5 things you can do to make your virtual Get-Togethers with your friends more enjoyable
here's how to keep those conversations going even when no one wants to meet up on zoom anymore
In this era of screen time and get togethers, we all just want to connect with our people. However, Zoom fatigue (yes that's a thing) is real, and to keep making these conversations enjoyable, a bit of creativity is in order to make up for the lack of physical proximity.
Here are five easy ways to make better virtual get togethers
Make a nice setting
Remember when you used to invite guests over to your place? You wanted it to look good didn't you? You probably cleaned up your house, made it smell nice and did a bit of home staging for it to look at its best. When you know you will have a virtual get together, think of two things. First, how to make the setting better for yourself and second how to make the setting better for the people in your virtual group. It's as if you were inviting them in your home, so take the time to make it nice. Maybe arrange your living room in a way that it's more enjoyable to both be in and look at. Think of your experience, how do you want to live it and how do you want it to look like for others. If you're out of ideas or don't want to go through making your living space look like a lifestyle magazine, at the very least pick out a virtual background. If everyone has a fun virtual background that can display their personality, it will be much more enjoyable, and it can even be quite hilarious. You can create your own virtual zoom background here.
If the point of meeting with your friends is to have an enjoyable experience, you wont have much fun if your scrunched over looking at your laptop. Make it more life-like by putting them on the biggest screen in your house. This can easily be done by plugging an HDMI cable from your computer. That way, it will feel like they are actually in your living room as opposed to a tiny square box. It makes a big difference if you go through actually making it enjoyable for yourself. You don't need to close everything else, you can have background music playing from the same screen and in many cases it wont interfere. Simulate the different aspects of a gathering; music, food, drinks, etc. When the Zoom call takes over everything else, it tends to get stale fast if everyone is just staring blankly at a screen. Think of it more as a portal to other people's worlds rather than as a telephone conversation. In this case, its OK to have other things to stimulate you, just remember that the most important aspect is the interaction.
Have Games or topics ready
So what's up with you? Right now, nothing. That's a boring question with an obvious answer as everyone is very low key right now, and the ''you wont believe what happened to me today'' moments are increasingly rare during a pandemic lockdown. If the conversation comes at a standstill, someone should have some games ready that are easy to understand and implementable at distance. Think of the classics never have I ever, do date dump, and ones that you invent specifically for your gang. Sometimes, the lack of physical proximity makes spontaneous conversations come less naturally. That's why you must be proactive, and not just be passive as if you were watching another Netflix episode. Have topics or games to lean onto so that the conversation keeps going.
This is for the more adventurous among us. Take this moment to dress up. You probably have no reason whatsoever to put on nice clothes if your working at home. You probably forgot how good it feels to dress up and look nice for once. Just take this as an occasion to make something fun out of your night. Having a bunch of people actually dress up makes for a fun night and the absurdity of it makes it a topic of conversation. For the most adventurous among us, come as a costumed character. Being an avatar version of yourself can actually be fun. You don't even need to be yourself, you can also play a digital caricature. Be whatever you want to be, use the lack of proximity to your advantage. Being incognito has so many aspects that you can play with. Go wild on screen!
Have a common activity
Sometimes, its not about what you say. Its just about being together. You don't always need to fill the silence. Sometimes simply having a shared experience, IS the experience. Think of looking at a sports game together, following an exercise video or starting a movie at the same time. When we have things to do together, its often much more fun than doing them alone. In this case, the event is already made for you, you're just happy you can catch up with your friends and talk to them during the commercials, half time or during certain parts. Long moments of silence are encouraged.
Remember there is no transaction. The experience is just to be in other people's presence. You don't attend a virtual gathering just to get something out of it. You go there to interact. That's the entire goal. More importantly, TALK. That is the whole point, it doesn't matter what you talk about, all that matters is to simply be talking. Connecting with others is a need, expressing feelings, joking around with friends, are all things that act like medicine for the soul. No matter how introverted you are, connecting with people is still a fundamental component for your sanity and happiness. If you stay silent and just respond to questions as if you were in a job interview, you missed the point and it wont make you feel better. Find any means to get people talking and opening up so that their social needs are expressed. Compensate for the lack of proximity by being more deliberate and mindful in the way you connect and this will become a much more enjoyable experience for everyone.