Nurturing friendships in an age of social distancing


As individual members of larger communities, the most important task any of us can undertake right now is that of social distancing. While I won’t necessarily embrace the term “distant socializing,” I do believe that the idea behind it is crucial to navigating these strange and challenging months. Cut from what, for some of us, may be our only support network, we all have a duty to look after one another and make sure we’re fostering connections and supporting one another to the best of our capacity.

Friendships in this era become crucial to survival, and the need to nurture friendships increases. This is likely one of the articles that brings up themes and ideas we already know, but I have found that sharing such pieces of advice offers comfort in a time of uncertainty. Where friends once roamed shopping centers, movie theaters and all over campus, our task as a Stanford community will be to continue to grow as individuals and support one another in spite of the physical distance. So, without further ado, here’s what has provided me comfort during these past couple of weeks.

Netflix parties

Yes, movie theaters are closed, but Netflix fortunately remains open for business. Google Chrome also has an extension,“Netflix Party,” that allows you to watch a show or movie with friends and comment in a sidebar chat. If not everyone in the party has Netflix, no worries there either, as Zoom allows you to share the screen of one lucky member to everyone’s benefit.

Book clubs

As 80-page reading assignments wind down, opt in for some more casual reading discussions with friends. While different book clubs exist across the country, you and your friends can decide at what pace and what type of literature to read. I am currently reading “Persepolis.” The graphic memoir by Marjane Satrapi was recommended by Noname’s book club and captures Satrapi’s childhood in Iran during the Islamic Revolution.

Virtual workouts

No one tagged me in the 10 push-up Instagram challenge so that was great, but virtual workouts give you the luxury of not having to leave your room if you don’t wish to do so. I am currently looking forward to this week’s FLI Friday theme: ZOOM-BA.

Spotify soiree

Is music your love language? Do you associate certain moments and people with songs? Then, consider making playlists and exchanging them with friends. I’ve seen people challenge others via social media to type in an emoji, and they’ll curate a playlist solely from that. This activity isn’t necessarily solitary, and curating playlists always requires some emotional labor on behalf of both parties.

PowerPoint parties

I saw it on TikTok and decided it was worth putting on here because it seemed funny enough. If you’re using Zoom, you might as well share your screen and present on anything you find worthy of your friends’ time. PowerPoint ideas include your friends as different Stanford professors, guessing the political affiliations of your favorite childhood cartoons or why you personally eat the top of strawberries.

FaceTime calls

Sometimes all we need is to simply see each other and that’s when a FaceTime call suffices. 

As social distancing guidelines are extended, make sure to check up on one another. While we tend to think of technology as an impediment to socialization, embracing it will help us all navigate through these turbulent times.

Contact Richard Coca at richcoca ‘at’

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Richard Coca '22 is one of the managing editors of The Grind for volume 258, having previously served as managing editor of Satire, and CLIP Co-chair before that. He is majoring in Human Biology and minoring in Anthropology. Contact him at richcoca 'at'