Asian woman waving at the screen during a video call

Social relationships are not as they were a few years ago. With spontaneous, carefree socializing out of the question, we’ve resorted to various virtual activities to talk to family and friends. Admittedly, many of them are truly creative and exciting. E-numans were a hit, as were online escape rooms, and themed virtual parties. 

However, as the age of virtual everything drags on, things that were once enjoyable for their novelty are slowly becoming tedious. It’s so easy to retreat into solitude and skip socializing out of exhaustion. It’s completely valid, too. Everyone's tired, TBH. So, below are small yet meaningful ways to strengthen your social relationships without having to orchestrate a massive virtual shebang.

Be Understanding Towards Your Absent Friends

According to a recent study by the Department of Psychology at the University of Alberta, isolation has been harder on introverts than extroverts. As much as introverts enjoy alone time, the study found that because they are less adept at maintaining much fewer social connections, they’ve lost a lot of social support and their has suffered.

Check on your friends, especially the quiet ones who seem like they would enjoy being home all the time. They may need your attention the most.

Send Memes and “Reactions”

Still, it’s best not to assume that everyone wants to engage in an extended heart-to-heart talk. A meme or so-called “heart react” to a post is enough for some people.

According to a 2019 study published in PLOS One, computer-mediated communication (CMC) such as emojis help maintain social relationships. The study found that emojis can satisfy the human desire for intimate communication and interpersonal closeness. So go ahead and react to your friend’s Instagram Story. The emoji you send could make their day.

Connect with Seniors Via Video Chat

The National Institutes of Health notes that human connection is essential to . If you can’t visit your parents, grandparents, titas, and titos, the next best place to connect with them may be on Facebook. The 2020 report of a London-based consultancy said that Filipinos are the most active Facebook users worldwide. It’s also the most popular social media platform for older adults and senior citizens.

Simply liking their posts (when you truly like them) is one way to connect. But it’s also a good place to set up a video chat since they’re not likely to set up a Zoom, Teams, or G-Meet account.

Volunteer with Communities and Causes

If you’re feeling , volunteer for a cause, whether virtual or in person. Finding something you are passionate about and working with like-minded people towards a common goal is a good foundation for new relationships. Harvard Health notes that volunteering helps people feel more socially connected and can help ward off loneliness and depression. Plus, you’re doing something for the community, which can be fulfilling.

Check on Your Building or Village Front liners

Your building guards, housekeeping, and maintenance personnel are there at the frontlines every day, but they can often go unnoticed when people are just trying to get from point A to point B. One great way to stay connected is by nurturing your sense of community and checking on the people around you — especially if you’re living alone. Greet your gardener; ask your housekeeping staff how they are; send merienda to your lobby guards. These can enrich social relationships, too.

Talk to Your Coworkers About Life

In the past, literal highways separated work from home. These physical boundaries prevent work from feeling like an overwhelming, inescapable experience. Having a healthy relationship with your coworkers can mean the world in this age of WFH, especially since you spend most of your hours with them in the background anyway.

According to Harvard Business Review, it's even better if you could be friends with them. Not only will this enhance your sense of belonging, but it can also make you feel supported, reduce stress, and motivate you to be productive.

Connect with Yourself

Connecting with yourself is one of the most valuable gifts in these anxious times. You can do this by pursuing once-abandoned creative interests, like dancing, painting, or playing the piano. Moments of peace for meditation can also keep you more grounded and reduce stress. Another way is to maintain a self-care routine that you look forward to.

For example, use products that provide function as well as a pleasant sensorial experience. Sunsilk Naturals Watermelon Freshness Shampoo can turn your shower into a spa day with a cooling sensation on the scalp and the refreshing scent of watermelon. 

For your skin, use POND'S Orange Nectar Jelly Cleanser, which has hydrating and invigorating orange nectar for moisturized and glowing skin.

Finally, give yourself a shot of confidence every time you brush with closeup Red Hot Toothpaste, which kills 99% of bacteria and leaves your mouth tingling with freshness. 

Maintaining social relationships can be tricky these days, but you don’t always need grand gestures to do so. Sometimes a simple heart emoji or a smile behind the mask is all it takes.