The New Rules of Hanging Out

Photos by Sophie Kannberg

We are currently living in unprecedented times. The daily routine has shifted. Not only has the price of bikes gone up, but the price of pants has gone down as well (not kidding, look it up). I wonder why. It has suddenly become ritualistic to phone call our mothers, grandmothers and even aunts. It feels as If we randomly entered another dimension that looks and feels like the old world, but with the post-apocalyptic tone and mood of a Phillip K. Dick science fiction novel. We went to waking up and leaving the house to waking up and staring out the window while still trying to figure out what day it is. As we slowly drift from week to week, we can’t help but to feel that mundane excitement we usually get when the weekend approaches.

Buying masks, hand sanitizers and bikes, apparently, have become a “thing.” There is also another big issue that must be discussed as we venture into the portal of the do’s and don’ts: the party gaps.

The thrill, excitement and stoicism of dressing up for a Friday night to spend unnecessary amounts of money, talk to friends-of-friends and eventually forget everything new you might’ve learned the next day… Who would’ve thought we’d miss the nostalgic behavior associated with such an event? Yes, there is a big gap from events like parties, festivals and just large groups of people gathering together. So, what should we do to fill these new blank spaces? God forbid we spend time alone with our own thoughts.

There’s nothing unexpected that will happen. 

In essence, we can still “hang” with friends. Even if it’s just buying a hamburger or a taco from a “take-out only” restaurant and eating it inside the car while reminiscing about the good old consumerist days, or going on a hike or biking. Make some sandwiches and go eat them outside. Make it a picnic date. The spontaneous behavior of hanging out before the pandemic is nonexistent, though. 

For example, imagine it’s a sunny day in February of 2020. The sun wakes you up and it’s 9 a.m. in the morning. The birds are chirping, you hear the sound of a dog barking and you feel this strange desire to go outside. You would want to meet up with a friend and “do something,” right? Right. So an activity (like eating) leads to another activity (like going thrift shopping or skating) and as soon as you realize the day is almost over and now you feel exhausted and ready to go to sleep. Everything sort of happened… In an unconscious flow that was for the most part, satisfying. 

Photos by Sophie Kannberg

This is not possible anymore. 

The overall question that always manages to surface in every hangout: “What do you guys wanna do now?” 

There’s no FOMO.

If there is something to take out of all this bizarre adventure is that the fear of missing out has vanished. Because there is nothing “happening,” unless it’s snap stories of your friends taking videos of their cats and randomly zooming in on things like plants. So, congratulations, you’re all caught up.

What about the indoor population? 

It seems that this is the perfect time. No need to keep on creating absurd and preposterous stories to dodge a party invitation. This is it — the dream has come true. Still miss the human interactions and feeling of belonging? No worries. Zoom meetings, Netflix parties and even Omegle have a solution to these so-called problems. Just don’t download Tinder… you don’t want to end up in a nihilistic hole of contemplation and roof-staring. 

Photos by Sophie Kannberg

Parties? Close friend stories. 

This is the ultimate form of mainstream deep web scheme. Parties “may” eventually happen. And if they did, you may have come across them by friend’s Instagram stories or Snapchat private stories. If you’re in that inner circle, you better not snitch, or do. It’s not like we’re in the middle of a world pandemic which actively affects the economy and overall well-being of the elderly and generations to come. Please, don’t be a snitch, and enjoy the uncertainty of hanging out with your plants and cats.

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Hi, I’m Maria McGinnis, a senior journalism student from Stow, Ohio. I’m also the editor in chief of A Magazine. My staff and I are committed to bringing you the most important and entertaining news from the realms of fashion, beauty, and culture. We are full-time students and hard-working journalists. While we get support from the student media fee and earned revenue such as advertising, both of those continue to decline. Your generous gift of any amount will help enhance our student experience as we grow into working professionals. Please go here to donate to A Magazine.

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