Speaking for myself, one of the hardest parts of the last few weeks of staying indoors has been the lack of social interaction. As a natural introvert, this was probably the last thing I expected to be writing today.

I underestimated how much the subtle interactions with my coworkers truly mean to me, and that really didn’t settle in for me until I started working fully from home over the past several weeks. I took it for granted, and I will fully admit that.

However, being away from my friends physically doesn’t mean I have to be away socially or emotionally and I’ve found ways to stay in touch despite quarantines and social distancing.

In recent weeks, myself and several friends have formed a group chat on social media to check up on each other and make sure everyone is doing okay through the current crisis. In a way, I think it is therapeutic for all of us.

We’ve expanded this a bit in the last few weeks to have events nights where we will do a group activity complete with voice chats or other conversations. We’ve held game nights where we will get together and just have fun in various online games.

Other nights, we have gotten together and watched movies together on our individual NetFlix accounts and watched from each of our homes. Despite the distance physically, it played out like any other group movie night, complete with talking over the movie, quips and other jokes.

Just like I said I underestimated how much I would miss the social interaction, I think I equally have underestimated how much these simple little interactions can help in taking the edge off what has otherwise been a difficult time for many people.

Michael Hutchins is the local government reporter for the Herald Democrat. He can be reached at mhutchins@heralddemocrat.com.