In these unprecedented times of social isolation, the need for human contact is incredibly intense. One of the best ways to lift your spirits is to fire up your laptop or smartphone and throw a virtual happy hour.
Whether you use Skype, Facebook Live, Zoom, Google Hangout, or one of the seemingly endless options for connection, you can break out of your own four walls to have a few laughs with friends and family.
A few tested tips to a successful happy hour include:
Pick a Time Convenient Day and Time for Everyone. Even though we are all on an abnormal schedule these days, make sure you pick a day and time that is convenient for everyone. It doesn’t have to be 5 to 6 p.m.—it can be later, after the kids are in bed. Or even a brunch or coffee klatch.
Rightsize your gathering. Too many folks on one “call” can lead to people overlapping each other, which means the virtual happy hour becomes a struggle for everyone to speak and be heard. Four to six people is a good, manageable number—perhaps as many people as you can typically fit around your dining room table for an in-person dinner.
Location. Location. Location. If you can, conduct your happy hour from a room that has good WIFI access to keep the party streaming. If you have a cool space like a home bar, that can amp up the fun factor. If not, there’s always, weather and WIFI permitting, your patio, deck or driveway.
Pick A Theme. Into Tiki? Why not go Hawaiian with everyone wearing Aloha shirts? Into Star Trek? Wear your best away team gear. Gonzo for the Chiefs? Put on your favorite jersey! It’s a fun way to liven up the conversation and provide a touchstone to normalcy.
Select a Libation. Perhaps send out a cocktail (or mocktail) recipe that everyone can mix ahead of time. Then compare notes on how yours tastes. Is the cupboard bare for certain ingredients? No problem. Your “Quarantini” can be made with what you have on hand. Here’s a handy list of cocktail ingredient substitutions. Also, many cocktails can be livened up with the magical elixir of Simple Syrup. Here’s a great recipe that shows ways you can make this easily and affordably with just sugar, hot water, and a few moments of your now abundant free time.
Support Local. Go Curbside. If you want to stock up on good booze and food with minimal exposure to others, there are plenty of KC-area restaurants and liquor stores providing delivery or curbside pickup. Get fun and fancy with foods and snacks—pick a theme and make it happen. You’ll also help support our local economy. Win-win!
Set the Mood. Play some appropriate tunes in the background to create a little lounge ambience.
Keep the Conversation Cool. We’re all stressed by the news and social media, and the virtual happy hour is ideally a place to keep the conversation light and breezy. Share news of the kids’ online education transition, your theory of how Better Call Saul is going to end, or how crazy Tiger King is. But make it a point that the only Corona you’re discussing is the one in a bottle with a lime.
Talk All You Want. Though all real-world happy hours come to an end, if the conversation is rolling and everyone is up to continue, who says your virtual happy hour has to end after an hour? Talk until you’re tired!
There are many other ways you can get creative and blow off a little steam with friends online. Your virtual happy hour is an event you can look forward to every week. Just have fun with it and let the good times scroll!
Looking for more ways to keep busy and inspired from home? Check out:
- Kansas City on the Cheap Virtual Events Calendar
- Live Stream Events for Kids
- Animal Cams You Love to Watch (really)