It’s said to ease stress, relieve pain, fight colds, and even help you sleep. But more importantly, hugs can be a pick-me-up for any person going through a difficult time. So, now that many of our social interactions have moved online, we might have to look at alternatives. One of these alternatives is a virtual hug.
Much like a physical hug, a virtual hug is a way of expressing emotional support. The only difference is that it exists in cyberspace.
That said, a virtual hug isn’t as natural as wrapping your arms around someone, so you’ll have to be creative in sending one out. But, if you do go that extra mile, chances are that a virtual hug will be perceived as far more meaningful than a physical one.
There are various occasions where it’s appropriate to send a virtual hug to someone. Examples are celebrations, a career change, moving or relocating, grief or illness, and quarantining and self-isolation. We’ll go further into these below.
If it’s your cousin’s birthday, you’d likely fly right into their arms to congratulate them. The same goes for your friend’s graduation, your parents renewing their wedding vows or your neighbour’s baby announcement. You get the gist: hugs are associated with celebration. We express pride and happiness – and want to share it with whomever. It’s as human as it gets.
However, there are many reasons why we can’t express these feelings in a physical way. Your cousin might live on the other side of the country, your friend’s graduation ceremony might only allow three guests and your parents might be out enjoying their second honeymoon.
For such reasons, a virtual hug is the perfect way to show your loved ones that you’re thinking of them on their special day.
A Career Change
Nothing is scarier than starting a brand-new job. Therefore, a career change is the perfect moment to send a virtual hug. Regardless of the demands, your friend, neighbour or relative might be having a difficult time adjusting to a new environment. Plenty of reason to show them you’re in their corner by sending a virtual hug their way!
Moving or Relocating
The same goes for someone moving to a different place. Adjusting to a new environment, as well as the stress of the move itself, might call for a morale boost. Can you imagine your loved one receiving a virtual hug after an exhausting day of unpacking boxes? I can already see the smile on their face!
Grief, Illness or Other Trying Times
Virtual hugs are not only meant for expressing pride or happiness; people who are struggling probably need them the most. A virtual hug can thus be the perfect pick-me-up for someone going through a difficult time. For example, it can be a distraction from the hurt that your loved one has endured in a hospital or at a funeral.
On top of that, it’s a good way to express sympathy, while giving the other person the space they require. After all, everyone behaves differently in times of grief, so a virtual hug can be an intimate gesture, without the risk of crossing someone’s boundaries.
The holidays can be hectic, and many people are expected to show up at several places at the same time. Unfortunately, there are only 24 hours in a day – and there’s only one version of yourself. Therefore, you’ll have to make choices. You can use virtual hugs to manage your time efficiently and let those close to you know that you’re thinking about them.
Quarantining or Self-Isolation
Although it might feel as if the pandemic has passed, Covid tests are still turning up positive. Chances are that you’ll find yourself or your friends quarantining in the near future. And as we all know, self-isolation is no walk in the park. It can get very lonely, which means that people can benefit from some attention and affection. Next time someone is locked inside, give them a socially distanced virtual hug!
Now that you know on which occasions you can send a virtual hug, you should know how you can go about it. Since virtual hugs only exist online, you can send them in various formats: text, images, audio and video.
We’ll easily send out a quick text or a short e-mail when we need something. But when was the last time you actually sat down and thought your message through? There might be someone who you deeply admire, but who you’ve never told how you feel about them. This person is in need of a heartfelt message! A personalized message can fill someone with joy and warmth – much like a hug would.
But putting your feelings on paper can be quite difficult. That’s why you can also opt for a voice memo or a different audio recording. Missing someone means missing their voice. So, a replayable message can mean a lot to that special someone.
You could also use this type of virtual hug as a way to share your baby’s first word or laughter! Maternity visits can wear you out, so an audio recording of your little miracle can keep prospective visitors satisfied for the time being.
If words and sounds fall short, you could always go with an image. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.
There are various options for sending a virtual hug through images. You could go the low-effort route and incorporate emojis in your messages. These are small emoticons you can use to spice up a bland message. For example, the 🤗 emoji is excellent for expressing the same feelings you would with a physical hug. Emojis are usually part of a smartphone keyboard, but can be copied off of emojipedia.org for desktop activities.
Next, a GIF, or a ‘Graphic Interchange Format’, is a graphic image that moves. Sites like Tenor and Giphy offer a wide range of hugging gifs. Therefore, sending a virtual hug can happen with just the click of a button! You can pick a hug that perfectly illustrates the emotion you want to convey – or even make a reference to one of your favourite shows. Then, just download the image and send it to your loved one.
Last but not least, an old-school photo collage can also be used as a virtual hug. A trip down memory lane is especially valuable for old friends and relatives. Memories of memorable moments can give the recipient the same warm feeling a hug usually provides.
Finally, nothing comes closer to a physical hug than a video does. It’s basically a combination of text, audio and images. You can go the easy route by giving someone a ring through FaceTime or a different video calling service. If you’re feeling frisky, you can even act out a hug on camera!
But, if you’re tech-savvy, you could create a personalized video for your loved one. Whether important people in the recipient’s life get together, or a compilation of their favourite spots in the city they grew up in, a video will stay with that special someone for a long time.
Unfortunately, not everyone is as sufficient in creating videos, and time is limited for most people. That’s why you should look into a fun and easy video app like Videotape! This helps you to create a personalized and unique video in the blink of an eye.
Sometimes, our loved ones hold such an important place in our heart, that simply won’t do. Sure, those options can be special and valuable, but what if you want to flex your creative muscle? Well, then you’re in luck, because we’ve come up with 4 creative, out-of-the-box ideas for sending a virtual hug! These are guaranteed to bring a smile to someone’s face.
1. A Virtual Scavenger Hunt
Chances are, that both you and your loved one have a large digital footprint. It’s time to put that social media presence to good use. With a scavenger hunt, you can nudge the other person towards reminiscing about your shared history.
By following your questions and riddles, they are sent all across the World Wide Web to find a final message. If they complete the hunt, you could come up with a prize. For instance, you could take them out to dinner when you finally meet each other in person again!
Clearly, there are various ways to design a virtual scavenger hunt, but if you want to convey a sense of nostalgia, these are some questions you could ask:
- ”What colour was mom’s blouse on the second day of our 2012 holiday to Italy? (Tip: check facebook).”
- ”Go to my favourite restaurant’s website. What’s the first word on the ‘About’ page?”
- ”Which one of the Jonas Brothers do I NOT follow on Instagram?”
2. A Collection of Relatable Memes
Nothing says ”I care about you” more than an inside joke. And memes are the perfect way to convey that feeling virtually. If you’ve been on the internet for a while, you probably know what memes are. If not: a meme is a piece of media, often funny, that spreads rapidly through the internet.
Memes exist in all shapes and sizes, so there is plenty to pick from! You can find them in internet archive Know Your Meme. They pretty much have every meme you’ve ever seen on your timeline.
For instance, you can find unironic ‘wholesome’ memes:
Or you could send one about your shared habit of procrastination:
Either way, a meme can convey an emotional message in the same way a hug can.
3. A Personal Mixtape
Make someone a mixtape! It’s a classic, but due to the rise of streaming platforms, mixtapes are back to stay. Pick your favourite music app and create a playlist with all your favourite songs, their favourite songs and other songs that are meaningful to the both of you.
Everyone knows that music can touch the soul, so a personal mixtape can definitely function as a virtual hug!
4. A Virtual Group Hug Video Using Videotape
If you want to surprise someone with a personal message from family, friends or colleagues, you can opt for a virtual group hug by using Videotape! Contrary to other video editing apps such as Splice or iMovie, Videotape is collaborative in nature. This means that each person can record and submit an individual message, with the push of a button. No log-in, no paywall, just a link which can be shared on any messaging platform.
First of all, get the Videotape app for free in the App Store or Google Play and create your account or sign in. Then follow these easy steps: