The Daily Gamecock

Guide to socially distanced hangouts this fall

This fall will look different from any semester we’ve ever seen. From tailgates to study groups, social distancing and safely hanging out with friends will pose a challenge to Gamecock social life. Here are some suggestions for hanging out with friends this fall while staying safe and doing our civic duty.

If you have a picnic table at your dorm or a balcony at your apartment, outdoor dinner parties or potlucks are a perfect and safe social outing. Challenge your friends to a bake-off, fill up on pizza or each bring your own takeout — just stay six feet apart. For a virtual twist, video chat a few friends and each cook the same recipe, followed by comparing the outcomes for a fun and competitive evening.

During this time, it can be hard to find anything to talk about other than the current state of the world. That is where a fun game can be the perfect antidote to dull conversation. A favorite after-dinner game prone to inappropriate jokes, the website version of Cards Against Humanity can be just as laughable through a computer screen. The online game, just as in person, is best played with a large group, especially if you share your screen to watch each others’ reactions.    

Many of us have watched plenty of television during quarantine, but though you might be tired of spending countless hours behind a TV screen, Netflix Party ranks high on our list due to the creative replication of watching movies with friends. The chat function and interactive GIFs make watching “Tiger King” from home almost as entertaining as it is with friends. 

If you feel like you’ve watched every series Netflix has to offer over quarantine, it might be time for something different, such as a book club. Book clubs are equally as engaging as Netflix Party but with a different angle. Assign chapters weekly and schedule video chats to discuss the latest readings with your group.

While TV marathons might be fun for awhile, there comes a point where we need to get off the couch and move. For many of us, quarantine has seemingly zapped all motivation to stay active and get fit. Those who thrive off mutual motivation will love collaborating in online workouts. Zoom with a friend and screen-share Chloe Ting videos or meet on the Horseshoe and spread out yoga mats around a YouTube class — the options are endless.

Even though we have all spent more than enough time away from our friends, it can still be beneficial to take some time alone to recharge. Putting in the effort to socialize these days can sometimes seem more tiring than enticing, so if you need a new activity to perform from the solitude and comfort of your bed, online art classes are a great idea. YouTube tutorials cover anything from DIY picture frames to how to paint almost anything. This can also be done with friends virtually or physically distanced.

Friday nights will undoubtedly look different this year. Heading to Five Points after a long week is almost a USC tradition, but for the foreseeable future, it’s probably not the best idea. Instead, try playing distant drinking games with friends. Look up the “Never Have I Ever” iPhone app or search “Buzzed Drinking Game” on TikTok to find fun games that are easily screen-shared over Zoom. 

If you're comfortable using Zoom, but aren't in the mood for a party, a regular Zoom hangout is a happy median. With a maximum call capacity of 100 members, Zoom is a fan-favorite platform for virtual hangouts. To make things more interesting, take advantage of some of the lesser-known features, such as screen annotations and custom backgrounds, or coordinate plans for a spirited dress-code.

However you choose to spend time with friends this semester, make sure that you make it a priority to keep yourself and others healthy. There are tons of ways to socialize without putting people at risk. 


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