Let’s imagine for a minute… You live in a dystopian society where the government has prevented you from seeing your friends in person. You are–spitballing here–in a virtual lockdown of sorts. But, the man can’t stop you partying! You will throw a virtual self-isolation party with your finger in the air!
This article is not based on any current circumstances but is presented to help all future (ahem) pandemics. That’s a good word for it, yeah. Regardless, this fictional landscape is new to you and your friends and you’ve never had to do this before. You usually just catch up at the pub or whatever.
Well, here are the steps you’ll need to take to prepare for your first virtual self-isolation party:
Invite Open-Minded Friends
Yes, friends are crucial for any party let alone virtual ones. But don’t worry, all your friends are really available at the moment just like you. They likely have nothing better to do with their time so they’ll at least be keen to humour your idea.
However, you don’t just want any friends for this escapade. You’ll need the most open-minded and imaginative friends you have. You’ll be literally doing the equivalent of playing a video game, with your friends as the characters, for hours.]
So, good energy is key here.
Remove All Children
Any distractions are going to kill your virtual self-isolation party quicker than a bad case of… Not appropes. If you’re constantly yelling offscreen at your kids in another room causing chaos then really don’t bother. You won’t enjoy it and your friends online won’t either.
Either, have no kids or, if that ship has sailed, make sure they are well into bed before your start. I would get them up extra early and wear them out with cubby houses, hide-and-seek, standard wrestling, other forms of wrestling and anything that involved running around your small space.
Look, don’t feel bad, as kids love lockdown. Those little weirdos get yours–and your partners–full attention all the damn time. They are happy with this situation even if you’re not.
Stock up on Alcohol
This is a crucial step as it will not only help the party but help general coping mechanisms.
Don’t drink in front of the kids (of course, duh) but bust it out when they’re gone. Also, this is potentially the end-of-the-world so make sure you get the nice stuff out. Get down the nice glasses on the top-shelf. Pour extra big drinks.
There is literally no better time to enjoy it than now! What the F are you waiting for?
Shop for Supplies Early
This is just good advice for all pandemics.
The key to having a good time is being in a good mood. Shopping during a pandemic will not put you in a good mood. The crazies will be out…
So, while you shouldn’t be stupid and do any panic-buying but, taking a leaf out of the crazies book, you will use a fair amount of toilet paper and snacks during your virtual self-isolation party (see alcohol). You do not want to be lined up at a store social-distancing yourself from others during the experience.
Also, I imagine, you are cooking constantly. Breakfast, lunch, dinner… Meal after meal prep. Gawd. You will not want to cook for your party so treat yourself with either micro-wave dinners ready-to-go here or make sure that Uber Eats is a goer.
Sort out Your Tech
I’ve heard of parties on Google Hangouts, Skype and Facebook Messenger. These all will fill your requirements but if you are feeling a little bit fancier you could do down a professional route with Zoom or GoToMeetings. Make sure you have all agreed on your virtual channel and are RTG.
On profiles, you could change your image to a wine glass and your tagline to something like ‘known party animal’ to ensure you kick off your dinner with the right mood.
Think of it like you’re walking into a party with your party shirt on. People instantly know it’s on…
Draft a Dinner Schedule
As mentioned, you and your friends have not done this before. They would likely prefer the company of actual human beings you can touch and feel. This is new territory so make sure you have a plan.
Firstly, be firm with your kick-off time. I know that sitting at a work meeting waiting for others to sign-on is frustrating and you don’t want that at your party. Secondly, follow up with some plans for games, food, general banter. You won’t want your party to lag at any point. People lose interest virtually very quickly.
Also, you could even nominate one of your more anal friends to control the plan and minutes?
Include Drinking Games
Like a schedule, you–and I can’t stress this enough–will need to keep the evening moving constantly and games are a good way to do this.
Talking to a screen can be difficult, tiring and awkward at times so a game where you are just yelling unintelligible things will break this and get people laughing. And, if you play a drinking game with rules then you could possibly make *awkward silence* a great excuse for everyone to drink.
Plan Some Good Banter
My suggestion is to pre-plan some solid banter and keep the chat off the current situation. No one likes a depresso at the party.
Yes, you and your friends have chatted a million times before. But, in this circumstance, there is nothing embarrassing about slyly using a queue card under the table to start a convo with your friends. I’m thinking things like “if you were stuck on a desert island…” etc.
Note: don’t ask them what they did today. No one wants to be reminded and tears are not good now.
Crank the Tunes
Look, you’ll lose energy with talking to a screen–and you live partner–so the music will break it up. Put our screens on mute and share a playlist to get moving.
Worst case, loud music and a darker room give everyone the opportunity to have a toilet break in privacy without having to acknowledge to everyone that you are going to do this. No one wants to hear the tinkle (or other noise) while they stare at a couch.
Formulate an Out
Even if you follow every step you might get bored with the company. It might happen even though you’ve literally done nothing all done and this is slightly more exciting than moping around.
Like any bad date, the most obvious out will be the old bad connection…
Your First Virtual Self-Isolation Party Will Be a Work-In-Progress
Don’t write yourself off though. This is a new world and it will take some practice to get the hang of hanging out with people virtually. And know, a valid reason to throw your party (e.g. birthday) is not a requirement at all. Just existing and killing time is enough of a good reason for everyone involved.