2020 was a pretty terrible year, in fact you couldn’t write it and have people believe you. Who would believe we’d be as isolated as we were last year? And even now, who’d believe we’d be wondering how to meet new people during COVID?
Who would have thought that we would all be in various states of lockdown, thanks to a raging virus that was making its way through the worldwide population? It’s terrifying and downright bizarre all at the same time.
However, humans are resilient, and we’ve all done what we can to make the best of the situation. Whether you’re currently working from home and finding it strange, you’re out of work and you’re trying to avoid anxiety over what comes next, or you’re a key worker who has no choice but to head out to work every day, life has certainly been tough.
[Read: How to fight the terrible loneliness that COVID has bought upon us]
When life gets hard, it’s important to rally around friends and family members and keep everyone’s spirits up. But in a cruel twist of fate, that’s exactly what we’ve been unable to do, thanks to the way in which this virus spreads. Despite all of that, we can be clever, and we can outwit this virus. We can learn how to meet new people during COVID and support those we love, all without putting anyone at risk.
How? Read on!
The importance of avoiding loneliness during COVID
First things first, it’s important to know why learning how to meet new people during COVID and be in touch with your loved ones is so important. Loneliness isn’t the thing its portrayed to be. It’s not Bridget Jones sitting on her sofa with an empty bottle of wine, singing “All By Myself”. It’s a serious issue which can lead towards mental health conditions and exacerbating those which are already in place. [Read: How to survive and thrive alone in the pandemic without falling apart]
Lonely doesn’t mean alone. You can be alone and be perfectly happy and fulfilled. Being lonely is something else altogether. It’s a longing for human contact, even if that’s virtual contact, and it’s an issue which can make stress, anxiety and depression a very real thing.
Humans are designed to be sociable creatures. We need to meet new people and connect with others for our health and wellbeing. So, when we’re not able to do so, we start to feel unwell. This can be physically, mentally, or both. When that happens, you start to feel listless, and you don’t want to move and make an effort. That exacerbates the whole thing even more.
During COVID, and even out of it, it’s vital to reach out to people you care about and check in on them. Force yourself to connect with others and if you’re able to do so, make sure you include other people too – you never know how other people are doing unless you ask. [Read: How to start being social and genuinely connect with other people]
How to meet people during COVID
You might be thinking “That’s all very well and good, but how am I supposed to learn how to meet new people during COVID when everything is in lockdown?” Good question.
Lockdown does not have to be a barrier to communicating and meeting people – we have the Internet these days! It might lack that in-person feel but let’s face it, it’s better than nothing. It’s also worth remembering that in most cases *although do check the guidelines on lockdown where you live*, you are able to head out and get some exercise. If you can do that with someone else, socially distanced, you can meet new people despite COVID.
Let’s check out all the interesting ways you can meet new people during COVID and expand your social circle.
#1 Take the dog out for a walk. Dog walkers are very sociable people in general! Take the dog out for a walk around the park and make sure you speak to anyone you pass. You can easily stand and have a chat, as long as you’re a couple of meters away from one another. If you don’t have a dog, you could always volunteer to take the neighbor’s dog for a walk!
#2 Talk to people in the supermarket. When you’re out doing your grocery shopping, try to strike up conversations with people who are also doing their shopping. Whilst you’re standing around the freezer aisle, all you need to do is make a comment about the price of an item you’re looking at or something equally as random. These things often help us to connect with other people and doing this will help you learn how to meet new people during COVID. [Read: How to talk to anyone and master the art of a true conversationalist]
#3 Join chat groups online. Obviously, you need to be careful who you’re taking to online. But as long as you keep your wits about you, the online realm can be a great place to meet new people. It’s also ideal for the times we’re living in, because it’s completely virtual and therefore completely socially distanced!
#4 Take part in virtual webinars. This is a double whammy idea, because not only do you get to learn how to meet new people during COVID, but you also get to learn something new. Sign up for a virtual webinar on something that interests you and take part. Ask questions, talk, and generally participate. Of course, make sure it’s a webinar that allows participation and not just a theory-based option!
#5 Online dating is an option. If you want to meet people you could potentially date during COVID, online dating is the ideal place during this time. You might simply meet people who turn out to be friends, and that’s great too! It’s the perfect way to spend an evening and it helps you to stay connected to other people. There is the potential for romance too! [Read: Dating during COVID – How to have fun and feel safe at the same time]
#6 Have Zoom parties with friends, and friends of friends. Zoom has become a staple in our lives, and you can use it to meet other people too. Invite friends to a Zoom party and get them to invite some of their friends too. You’ll then have mutual connections and when you swap contact details, you might find that you make brand new friends of your own. [Read: 17 must-know Zoom etiquette, easy rules and zero mishaps]
#7 Do some outdoor exercise. I mentioned taking the dog for a walk earlier, but simply going out for a walk or a jog is a good way to meet new people. Not everyone will want to stop for a chat, but someone might; after all, most of us are trying to reach out and establish connections at this time. If you want to learn how to meet new people during COVID, outdoor exercise is a great place to start.
#8 Start discussions on social media. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, these are all places you can meet people online and start having deeper conversations. All it usually takes is a comment on a post or a photo and away you go! [Read: How to make friends as an introvert who never leaves home]
#9 Be brave and just start conversations. Perhaps the most important tip I can give you when it comes to meeting new people during COVID is that you must be brave. Not everyone finds it easy to talk to people they’ve never met but you just have to go for it. Small talk doesn’t have to be awkward, it’s a great way to find out if you have anything in common. Take a deep breath and just compliment the person on something they’re wearing – everyone loves to be complimented and it’s a great ice breaker.
#10 Help the elderly around your area. Older people can be fantastic friends! Think of all the stories they can tell you, and of course, you’re helping them to stay connected and uplifted during this time too. See if any of your elderly neighbors want to have a socially distanced coffee in the garden, or if they need any help. It’s a great way to learn how to meet new people during COVID and spend some quality time.
#11 Volunteer to help somewhere (socially distanced). There are many places which are in need of volunteers at this time, such a food bank, etc. As long as you’re doing so in a socially distanced and safe way, these are great places to meet new people and help you and do your bit. Check online and see if any local places need an extra pair of hands.
[Read: How to find hope during the pandemic instead of losing it]
14 fun activities for friends to enjoy during COVID
Of course, you might be short on inspiration when it comes to things you can do with friends at this time. It’s hard to meet up and enjoy your usual activities, so what else can you do? Here are a few ideas, and you can use them alongside learning how to meet new people during COVID, beating your lockdown blues.
#1 Socially distanced picnics. You can meet up in the park with your friends and have a picnic, as long as you do so in a socially distanced way.
#2 Socially distanced exercise. If you don’t want to sit down and eat, why not arrange to exercise in the same place, again making sure that you’re socially distanced? This can be running around the park or doing a spot of yoga as a group.
#3 Zoom parties. The easiest and safest way to mingle and meet people during COVID is to have a Zoom party. You all get to sit in your home, comfortable and warm, chatting away like you’re all in the same location. What could be better? [Read: How to stay connected during the pandemic and make sure you avoid the loneliness]
#4 Movie nights on Zoom. You can also use Zoom to have movies nights. You simply need to choose a movie you’re going to watch together, put it on your individual screens and watch together. You can talk as you’re watching and pretend you’re all at the cinema.
#5 Long talks on the phone. Sometimes the old methods are the best. Call your friend and sit and have a long “putting the world to rights” chat. It’s cathartic, it’s uplifting, and it’s a great way to stay connected with those around you.
#6 Create WhatsApp groups for constant chat streams. Throughout the day, you can all constantly chat with comments, memes, gifs, funny videos and anything else which springs to mind. It’s a quick way to stay in touch and it’s great fun. If the constant beeping of your phone gets annoying, simply silence it!
#7 Start planning activities. Lockdown will be a thing of the past at some point. And a great way to keep everyone’s spirits up is to start planning activities and trips you’re going to take as a group when the pandemic is over. [Read: Top 50 really fun things to do on a road trip and create new memories]
#8 Go out fruit picking together. Bear with me, I know this one sounds odd! If you have a fruit picking arm around you, you can do this together and stay socially distanced. You’re also doing a good deed and you’re getting fresh air!
#9 Volunteer together. Again, socially distanced is the key phrase here, but you can volunteer somewhere as a group. Food banks, homeless shelters, medical centers, these are all places you can check in with and see if they need a helping hand. You’re spending time together and you’re doing a good deed.
#10 Play games over social media. You can be creative with this one, but how about the ‘tell a story’ game? Someone starts, another person adds a bit to the story, someone else takes over, and the game goes on. It’s a great way to spend time, use your creativity, and it’s fun! [Read: The ups and downs of being single during this pandemic]
#11 Socially distanced outdoor BBQs. Depending upon the restrictions where you live, it may be possible to have an outdoor BBQ together, as long as you’re socially distanced.
#12 Have a virtual cook-a-thon. You all make something in the kitchen, live on Zoom, and someone decides who the winner is. Sure, you don’t get to taste it, but appearances will have to do!
#13 Have a virtual spa night. You can all connect to Zoom and pamper yourselves in sync. Face masks, pedicures, manicures, candles, you name it. [Read: The best virtual date first ideas to really get to know each other]
#14 Have a virtual meal together. I mentioned a cooking competition, but you can all check in on Zoom at dinner time and eat at the same time. It’s almost like going out for dinner!
[Read: How to beat the quarantine blues and still lead your best life]
There are many unique ways you can learn how to meet new people during COVID whilst staying connected to those you already know well. It just takes a little thinking outside of the box!
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