“How many slams in an old screen door? Depends how loud you shut it. How many slices in a bread? Depends how thin you cut it. How much good inside a day? Depends how good you live ’em. How much love inside a friend? Depends how much you give ’em.” – Shel Silverstein
Have you found yourself seeking the comfort of your friends while facing this unknown territory? We know we have been. We are frustrated that we can’t visit our friends face-to-face for a quick cup of coffee or meet up for a cocktail. And although we know that there is nothing like seeing your friends face to face, we've been filling the void with virtual happy hours.
What is a virtual happy hour? It’s exactly what it sounds like. Choose a video chat service, set a meeting time, and send out invites to friends or loved ones. Then, gather together with a libation or a snack and catch up.
For those who want to give a Virtual Happy Hour a try (we highly recommend it!), we have compiled a few simple tips for hosting your own.
Tip One: Plan ahead.
The anticipation will give you something to look forward to and will ensure the operation goes smoothly. And let’s face it - prepping for an “event” just feels so darn NORMAL, and we could all use a little of that these days!
When planning your virtual happy hour, keep it on the small side. We’ve tried it a few ways and have found that 8 people or less is just right. It keeps things lively without people feeling like they're lost in a sea of faces.
Share the code or links in advance so everyone knows how to access the meetup. If it's your first time on the platform, we suggest signing in 5-10 minutes early to get familiar with the platform and work out any technical glitches.
Tip Two: Set the ambiance.
A bit of scene-setting goes a long way.
Set yourself up in a quiet place with good lighting. If you only have one light source, try to make sure it isn't behind you or directly overhead. You'll look your best if your light source is in front of you, behind your camera.
Play soft music if you like, but make sure only one person is playing the music.
Make sure you're comfy enough to allow yourself to escape for a little while. If you're using a phone or tablet, find something to prop your device against so you don't have to hold it the entire time. Holding it gets old really fast!
Tip Three: Get Dolled up.
Don’t huff, it will be worth it. You'll be amazed at how good it feels to take a shower, fix yourself up, and put on anything OTHER than loungewear. Dressing up will help get you out of your head and make it feel like an outing with your friends.
If dressing up from head to toe seems like too much, you can always just dress up your top and stay seated (we won’t tell if your bottom half is still in sweats).
Add a theme if you like, and match it to your cocktail--which brings us to our next tip...
Tip Four: Craft a Special Cocktail.
This is a happy hour after all. Consider choosing a fun cocktail everyone can enjoy together.
Making the drink, sipping it, and commenting on the flavors will help create a collective experience, which is exactly what we're going for here. We recommend trying...
Grown-Up Cherry Cola
Tip Five: Use a Grid Platform
Seeing your friend’s faces is incredibly important, so it's important to choose the right platform. We've found that some video chat services do a better job of allowing you to see everyone at the same time than others.
We recommend using Zoom or House Party and selecting the grid view. This will show everyone on the call at the same size, so you can all hang together.
AND FINALLY... Do your best to keep the conversation light.
Sure COVID-19 will inevitably come up, but try to enjoy chatting with your friends and keep it as positive as you possibly can! This time should be a reprieve from the daily stresses of pandemic life. It’s called HAPPY hour for a reason. Try to let go, settle back, and enjoy catching up. Trust us. It feels good.