5 quarantine-friendly ways to hang out with friends (that won’t make you wish you had stayed home)

As lockdown measures in the US drag on, you might find yourself a little crazy – especially if you browse social media and watch acquaintances throw huge parties, gather in restaurants and lounge on the beach . So here are our favorite ways to hang out with friends without getting COVID or FOMO.

1. Do a photo shoot (hidden)

If you and your friends have DSLR cameras, or even cool phones, you might be surprised at how good a photo looks when taken from over 10 feet away. Meet a friend at a scenic location near sunrise or sunset to take photos with striking silhouettes, or leave at golden hour so your friend can take your latest and most artistic profile picture nowadays. Then, shout goodbye and go home alone, virus-free.

If you feel like taking this activity to the next level, you and your friends should dress up! Slip into that dress you’ll never find an excuse to wear again and swap your loafers for real shoes.

silhouette of woman standing on seashore

picture by VisionPic.net of Pexels

2. Non-contact sports

Think volleyball, badminton, tennis…anything that pulls you apart. The MayoClinic lists Frisbee and similar sports as low-risk social activities that you should probably participate in safely.

3. Drive-in movies

While regular movie theaters have closed due to the pandemic, drive-in theaters have seen a nationwide revival. If you and your friends are laid off, plan to go see a show together! Delish has a great list of the best drive-in theaters in every state; your local newspaper probably also has reviews of good theaters near you. Tickets are usually relatively cheap (although nothing can beat Netflix prices).

4. Go stargazing

First, you and your friends need to find land. A relatively large backyard will also do, as will your college track – you’re mainly looking for a spot away from city lights where your view of the sky won’t be interrupted by trees.

Then get yourself a nice astronomy app; iPhone users often like Night Sky, and there are similar apps available for Android users. Grab a blanket, pour hot tea into a thermos and fall in love with the night sky. You can familiarize yourself with the constellations, locate the North Star or, if you’ve done your research beforehand, catch a meteor shower.

You go out at night, so be mindful of your personal safety. Let your parents know where you will be and consider taking your younger sibling with you so you are never alone in an empty field.

5. Go hiking (but make it fun)

IDK about you, but my local trails have gotten way too popular lately, so if I’m going on a social distancing hike with friends, it must be around 7:00. These hikes also get a bit boring if all ‘re doing is listening to themselves breathe heavily through the #8 switchback. Spice up! Bring a birding guide and stalk finches, or set your sights on hiking in increasing difficulty throughout August. It’s also a great photo opportunity — see activity #1.

Also, one last note: hanging out during a pandemic is complicated. Before you do anything with a friend, check with him on his personal boundaries. Make sure all your friends are virus-free and make it obvious that it’s okay to cancel same-day plans for a sore throat or stuffy nose. Use common sense. Cool responsibly.

Thumbnail attribution: Photo of Elijah O’Donnell of Pexels