I never expected that one of the hardest parts of this pandemic would be not seeing my friends as much as I normally do. I normally keep to myself. So, it was definitely something that I have taken for granted.

In recent weeks, I’ve been working out ways to keep in touch and do things with friends even on a remote basis.

With how much the internet can do these days, it makes it easy to do a lot of things remotely that I would normally do in person. As I’ve written previously, I’ve formed friends with a group that watches a movie together each week.

It isn’t the same as watching in person, but I’ve had fun with our small viewing parties. We’ve been able to chat and riff particularly bad movies much like we would do if we were together. It has also had the side benefit of exposing me to new movies that I otherwise would not have seen.

More recently, I’ve found some programs that allow us to play board games online and that has helped fill a particular itch I’ve had recently.

In a more traditional route, I’ve found myself making more phone calls to family and loved ones than I would have previously — particularly to my father.

This isn’t me saying that this is ideal or something that I hope to keep going long term. However, during difficult times, it gives me a new avenue for keeping up with friends and in some cases making new ones.

And to that goal, this was proven to be a godsend.

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