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It’s 5 O’clock Somewhere: Why Not Try Virtual Social Hosting?

March 23, 2020

While we’re all busy social distancing, many of our hearts ache for the exact opposite – hugs, laughter, the clinking of glasses full of shared cheer – so why not try virtual social hosting?

Technology like Zoom, Google Hangout and FaceTime allows us to connect with people through video chat on computers, laptops or even mobile devices. Coronavirus (COVID-19) may have us keeping physical distance, it’s even more important to bridge the emotional gap.

“The opposite of depression is not happiness, it’s social interaction and connection, which allow you to build resilience,” said Dr. Laura Saunders, clinical coordinator of the LGBTQ specialty track in Young Adult Services at the Institute of Living, part of the Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network. “People should be making at least one social interaction each day.”

It’s as easy as reaching out to your crew – fellow soccer moms, college roomies, work buddies – setting a time and sharing log-in information. Going all in on this connectivity can help boost your spirits.


  • Keeping it small. You can chat more when there are fewer voices chiming in. If you do have a lot of people chatting at once, try appointing a moderator.
  • Lighting things up. This isn’t the corner of your favorite pub. Make sure the lighting is good so your friends can enjoy your “presence.” Snuggle into a corner of the couch or on a deck chair, far away from the cooped-up children and blaring televisions.
  • Gridding yourselves. Use the technology to create a grid of equal-size boxes featuring each chat participant so you can see everyone at the same time.
  • Dressing up. We’re all huddled in sweats with bed hair as we work or pore over schoolwork with the kids, but try changing into something that makes you feel fresh and fun as if you were meeting these friends out. A little makeup and a quick hair fluff will help you feel like your “get-together” is normal.
  • Sharing snacks. Maybe you want to set a happy hour feel and hoist glasses to shared survival. Whether alcoholic or not, call them quarantinis and toast friendship.
  • Keeping chat light. This really shouldn’t be the time to dissect the day’s news – although share recipes and childcare tips – so keep it light as you connect with people who bring your heart joy and laugh despite the challenges. Spark conversation, if needed, by asking what people are grateful for, or what long-delayed chores they’ve tackled. Talk about movies or binge-worthy shows. Reminisce.
  • Planning your next chat. Having something to look forward to is key during this time of uncertainty.

Not feeling well? Call your healthcare provider for guidance and try to avoid going directly to an emergency department or urgent care center, as this could increase the chances of the disease spreading.

Click here to schedule a virtual visit with a Hartford HealthCare-GoHealth Urgent care doctor.

Stay with Hartford HealthCare for everything you need to know about the coronavirus threat. Click here for information updated daily.

Questions? Call our 24-hour hotline (860.972.8100 or, toll-free, 833.621.0600). 

Get text alerts by texting 31996 with COVID19 in the message field.