How to Keep Long-Distance Friendships Strong

Even under normal circumstances, many Americans struggle with loneliness, which can eventually take a toll on their health, Harvard Magazine reports.

By Rebecca L. Bennett

Add in a global pandemic that has kept many people physically separated from loved ones for an entire year, it’s no wonder that many Americans are struggling to feel connected to out-of-household family and friends lately. If that’s you, here are a few strategies that might help:

Goodbye Zoom fatigue

Video calls through apps like Zoom, FaceTime and Skype can help us bond with loved ones regardless of distance, but they can also stress us out and zap our energy. To combat “Zoom fatigue” and keep video calls fresh, try planning group activities like:

  • Virtual dinners. Have everyone order or prepare a meal and enjoy it together during your call. You could also cook the same meal together, either from scratch or from a kit.
  • Online games. This could take the form of turn-based games like Words with Friends or multiplayer games where you’re actively online together, such as ones included in AARP’s game library
  • Online classes and events. Sign up for a virtual course where you can collectively learn a new skill, such as flower arranging or chocolate tasting, or make something together, such as terrariums. You can also find plenty of virtual concerts, movie screenings and more.
A more personal touch

If you’re Zoomed out, you can still find sweet, safe ways to connect, such as scheduling consistent phone calls, starting a group text or email thread, or setting up a schedule where you and your loved ones exchange intentional gifts, such as letters, cards and recipes.


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