How to Create Meaningful Connections While Apart
These days, we are all bunkering down to ‘stay at home’. As we do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19 and stay separated, it is even more crucial to remain connected with our loved ones, co-workers and clients when physical meetings and gatherings are not possible.
While it is easy to stay digitally and socially connected with the help of technology, virtual connections also make it harder to be intentional and meaningful when we don’t have the chance to see each other face-to-face.
Here are 5 simple tips to incorporate into our new daily routine and enhance feelings of connection:
1. Reach Out
This downtime is a great opportunity to reconnect with friends or even people we may know who are self-isolating in quarantine or serving a Stay At Home Notice (SHN). Be spontaneous, let people know you are thinking of them and want to connect. It’s the perfect way to initiate a catch up. For work, it’s a good time to revisit and engage old leads that have gone cold. Don’t wait for the other party to reach out. Be proactive and start sending that text, email or simply pick up the phone.
2. Ask with Intention
It’s time to move beyond the “how are you” question when we connect. Especially in these tough and stressful times, it becomes even more relevant for us to ask better questions. Take the time and ask questions that show genuine care and concern. Questions like “how are you coping with this new normal?” are great openers to a conversation. Recognise that everyone is struggling in some way to adapt to the new normal. Share how it has been and what’s been working for you. It’s ok to show a bit of vulnerability. It just means we’re human.
3. Be Inclusive
As we get a handle of holding daily virtual meetings and video chats, the downside is that it may also become easier to tune or feel left out at such meetings especially when you’re Zooming with 10 people at one time. Let’s be real, the responsibility lies with each of us to be present and engaged in our connections. These are stressful times. Co-workers might be anxious learning how to adapt to this new style and it may be a good practice to allow everyone to do a mental health check-in and offer support. Connecting with others helps calm frazzled nerves. In virtual settings, it is also harder to read a person’s body language, so it is important to look out for cues like prolonged moments of silence to ensure everyone is included and engaged in the conversation.
4. Host a Virtual Gathering
While physical meetups are put on hold, it’s an opportune time to turn every gathering into a virtual one. Awkward at first, once everyone gets onboard, it will be just as fun and meaningful. The important rule is that everyone has to participate in the same shared experience. At our workplace, we love hosting a Virtual Happy Hour with the team every Friday at 5pm. We take the opportunity to try different cocktail bars offering pre-batch bottled cocktails (see a growing list of bars compiled by the amazing Spirited Singapore here) and have them delivered to our homes.
Recently, we also upped the ante, organising our own virtual Wine Tasting. Beforehand, we appointed a team member to be in charge of the theme (e.g Rosé), choosing the wine samplers, and had them delivered to our homes. We then had a fun one- hour activity exchanging tasting notes and declaring our favourites!
5. Host a Watch Party or Date Night
While it’s impossible to head out for a movie together at the moment or plan date night, there’s still plenty of opportunities to create an amazing experience virtually. Host a Netflix watch party with your friends, synchronising your viewing experience of your latest binge.
Date Nights can still happen, just differently now. Plan a date and time, pick and pre-order a complete 3 course meal from a restaurant you’ve always been wanting to try. The crisis has hit our F&B industry hard and it’s the perfect way to support our local businesses. Many restaurants including most of TAB’s dining experience partners (see list here) are offering discounts and special menus tailored to dining at home so it’s a great time to try their amazing culinary creations at more accessible prices. Set up Facetime, Zoom or whichever video chatting app of your choice, pick a playlist and let the magic begin!
We hope these ideas spark some inspiration to stay connected with your loved ones while you stay at home. Stay safe and healthy.