How to Make Friends and Influence People During Quarantine
By Kitty Doherty . April 2, 2020
Top tips to flirt, make friends, show-off, and occupy yourself when you’re bored AF at home.
You haven’t washed your hair since before Boris Johnson tested positive, your tooth-brushing is shockingly far from the recommended twice per day (a very low bar) and you waved goodbye to camaraderie with your roommates long ago. (Did you? Or did I? Oh, yes. Whatever. It’s only a matter of time, anyway.)
Alongside anxiety and an ever-present appetite for crunchy corn, I’m finding myself a little jealous of others’ quarantine-experiences. You’ve seen it, too. Neighbourly affection plastered across your newsfeed. Balcony sing-alongs. Joy, laughs, love, all safely six feet apart and, occasionally, many floors up. Seeing this, I can’t help but think: why isn’t that me? Why aren’t my neighbours and I distance-high-fiving and sharing folk songs until the sun rises? How do I get them to grant me access to their delightful balcony on a part-time basis?
To these ends, I came up with seven ways to befriend neighbours during a coronavirus lockdown. You’re going to need them. Viel Glück.
1. Suss out a target.
(Did I say target? I mean… new friend.)
Think of this first step the way a hunter might. Pick a decent spot in your flat–by a window or on your balcony–and peer out. Ask yourself: Which window looks lonely? Who’s got the best balcony? Families are a no-go (creepy) but that lively WG could be the one. Initiate moderate contact. A wink? Too small. Throwing tinned goods through their window? Too big. You’ll know when you’ve gone too far when the cops show up. But don’t be afraid to take risks.
2. Use your extra toilet roll to show off what a responsible neighbour you are.
I know you bought extra toilet roll – it’s okay. Put it to good use by displaying it for all your neighbours to see. Decorate your window with toilet roll ribbons. Replace all curtains with toilet roll tapestries. There’s no need to actually share the toilet roll with your neighbours – they’ll be pleased to know it’s there if they need it. Your reputation as the reliable, forward-thinking neighbour will be cast in stone.
3. Consider your wifi password “friendship currency.”
Share your password with those who need it most. Your Netflix login too. And Amazon Prime. And Spotify Premium. Then stop using them so I can.
4. Lift morale with music.
Whip that guitar out that you haven’t played since you were discovering indie at 15 and start playing “Wonderwall” on your balcony. Encourage others to join in. If they resist, encourage more. If a musically-inclined neighbour tries to join in and they are better than you, play louder. If DJing’s your thing – oh wait, no one does that here. Wrong city.
5. Use the night to take that friendship to the next level.
Let’s face it. These long weeks in quarantine are leaving most of us singles a little high and dry. If you’re lucky enough to have a hot neighbour, why not play this era to your advantage? Get flattering light going. Then, maybe a little strip-tease here, a little walking around naked there. Oh, the hot neighbour saw you? Whoops.
6. Give the gift of unwanted cinema.
Got a projector? Find a cult classic–say, Night of the Living Dead or anything else about the downfall of humanity, project it onto a practical wall and wait for your neighbors to come creeping to their windows for enjoyment. It’s like you’re watching it together, but apart! Make sure to stream handwashing tutorials at every appropriate interval to maintain your “responsible neighbour street cred.” They will be annoying, but informative. Did we mention they will be annoying?
7. Actually try to be a good neighbour.
Some practical advice: There’s a chance someone in your block of flats is high-risk and having a pretty shitty time. Do the neighbourly thing and leave signs with your contact details and an offer of assistance in corridors and on doors. It goes without saying, but WASH YOUR HANDS. And if you’ve got a “cold”, stick to the Night Nurse and try not to breathe on anything.
And, as always, stay tuned for more stupid advice you didn’t ask for — from all of us here at Berlin Loves You.
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