Planning a virtual happy hour? Here are some do’s and don’ts

Everyone around the world is quarantining themselves in order to flatten the coronavirus curve. Sure, I’d rather be out watching spring bloom in Ohio, but there’s plenty to watch on Netflix, and my friends and family are only a video chat away.

I’ve been calling friends from all over to catch up during all the downtime, and I’ve picked up on a bit of etiquette that comes with raising your glass while you phone-a-friend.

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Do: Pour yourself something good

I have been holding onto a 2005 Rioja for a few years now. I was saving it for a special occasion, but I decided that the 2020 COVID-19 outbreak is the special occasion. You can’t share a pint with friends on a patio, you can’t go to a concert, and March Madness didn’t happen … so what else can you do to bring yourself a little joy in these crazy times?

Make yourself that martini or pop that fancy champagne. Pour yourself something you really like and cheers your friends over the phone. You made it another week cooped up with your family. You deserve it.

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Don’t: Overdo it

My first virtual happy hour was a week into quarantining and I was so excited for a little human interaction that I finished my drink in about three gulps. While your couch is quite literally the safest place to get sloshed, trust me, you can still embarass yourself over video chat. So just like, be cool.

The next happy hour I attended was with coworkers and my boss — so as not to repeat the same mistakes, I sipped slowly. It was a much more enjoyable experience (for all.) So even though you’re in the comfort of your own home, drink responsibly. Just imagine doing something stupid like drunkenly showing off your air guitar skills only to spill your drink all over your laptop … you know, just as an example.

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Do: Take it as an opportunity to dress up (if you want)

I don’t know about you, but this quarantine is the ugliest I’ve ever been. My hair has been in a perpetual top knot for 16 days straight, and my sweats have seen more wear than the past thee years combined. Let’s not even get started on my eyebrows. I am a person who loves to get dressed up, so I look at every virtual drink date with friends as an opportunity to remind myself that I don’t actually look like the hunchback of Notre Dame. While a ballgown and full glam are not required, take some time and do yourself up a bit. You can’t imagine how much better you’ll feel.

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Don’t: Get distracted

Self Care is a buzz phrase nowadays, and a lot of things fall into that category: taking a bubble bath, going for a walk, and FaceTiming your friends all count as self-care in times of a quarantine. Treat this opportunity to connect with your favorite people as a priority; make sure your other distractions are set aside for this one precious hour. Don’t cook dinner, don’t channel surf, and for goodness sake put your kids to bed. This is time for you to focus on you and the people in your life who you can’t literally embrace right now. Carve out the time, do it for your friends and do it for yourself.

Credit: Trolley Stop

Credit: Trolley Stop

Do: This again even when the quarantine is over

For the past three weeks I have been chatting with my girlfriends from college a lot. We text, and snapchat, and tag each other in memes, sure … but we have all carved out time (because there is plenty to spare) to get on a video chat and really talk to each other. There are eight of us girls, and we all live in different states; even under normal circumstances we just don’t chat as much as we should. Getting the opportunity to see their faces each week has been so important and significant.

I hate that it took a pandemic to remind us how much we all really value each other. So let’s all take this opportunity to dedicate time to our friends and family near and far — not just out of boredom, but appreciation.

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Don’t: Forget to show gratitude

Doctors and nurses are on the frontlines of the pandemic. Our grocery stores are open because hardworking people are willing to put themselves at risk of infection so you can feed yourself and your family, and those grocery stores sell the wine and beer we get to enjoy during our virtual happy hours.

There are people all over our country making sacrifices so that we can stay home and comfortably call our friends and family. We are all so lucky to enjoy these light-hearted moments connecting with those we love. Make sure when you are cheersing over the phone that you also cheers those who are still out there providing all of us a great service.

Cheers to you all!

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