We are well into our fall semester, and it feels different. It’s hard to to get together and socialize with friends or make new friends due to social distancing requirements. Humans are social creatures. Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, we all need some sort of social interaction. While COVID-19 has made it difficult to socialize with friends or make new ones, it’s still possible to be social while staying safe during a pandemic! 

Here are five examples of how you can spread those social butterfly wings and fulfill that craving for human interaction while staying safe!  

1. Virtual College Events 

Student organizations and departments have been getting creative to still provide events this semester, which you can attend virtually from the comfort of your own couch. Although you’ll have to provide your own snacks, you can still socialize with your fellow Bulls from various organizations including: student interest clubs, professional development organizations, and USF departments such as the Office of Multicultural Affairs, USF Recreation & Wellness and the Center for Student Involvement. Connect with students with similar interests, concerns, or goals, and use this platform of virtual events to network, learn new things, or just have fun! Use USF BullSync to browse a variety of events and organizations  and find a group that fits your interests!  

2. Physically Distant Outdoor Activities  

Looking to get together and catch up with friends? You can still do so safely! Try hosting fun outdoor activities that allow for social distancing.  Grab a face mask, some friends, and head outside! Here are some fun activities that you can try: 

  1. Picnics 
  1. Bike rides  
  1. Kayaking or Canoeing 
  1. Hiking 
  1. Golfing  
  1. Fishing  

Looking for a place to host these outdoor events? USF Riverfront Park or the Boat house at USFSP campus are great options! Make sure to bring a mask and practice social distancing.  

3. Movie Watch Parties  

There’s no need to binge your favorite shows alone! Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video, and other streaming sites have launched group streaming extensions so that you can enjoy your favorite TV shows or watch the latest movie with your friends. Just install the relevant extension, log in to your account and join the watch party! You can talk about the movie via the text channel while snuggling up in the comfort of your own home.  

4. Turn Acquaintances into Friends   

Who said that making friends is on a pause due to COVID-19? There are still people around us who can turn from acquaintances to friends. Whether it is coworkers, roommates, neighbors, classmates; you don’t need to look very far for new friends. Become more familiar with the ones you see regularly. Take the initiative and try to socialize and get to know one another outside of work or school. Try hosting socials, such as board game nights with your roommates to get to know each other or have a virtual get together with your co-workers and talk about non-work related stuff. Class group chats have also become increasingly popular as the semester is virtual, so you can use this opportunity to get to know your classmates and talk about relatable things either about the class, your majors or find new things you have in common!

5. Join Online Groups

Take advantage of technology and join online chat groups using various platforms such as Facebook, Groupme, and Discord. Join online groups with people that share similar interests or experiences and make new friends!  Chat about your passions, share jokes and your favorite movies with people near or far. Make new friends and have fun. Remember to stay safe online and not give away your personal information.  

We may be physically distant due to the current pandemic, but we do not need to ride this wave alone. We’re all in this together and we can safely socialize together, and we will get through this together by doing our part by practicing social distancing, wearing face masks, and washing our hands frequently.