Keeping in Touch
It’s vital to stay connected with friends and family in whatever way works best right now. Meeting up for distanced walks, hikes, drinks, and outdoor picnics are all great ideas. As some places have reopened , there are more options, such as outdoor dining, distanced sports (tennis, ultimate frisbee, golf, etc.), and going to drive-in movie theaters, which are all considered relatively low risk activities. It’s especially crucial, however, to think about more ways to stay in touch as the weather cools and outdoor gathering options become less available. It’s time to think of creative ways to stay up to date with friends and all that’s happening in each other’s lives!
One of the most interesting things I’ve found during COVID-19 is how much less my friends and I are talking about relationships, love, and sex. As the many stressors of life have only increased with the COVID-19 pandemic, checking in on how friends are doing with the intimate parts of their lives has fallen to the wayside. In doing some very informal research for this blog, I asked some friends about how they have been talking about these topics (maybe I just wasn’t the go-to friend for talking about these things, despite where I work?). It was fascinating to see how many friends admitted to talking about relationship, love, and sex less because of the fact they weren’t seeing friends as often in person due to the pandemic. The consensus was that it seems weird to talk about such topics with friends via texting or even over video chat. Somehow, even making a phone call to a friend seems strange. I would guess this is because my friends and I usually communicate over text messages and scheduled video chats, very rarely do we just talk on the phone.
To that end, it’s important to try to talk to friends about relationships and sex and to do so in a fun way. When on virtual calls with friends, having some activities planned during the call makes the time spent together more fun. One thing to do is give presentations on your life to update the friends that you haven’t seen in a long time! This can include your relationship, adventures in online dating, or whatever else is going on in your life. For more ideas, look at some of these topics and at these accounts pertaining to sex and relationships. For movie nights, there is a Google Chrome extension called Netflix Party that allows viewers to watch Netflix shows and movies simultaneously with other people using a link. There are many shows to watch which dive into important topics in humorous, heartfelt ways.
Also, consider sending care packages and letters, because who doesn’t love to receive care packages? There are many ways to incorporate goodies that will lead to conversations around relationships, sex, and love into your care package. To add to a more offline experience, consider forming a book club with friends - there are many great books on relationships, sexuality, and more to get into. Many libraries are doing take away services, which allow you to borrow books directly and some even have E-book services, giving you access to books for free with the app that your local library uses. After you have brushed up your knowledge on sex, love, and healthy relationships, consider creating a quiz for your friends using Kahoot and do the quiz at your next virtual hang.
Staying in touch allows us all to know more about what is happening in our friends’ lives, which is so important as many of us feel isolated during this time. There are many ways to stay close to friends that don’t require leaving the house, simply a bit of time and commitment. During Let’s Talk Month, check in with friends and create space for important vulnerable conversations. Ask your friends how their thoughts and priorities in relationships, love, and sex have changed in the time of COVID-19.