by Ella Cohn, Summer Intern, High Point University, (reviewed by Dr. Maria Zimmitti)

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many families together but has kept friends apart. As a college student, I have experienced my own struggles staying connected to friends who live in different states throughout the country. Over these past few months, I have compiled a list of my favorite ways to keep in touch with friends during this quarantine. So if you are experiencing some human interaction withdrawal yourself, these activities are for you!

· Zoom and FaceTime: These two apps are the most obvious and easy ways to stay connected. Many teens are not fond of talking on the phone because they like to see their friends’ faces. Both Zoom and FaceTime allow a face to face interaction with one or more people. So don’t worry if you’re friend group is big, these apps have you covered.

· Netflix Party: In case you haven’t heard, teens love Netflix! During the school year, my friends and I always had a Netflix series or movie we would watch together. This website allows you to watch any Netflix show with a friend by letting you see the other person and the show all on the same screen. This way, if you’re missing movie nights with friends, you won’t miss a beat during the quarantine.

· Parking Lot Meetup: This is a winner for me and my friends. As a college student, I miss my high school friends and the quarantine made it nearly impossible for us to spend time together in person. But, we came up with the idea of a “parking lot meetup.” We grabbed our own food, met in an empty parking lot, and sat in our car trunks so that we could maintain 6 feet of social distance. If you and your friends would like to try this, be sure to check with a parent first. Also, rules may vary depending on the state you live in so be sure you know them before you venture out.

· Virtual Games: Games are a great way to work your mind and have a good time with friends. As a psychology major and criminal justice minor, I enjoy games that involve mystery. Unsolved Case Files is a website that ships you a fake cold case that you have to solve. It’s similar to the board game Clue but more realistic so you’ll need to ask your parents about this one too. My family and I completed one recently, and it got me thinking…this would be fun to do with friends virtually over Zoom! Another idea is to send your grandparents Yahtzee and set up weekly games.

· Paint Day Hangout: Georgetown Psychology’s very own Samantha Congdon, LMFT, is a therapist and art enthusiast who is hosting virtual Paint Day Hangouts for teens. You can sign up on our website. This is a great way to bond with friends while doing something fun and creative. Cool fact: Samantha includes a fun snack with your painting materials.

I hope these tips help you and your friends stay connected!