How to Stay in Touch With Friends and Family When You’re Stuck at Home

A few weeks ago, the phrase “social distancing” didn’t mean much to most folks. These days, you hear it frequently. It’s all about flattening the curve by physically staying away from other people to ensure that our hospitals have enough room for those who need it in the wake of the novel coronavirus. (And yes, it’s really that important.)

Sheltering in place and keeping to yourself is enough to drive anyone a little stir-crazy. If you’re missing your friends and family, we’ve rounded up some apps, services, and ideas that can make your isolation feel a bit less lonely. We also have advice on how to be quarantined with someone without permanently damaging your relationship.

The WIRED team has put together a myriad of handy tips for navigating your time in the wake of Covid-19. Check out some of the best songs, videogames, and movies if you’re craving some new media.

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Netflix and Chill, Virtually!

Photograph: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg/Getty Images

You might not be able to plop on a couch next to your best friend and rewatch all of Parks and Recreation, but you both can plop on your respective couches and watch together. Now’s a great time to stream those things you’ve been meaning to get to forever (Firefly, anyone?) or binge some so-bad, it’s-good content. Tremors 6, here we come.

  • Netflix Party: This Google Chrome extension requires both parties to be using Chrome on desktop, but it works pretty well. First up, you and your binge-watching pals will need to install the extension. Head to Netflix, queue up an episode or a movie, and click the little NP icon in your extension bar. It’ll spit out a link that you can send to your friends. Everyone will watch the episode together, synced up, and there’s a built-in chat interface so you all can LOL in harmony.

  • Kast: Kast is similar to Netflix Party, but it allows you to share whatever’s on your screen. That means games, shows, and videos are all fair game here. The interface is a little wonky, but the benefit of Kast is that it works on computers as well as phones and tablets.

  • Or, Just Use Your Phone: You don’t need a fancy service to watch shows and movies with your friends. Just agree on something to watch, and agree on a time to start it. For maximum feels, chat on the phone simultaneously. You might be off by a few seconds, and you may have to synchronize pausing, but we’re willing to bet the laughs that ensue will make any technology woes worthwhile.

Video Chatting

Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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