Students should actively reach out to friends through virtual platforms despite increased physical distancing

Students should actively reach out to friends through virtual platforms despite increased physical distancing

Grace Xu

To be quite frank, I’m a massive introvert. If there were a kitchen in my room, I’d probably never leave—and what’s more, I’d be content with not having to leave. So when this quarantine started, I was, of course, disheartened, considering the global crisis we’re currently in and whatnot, but social isolation wasn’t exactly the top of my worries—at first. So not at the top of my worries, in fact, that I actually started neglecting social contact completely, for a while. And yet, I don’t think my experiences were entirely unique, nor unwarranted, unfortunately.
It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to say we’re living the Great Depression right now, and not just economically. We—as human beings, also known as highly social creatures—are in the midst of a social recession. There is no school or work to facilitate human interactions, so the responsibility falls upon you, the individual, to actively reach out to your friends.

Because by giving in to the isolation, you are not only harming your personal well-being, but you are also harming the well-being of others.
Research, in addition to good old common sense, has proven that humans need social interaction—not just for the sake of mental or emotional health, but also for the very foundations of physical health. During these trying times, it’s especially important for everyone to make their best efforts in maintaining (virtual) social contact. Maybe even a simple “hey” will do. (Provided that your friend naturally texts back with “is for horses,” you now have an entire conversation going where you may debate the merits of spelling and homophones.)
After all, with the proliferation of technology today, you very likely have no excuse to not reach out. To start off with, you can send a simple message (see above), or perhaps try a phone call, if you’re feeling up to it.
You could use Houseparty, an app that functions like group-Facetime but is accessible for more smart devices. You can also try Netflix Party, so you can vent to your friends while simultaneously watching some trashy show that’s only satisfying when you can rant about how the script reads like it was written by 12-year-olds (“In case you haven’t noticed, I’m weird. I’m a weirdo.”).
You could even set up a Zoom meeting with a group of friends—perhaps as a surprise birthday party, by telling the said-birthday celebrator that you desperately wanted to video call and Zoom was the only possible alternative to your obviously broken Facetime (which you most certainly did not fake)… a devious scheme that one of my friends employed with great success.
The bottom line is we are social distancing…but only physically. So make sure you’re doing your part by staying home to flatten the curve, but also make sure you’re doing your part by virtually reaching out to others—for both your sanity and theirs. Because while we are humans and not horses, a “hey” every once in a while still sounds like a pretty good idea.

The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the HiLite staff. Reach Grace Xu at [email protected]

Click here to read a column about the importance of social distancing.