Until then, what a time to be alive and embrace your laziness. Staying inside on the couch all day is what we’re required to do, which really isn’t a big deal when you’re an introverted procrastin8r. Social distancing is just a matter of being your lazy self. Sitting in isolation is the daily routine of a lazy man, whether there’s a global pandemic or not. Heck, if you're lazy enough and pay absolutely NO attention to the news, you’d probably have *no idea* there’s a serious viral outbreak going on. Quarantine has no effect on your lifestyle, in other words.
But hey, maybe sometimes, bear with me now, you’d actually want to go hang out with friends. I know, I know, the couch and the bed are your two best friends, but even then perhaps you kind of want to see other people and ya know, socialize and shit. You may not be the most extroverted, but you probably do at least miss having some sort of company once in a while.
Yet, right now, there are regulations in place preventing you from hanging out with people even if you wanted to. Kinda sucks.
Face it, this forced lock down, no matter how lazy you are, gives us all a bit of Cabin Fever. And one of the symptoms of Cabin Fever is of course...loneliness.
Unfortunately, you can’t leave your house and you can’t have any public gatherings, not that you’d do it that often anyway, but still, it was nice to have the option.
That leaves you either sitting in solitude the whole time (which in all fairness can be quite fulfilling in being at ease with your own company) or finding ways to socialize without leaving the house.
Given I’m the type of guy who rarely leaves the house and finds himself binge watching Netflix rather than out partying, I find this “new world order” quite refreshing. It allows me to feel heroic in simply doing what I already do (or don’t do for that matter).
There’s no reason to feel distraught about being isolated during this quarantine. You may be alone, but you do not need to feel lonely. The only difference between loneliness and independence is attitude.
Besides, just because you can’t be within six feet of your friends doesn’t mean you can’t hang out and have a good time together. Today, we’re gonna dive into how to socialize while social distancing -- that way you can be with your friends without actually being with your friends.
You can fill the void of social interaction without risking the spread of a deadly virus. You can, in essence, be lazy and still be social. We’re gonna look at some of the “social activities” you can do while in quarantine. Let’s dive into it!
Watching a TV show or movie together is one of the lamest, yet most effective, excuses to be “social”. I mean, c’mon, sitting there watching movie isn’t really social. Not really. You’re not talking. You’re not interacting. You’re not even looking at each other. Your attention (and theirs) is completely focused on the screen and the sounds (dialogue, music, effects) of the film. Yet, one of the most common activities between friends is to “go to the movies”. And of course there’s the ever notorious “netflix n’ chill” (which is of course blatantly using the watching as an excuse to participate in another activity).
Anyway, it can be pretty fun to hear your friend or family belt out a laugh at a solid punch line and seeing their first reaction to a crazy plot twist you knew about is priceless. That said, while you can’t “gather together” and watch things on the same couch, you can be in separate houses and watch the same thing simultaneously using a few apps.
Up first, there’s Metastream, which lets you pick a show from one of your favorite streaming platforms -- Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, etc. -- and watch it at the same time, complete with a chat box.
Unfortunately, the chat in Metastream is TEXT only, so you won’t get to hear your friends or see the reactions on their faces, which is part of what makes watching together so great, to be honest. Nonetheless, this allows for “live commentary” so you can read all the insightful and witty commentary your friends make.
Next up is Scener, which does have video chat, but is limited to Netflix only. Of course, there’s plenty of options to choose from on that platform alone.
Another option is to set up a private Discord Channel (speaking of which, come join the ProcrastiN8rs one)
Simply create a channel, call it whatever you want (Lazy Ass Friends), open up a Voice Chat and stream your own screen, then invite your friends to join. They can hop in with their microphone and even video camera. This allows the same effect as Scener but you’re no longer limited to just Netflix.
Facebook also has a built in "Watch Party" feature. To use it, create or join a group then start watching videos. The only downside is your limited to what's available on FB video. The selection has been growing recently though.
I’m a bit of a nerd and love playing board games.
In literally the past decade, board games have really grown as a hobby and there’s a lot more board gamers now than there were when I was in high school and seen as a complete loser nerd.
Anyway, board games inspire co-operation, competition, critical-thinking skills, and strategy. It’s a great blend of thinking and communicating.
Of course, we can’t risk spreading the rona by passing around cards and dice (yet alone sitting at the same table less than six feet apart). Luckily, there’s an app for that.
The game is called Table Top Simulator and is available on Steam (it often goes on sale but is pretty cheap otherwise). The game itself “simulates” playing a board game: shuffling the deck, picking up and flipping cards, rolling die, etc. It even has a VR option if you want to really want to “be there” in the room playing a board game with your friends/family. But a mouse and keyboard works just fine.
By default, it has classic games like playing cards, chess, and checkers, but the real meat and potatoes comes from the Steam community. You can download extra content and add-ons to stimulate pretty much any game in existence. From Settlers of Catan to Arkham Horror to Zombicide. Nearly every board game you’d ever want to play is available as a Table Top Simulator add on -- for FREE (no additional charge)
There was a night, my sisters and I actually played the thematically relevant game Pandemic, where the goal is to work together to find a cure for viruses and stop a global pandemic. We won and saved the world! (Hopefully a prophecy for real world events)
You can even create your own custom board games too.
Basically, you’re paying one price for access to an unlimited board game library. Not a bad deal. You get your board game fix, without having to make plans or leave the house. Perfect for quarantine or just being lazy.
You can also play Magic the Gathering Online. Magic is the standard for any Trading Card Game (TCG). Unfortunately, this sort of limits the cards you can have as well as the “styles” you can play.
And if you have a group that wants something more light-hearted and fun, available for free, you can play Cards Against Humanity Online with an app called All Bad Cards.
No need to download anything. You can just play in your browser. If you haven’t played Cards Against Humanity yet, c’mon now, it’s 2020. That’s like saying you’ve never watched an Adam Sandler movie. It’s just become so ingrained in our culture that it’s pretty much a requirement to play in order to be a part of it.
The other party board game I’d recommend is called Drawception, which is an online version and copycat of the game Telestrations. Telestrations, for those of you that don’t know, is basically Pictionary meets Whisper Down the Lane (or “Telephone”).
It creates a hilarious atmosphere as you discover your friends' artistic talent (or lack thereof). it's one of the few games I don't really care about keeping track of score.
3. Start a DnD Campaign
Some say DnD counts as a board game. Others say it doesn’t.
I think it’s like ice cream. I mean sure, it’s a dessert, but it’s its own thing entirely! Similarly, there are table top/board game elements in DnD but it’s really its own category. It deserves tis own spot on my list, damnit!
DnD or “Dungeons & Dragons” is a role-playing fantasy game, where players act like they are part of an adventure. It’s like playing pretend like you did as a kid...only with a 300 page rulebook.
If Role Playing Games are ice cream then DnD is Ben & Jerry’s -- the king, the best, the cream of the crop. Well, maybe not the best but definitely, the “standard”. There’s Pathfinder, GURPS, and other role playing “systems”. Even those who play different Role Playing Games probably have, at some point, played DnD as well.
Anyway, what happens is each player creates their own character. You have mighty paladins, drunken dwarves, orcs with bad tempers, whimsical wizards, and the like. You create who you want to be in this odd fantasy world.
One person takes the role as the “Dungeon Master” (DM) and designs the storyline and events that happen to the other players and their characters.
Players then make decisions based on what the DM presents to them.
It’s sort of like Round Robin, that game you played around the campfire, adding to a story where another person left off, but with stats, character sheets, and RNG.
Not only is it a great way to build friendships but also an opportunity to escape the covid reality for a bit and live in a different realm.
You can use Table Top Simulator to roll dice and move miniatures and communicate on a chat app like Discord.
4. Play online games
Of course no list of how to socialize while social distancing would be complete without mentioning online gaming.
Online gaming is my “go to” procrastin8r activity when it comes to being social without leaving the house. I’ve met plenty of friends online through gaming, who ‘til this day, I still talk to.
It’s a great way to bond over an activity while gaining cool achievements together.
There are plenty of options that can suit your taste no matter which type of gamer you are. I’ll go over some of my favorite genres as well as a few of my recommendations for each genre.
Nothing like grabbing a few guns and heading off to shoot shit with your buddies. It’s a great way to blow off steam as well as build communication skills. It’s satisfying getting a good kill streak or unlocking a super OP weapon or just causing mass mayhem with grenades and explosions. Here’s a few good shooter games/series I recommend...
This is the ultimate co-op/PVM experience when it comes to wielding guns. Each member of your party has a certain role and it’s fun co-operating to bring down big baddies.
As you shoot down hordes of enemies, you gain xp and unlock new shit, which makes replayability top notch.
It does get a bit grindy in later levels, but hey, we got plenty of time to kill/grind during quarantine.
The “Diablo with guns” series. Nothing is quite as satisfying as finding that super rare grenade launcher you’ve been looking for or finding a cool shotgun with an acid mod. There are SO many guns and it’s fun to play around with them.
Top it off with skill trees and special abilities and you’ve pretty much got yourself one of the most addicting first person shooter experiences you can find. Hunting down loot with a buddy and fulfilling nearly endless sidequests takes the cake.
One of, if not THE, best team-based shooter out there. So many characters, each with their own set of unique weapons, abilities, strengths, and weaknesses.
From stealthy girl to “Get over here” shot gun bois to Angel healers, there’s definitely ONE that suits your playstyle.
Left4 Dead & Warhammer Vermintide
I put these two together because they're pretty much the same game with a different skin. Vermintide is often described as “Left 4 Dead” but in a medieval fantasy setting or “Skyrim for Dead”. (Somehow every single game that has a medieval theme is labeled as Skyrim, but I digress). Killing hoardes of enemies? Check. Unlocking new gear? Check. Playing through a storyline campaign together? Checkity check, check.
This is pretty much everything you want in a co-op game.
NOT Call of Duty
Personally, I’m not a big fan of Call of Duty. Don’t get me wrong, CoD is a *solid* shooter.
...but that’s exactly what it is: a *solid* shooter. It doesn’t break the barriers in anyway or do anything unique. It’s good at what it does, but it doesn’t really shake the waters in any way or create a memorable experience.
Even though, yes, there is multiplayer mode, CoD doesn’t really require much coordination or communication between teammates. It’s more like a “lone wolf” sort of style and you can pretty much do your own thing, regardless of what the other players on your team are doing.
I prefer Battlefront (honorable mention) or Overwatch which requires more strategy and communication rather than run n’ gun.
Real time Strategy
These games really require a lot of planning and coordination, creating for a fun communication experience.
And it’s in “real time”, meaning you’ve got to think quick on your feet. You ain’t got time to lay out full in-depth battle tactics. You can’t think for too long. Overall, mapping out a viable strategy for victory while simultaneously rolling with the punches makes for a challenging and captivating time together.
Lately, I’ve been playing a lot of Age of Mythology, a classic RTS from the early 2000s. It basically takes all the cool shit from Age of Empires and adds mythological god powers and creatures.
You can go for an all out brawl competitive style or aim to work together in co-op against other random players or AI.
Starcraft and Warcraft are of course going to always be on any gamers “must-play” list.
Take real time strategy and add action RPG elements to it and you’ve got yourself a MOBA, on basic terms anyway. It’s addicting.
League of Legends
This one hits the list because, I mean first of all, it’s free. That’s a pretty fair price point of entry. Second, it’s good at what it does.
It’s the Magic the Gathering of the MOBA world and pretty much sets the standard. There are tons of characters and new updates.
The first time I played this, I was saying “just one more round” for 14 hours straight. That became quite a routine in the coming months.
If you have a potato for a computer but a decent phone, this is an awesome option. It’s pretty much the closest thing to “LoA on Mobile”
Raids - this is where your in-game knowledge and skills are put to the test.
Hopefully you don’t have a d-bag LEEEEEEROY JENKINSSSS as a friend.
Chilling n’ leveling - like watching a movie, this is pretty much just an “excuse” for an activity especially if you’re training AFK skills that don’t require much clicking or input.
My favorite MMORPG is RuneScape. I’ve played it off and on for the past 15 years.
I’ve tried WoW. I’ve tried City of Steam, Drakensang, EverQuest, MapleStory, and dozens of others not even worth mentioning. While, they were fun for what they were, it just didn’t scratch the same sort of itch that Runescape does. Albion Online was the only thing that came even “close” to what RS is about.
Just for Fun (Casual)
Not all of your friends are hardcore gamers and that’s okay. Fortunately, you can get your gaming fix and they can have fun too with the casual party games. Here are some I reccomend:
This is basically Mario Party without Nintendo chracters. ‘Nuff said.
Fun quick minigames that put you head to head with other players. Insanity ensues.
Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
One person is the diffuser, trying to diffuse the bomb and everyone else is an “expert”
The catch? The diffuser can’t see the manual and the experts can’t see the bomb itself.
Yelling at each other about which wire to cut or which keypad to press is inevitable.
Jackbox Party Packs
Each “pack” of the Jackbox series comes with an assortment of minigames that are easy to learn and quick to play.
Best of all, only one person needs an actual copy of the game and can stream it. Everyone else can play in the browser on their phone or computer.
Human Fall Flat
Grabbing your buddy and throwing him off a cliff, the way you awkwardly walk around, everything about this game is hilarious. It’s a physics based platformer co-op game -- the physics of which are absolutely comical.
This is a co-op kitchen nightmare game. You work together to fulfill orders for customers, and by working together I mean trying not to kill each other. Luckily, in being isolated form each other, you won’t be able to strangle each other.
Any game that has you screaming to your friends “Chop the onions faster!” in context gets the approval stamp in my book.
Warning: This game may actually make you hate your friends more
Add me on Playstation: N8zer
If your friends are more of the musical type, or even if they’re not and are just drunk enough, you can get together on video chat via Discord, Skype, or Zoom and sing some karaoke songs, even if a bit off-key. C’mon and belt out those high notes. Break a glass or two.
Plus, if your friends play an instrument, why not jam out some tunes? Put together your creativity and make some music, man.
Not to brag, but I’m quite sick at the kazoo!
As you can see, just because you’re socially distanced doesn’t mean you have to be completely anti-social. You may be isolated, but you are not alone. There are plenty of ways to hang out with friends, family, and even significant others during quarantine.
You can always just pick up the phone and call for a chat. Old school. I know. Does anyone actually use a phone as a...phone, any more?
But seriously, reach out to the people you care about. They’re probably feeling a little lonely too. It’s amazing what one conversation can do for building connection and rapport.
That said, don’t rely too much on other people for your happiness. Ya gotta feel comfortable in your own skin, cozy in your own couch. Ya gotta embrace solitude.
But that’s something we’ll cover...later. For now, don’t let the loneliness of cabin fever get to you. We’re all in this together.