Connecting In A World of Disconnect
So many of us are feeling alone in a world full of people, and the year 2020 has been especially hard. Even those of us with the best mental health are wringing our hands trying to keep connected to friends and family. The closing of bars and other social gathering spaces has made it very difficult to connect with new people. And social distancing and masks end the discourse that we are used to finding each day.
But, let’s face it, humans were designed to be socially engaged. We crave others to enrich our lives, add sparkle to the day and give us things to occupy our minds. If after these months of COVID you have not found a place to harbor these instincts, you might develop anxiety and even depression.
But, where to go? In a world of wires and conduits, the internet is the most obvious way to connect socially. The added safety of connecting anonymously until you choose to reveal your details is an amazing perk. Here is a list and description of many formats to try.
Discord: This is a community of people using various ‘channels’ to connect. Once you create an account, you can add friends to your lists. This is done anonymously so that you do not need to ever provide your real information. The system allows for phone calls and video streaming, and you can even listen to music on Spotify together. Via the search button, you can look for groups you may be interested in joining, from Gaming, Music, Education, Science and Tech, Anime & Manga, Movies & TV, and Content Creators. Once you have created an account, choose the ‘explore public servers’ button, and you are off! www.discord.com
Teleparty: Formerly called Netflix Party, you can watch television with your friends online. The system synchronizes playback of several systems including Netflix, HBO, Hulu and Disney. The system requires Chrome installed on a desktop or laptop computer. www.netflixparty.com
Virtual concerts: There are two venues that are providing this service. One is www.Billboard.com, which keeps a list of shows that can be attended. www.Stageit.com has live performing artists, and more fun. You may be able to request songs and ask questions of the groups! The performers make 80% of ticket sales and set the price on their tickets. And, you can pay them tips–all from the comfort of home!
Online Book Clubs: There is life in a book, but once it is closed, the connection stops. By joining a virtual book club, you can link up with others with similar interests and a diverse community of readers. Usually free (you do need to get the book), they use various platforms to be able to share information and meet up for discussions. www.socialbookco.com/book-club, www.purewow.com/books, www.Quarantinebookclub.com.
Language Learners: People are lonely everywhere and are looking for connection. An amazing way to do this along with learning a new language and culture is by choosing a conversation exchange with someone who speaks a language you would like to learn. www.speaky.com helps you find your perfect language partner who shares your interests and passions. It includes more than 180 countries around the world speaking at least 110 languages.
Online Game Night: If you are missing the challenge and the rivalry of playing games, many popular board games are available online. www.pogo.com has chess, dominos, Scrabble, Yahtzee, Risk and Trivial Pursuit, to name a few. www.Catan.com is a very popular race to settle an island and becoming a master of a universe. www.playingcards.io is a community where you can either chose your partner with a room code or select a random partner with whom you can chat with during the game. Moves are synchronized so there is no cheating. You can play checkers, chess, crazy eights, euchre and a host of other games.