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Hi, my name is Shontel Cargill and I’m a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist at Thriveworks. So the question that was asked was, “How do I make new friends during COVID-19?”

I think that this is a great question. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are strongly advised to remain socially distant, disrupting our ability to congregate for church weddings, birthday celebrations, and other types of gatherings. These types of gatherings are typically ways in which we meet new people. And so today I want to be able to offer a few ways in which you can meet new people while remaining safe and healthy.

So let’s start with technology. Technology has said to be a blessing and a curse, right? But during this time, I believe it’s an integral way of keeping us connected while remaining safe. And so some popular platforms out there that are being used are Zoom, Google Hangouts, FaceTime, House Party, and other video conferencing platforms. I’ve also seen that there are, you know, chat groups such as GroupMe that create ways of meeting new people.

Virtual parties. Virtual parties are becoming very popular nowadays. People are using these virtual parties to celebrate their birthdays. And I think it’s a pretty cool way to celebrate with friends and family, but also meet new people in the process. Virtual book clubs. If you are an avid reader, I believe that virtual book clubs are a cool way of meeting other people who love to read, but also be able to create new friendships and connections via that common interest.

Networking: networking is yet another great way to connect with other people who may have similar business interests as you. And so I think that using, you know, virtual networking can afford you the opportunity to connect with people that are in the same business industry as you, you know, start out as a professional, you know, relationship in maybe even foster into, you know, a friendship out of it.

Find a group or community on Facebook. I know that Facebook has these fantastic communities on their Facebook page in which you can connect with others who may have common interest or likes as you. And so there may be groups about, you know, folks who are transitioning to a work from home lifestyle now that we, you know, are, you know, sheltering in place right now. And you know, there are groups for people who make like sports or people who are clinicians. And so I think that using these online groups, you know, on Facebook are great way to connect with others and also be able to meet new people and create friendships.

Giving back. I think that giving back is a fantastic way of being able to meet new people while also being able to support others. You know, there are groups online that are requesting, donations such as food and supplies. I know there are also other local nonprofit organizations that are wanting people to help pack food for seniors or for health care workers or make mass for health care workers.

So I think that these are fantastic ways in meeting new people. And I hope that these tips are helpful in your journey of creating those new friendships while also remaining safe and socially distant. Thank you so much for listening and please be well.