy the invitation link and send it to however many people you would like to play with. Once they receive the link and click it, they will be transported into your created room. After that all thats left to do is press play!
This is a great website for someone who likes playing comical games with friends. It is a lot like Kahoot but with the raunchiness of Cards Against Humanity. There are multiple games to play on Jackbox and all of them are hilarious. Quiplash is a game to see which of your friends can come up with the funniest joke on the spot. Fibbage helps you figure out which of your friends is a horrible liar in a humorous way. And Drawful is a lot like skribbl but with a slight twist that results in hilarious drawings. Trivia Murder Party is a lot like Jeopardy, if Alex Trebek constantly made fun of you and and killed whoever lost. All these games are available on JackBoxgames,com and all you need to do is pay less than $10 for any game you want, create a room and send the rooms code to your friends!