Missing friends during coronavirus? 7 tips to host a virtual happy hour

With all the restrictions on public gatherings related to the coronavirus crisis, mostly-homebound people are having to get creative to maintain contact with friends.

One option? Throw a virtual happy hour.

The current restrictions on public gatherings means people are having to get creative to remain social — one option is hosting a virtual happy hour.

If the idea of casually getting together with friends — albeit remotely — sounds appealing, here are a few tips.

  1. There are lots of free video chat apps that work on phones, laptops, or desktops, including Zoom, Skype and Google Hangout. Choose one to host your virtual happy hour.
  2. Pick a time for your get-together, schedule the hangout and send an invite to your friends. You might want to keep the happy hour under a dozen people, so everyone can participate in the conversation.
  3. Looking forward to a virtual happy hour is as good a reason as any to get out of those sweatpants, shower and put on some real clothes.
  4. As the host, you might want to keep some music playing lightly in the background. You can provide your own, or most music streaming services have some sort of Quarantine Music playlist.
  5. Once your friends start arriving, encourage them to choose the “grid” option on their software, so you all can see each other at the same time.
  6. As with real world happy hours, it’s probably best to keep the conversation light. While COVID-19 is bound to pop up in conversation, it’s not hard to redirect too-heavy discussion into sharing tips and ideas on how to enjoy the time at home.
  7. Toast your real-world friends, and look forward to getting together again virtually, and eventually, in the same room.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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