Like many of us at the moment, I’ve been stuck inside my house all week. My dining table has turned into a makeshift office desk, meetings are via video chat, my lunch time break involves walking out the back door about 5m away and sitting in the Melbourne sun for half an hour, and I’ve even taken drastic measures to get up early to go for a morning walk/run/slow jog around the park before the sun gets up.

One thing I’ve been missing is social interaction. My housemate worked from home for a couple of days but she’s back in her office now, and I had a little kick of the footy the other night with a couple of mates, but I’m missing sitting around with a beer after work, talking crap and debriefing on the day.

I’m a Gemini, I thrive on spending time with other people. I’m going bloody mad at home by myself with nobody to gossip to.

So last night, after my friends and I had all clocked off from our respective jobs, we had an after-work drink. Online. On Google Hangouts.

It’s just like the pub, except nobody’s yelling at me to put pants on.

We cheersed our tins and glasses through our laptop and phone cameras. We celebrated every time someone new entered the chat. We spent time going around and talking about the best thing that had happened that day. We had beers and wines, someone had a burrito, and there was a guest appearance from a duck in a park.

Duck, what he doin???

It felt like I’d been whisked back to MSN group chat or a mid-00s chatroom for a brief moment, and it was a bloody great way to unwind from the day, and from this week that’s been nothing short of chaotic and uncertain.

There was something so wonderful and refreshing about connecting with a bunch of friendly faces that you’d normally see down the pub, so we’ve decided to make it a regular thing. Checking in with each other every couple of days while we’re all working from home and socially distancing. There’s something about it that felt really good for the soul (and mental health.)

Plus it’s also super fun to try and screengrab your friends pulling stupid faces, and the slight lag from everyones’ internet always seems to make jokes about 10 times funnier. I think we’re also planning to somehow wrangle a remote trivia night video chat soon, too.

So if you can, I highly suggest you check in with your friends with a video chat. Get on facetime, schedule a hangout, make time for some kind of mass group chat. It’ll be worth it, and you can all look back on it and laugh when it’s eventually okay to head back to the pub.

Image: Courtney Fry