I'm not actually sure I'm the best person to write this post — but I am qualified in the sense that I work from home and I still have friends. So here we are!
The thing is, though, it's not as easy to keep friendships healthy when you don't leave your house regularly. You quickly forget how convenient working in an office makes meeting up for lunch or afterward when you're deciding to quit that job and start working from home instead.
Still, healthy friendships are important, experts say, for keeping you alive longer and other things that might not seem that critical now when you aren't on the brink of your own demise — but should. (What? Too dark?)
So what to do? Fortunately, there are solutions.
Strength in numbers
Do you know who else probably feels like a shut-in? Your other remote-working friends!
I don't mean your coworkers (although some of them might count); I'm talking about people you already know and like who are also doing the work-from-home dance. There are probably more of them than you suspect.
Make it a habit to say hello in a Hangout every now and again (or daily) and have a conversation with someone else who's in your shoes.
If you actually don't know too many people who work from home, find a Facebook group surrounding your profession (there might even be a work-from-home profession-specific group already existing), join up and start communicating there. You're already on social media (don't lie), and there are actually some job opportunities and work-related tips in some of those groups — but more importantly, you can make some new friends there, too.
Pro level: Start your own Slack channel with your buddy and invite whatever likeminded folks might be inclined to join — or, if you're not feeling the founder's itch, you can join an existing Slack group of freelancers (there are a couple!).
You don't necessarily have to work from home when you work from home, is the thing. There are all kinds of devices and innovations (for example, free library wifi) that could untether you from your abode.
Yes, I realize part of what you love is not having to leave your house — but if you made it a habit to work on a regular basis from the library or nearby university campus or coffee shop or whatever convenient location exists for you, then what might that mean for your social life? You'd be, well, a regular.
Regulars do things like invite people to join them where they are regulars, or learn names and a few details about the staff and other regulars at the place where they are regulars.
Rekindle old flames
Probably not literally, although I don't know what your personal life is like these days. No judgement here!
There are probably people from your past who live conveniently close to you know but whom you don't see because reasons. Ask them to lunch and see what they're up to. Maybe they have a social life you can piggyback on every now and then.
Host an office party
One thing I know about living in the mountains is that reliable internet isn't always that easy to come by.
Well, guess what? I have it at my house.
This means I can share it. Which means I can be generous and ask other people if they want to use it/my couch/my coffee machine/my music during the day and work with me (meaning in the same vicinity, not on the same things).
Pick up the phone
I can't talk to all my friends for hours on the phone, but there are certainly a handful who are an absolute treat on a call. It feels like I've seen them and spent two hours catching up over coffee if we can grab some time to chat.
We should be better at this, what with us all living disconnected social media-driven lives — so actually start calling all those people on your preferred list (do cell phone companies still have those?) and use up all of the unlimited minutes with them.
Maybe instead of bonding over the phone, you'd rather play Rocket League with your buddies after work and talk over the television.
Well, fine. We live in a world where you can do that.
You might have more than one friend, entire legions of friends, who want to join in. (Maybe start a Facebook group for them, too? Just a thought.)
Working for the weekend
If you can spend two days a week with people you love (and you don't live with, because we all need a break sometimes), then in my book you are doing pretty well. Save at least one day a week for "friend time," plan it out and make it stick.
I am sure there are more and better ideas out there (I've heard people host things like game nights, which isn't a thing I've done or been to, but it sounds like fun! Perhaps I should try it.). If I crack any new codes in the future, I'll be sure to send an update!