7 Free Online Games That Have Amused My Friends And I For Hours

One really really good thing that has happened to me in this pandemic is that I’ve reconnected with some people I knew in university, and now I’m on Google Hangouts with some of them almost every night. We’re just looking to have a good time, and over the past several months, we’ve found some fun and creative games to amuse us, and all for the low, low price of free. If you and your socially distanced friends are looking for new games to play, here’s what I and several others can wholeheartedly recommend.

you'll thank me later gif.

  1. Crossword Puzzles
    The site this is on is called Backyard, which technically has several games, and we’ve played many of them, but our most-played one is actually just crossword puzzles. It’s fun to use our combined knowledge to complete a puzzle together (especially because I’m bad at crosswords on my own). I think we’ve done all the Easy ones and a good chunk of the Hard ones.
  2. Codenames
    There is a good version of this game on Backyard too (though it’s called Codewords there), but Codenames is the legit one, and it’s free and easy. Essentially a clue-giver has their team identify team words by giving a word associated. It’s ideal for 6+ people so the teams can have many brains, but I’ve played with 4 or 5 total. It’s fun to really sync my brain up with others to understand the clues. We’ve even added a layer of challenge by just giving the clue word and not the associated number, which is a spicy way to play.
  3. Among Us
    You’ve probably heard of this mobile game as it got very popular last fall. Little aliens complete tasks on a ship while avoiding one person who is a secret killer. It’s very fun, and playing over a video call allows us to a) not use the game’s crappy chat feature and b) use body language and voice inflections to identify the imposter. We played the game in the standard way a lot, but there was also a stint where we’d play the Hide And Seek version more because it worked well with smaller numbers and familiar maps.
  4. Jigsaw Puzzles
    This is a new addition to our gaming roster, but it’s amusing us a lot, even though it’s not really a game as it is a hobby. There are plenty of puzzle images to choose from, and you can even pick the number of pieces to ramp up the difficulty if you want more of a challenge (we did one that took us over 7 hours once). Plus, the sound the pieces make when they click together is very satisfying.
    puzzle pieces coming together
  5. Uno
    Uno is great because it’s not a huge time commitment. You can easily play a few rounds in 20 minutes. This version can only handle 4 people and it limits your autonomy a bit in terms of what cards you can and can’t play, but it’s very visually nice and keeps score for you and all that fun stuff. I doubt there’s a better one out there.
  6. Scattergories
    This is just like the physical tabletop version, but online! A letter and categories are given and players come up with a word for each, and then there’s a nice voting system where everyone can decide if all the answers are good or not. This site also keeps score for you nicely. Again, video calls aid in this game as you can argue your side faster than typing it out.
  7. Skribbl.io aka Pictionary
    No matter how good you are at art, this game is very fun. It’s basically Pictionary but instead of being on teams, it’s every man for themselves. My friends and I have added a twist to it by doing rounds where we have to draw the hardest option no matter what.
    Pictionary GIFs - Get the best gif on GIFER

Bonus: Guess The Knees
Soooo there’s not a website for this because it’s kind of an original game, but it’s still quality. We just opened a Google Slideshow and started finding and cropping pictures of celebrity knees, and then we all just took turns guessing who it is by asking questions. “Have they won an Emmy?” “Are they in the MCU?” There are some surprising knees out there! If you’re reading this right now and thinking that this sounds so stupid, you’d be right, but I need you to know that my friends and I, all in our mid-twenties, played this on two separate nights and we had a good time. I think it speaks to the creativity people can have when they’re bored and silly.

If you play any other free online games, let me know as we’re always looking for more fun games to play when we hang out, so leave a comment if you know of any!

I may not be able to hug my friends, but I sure can beat them at games, which is perhaps just as good in this era.

Peace out, gamers!

 

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What I Don’t Blog About

I blog about a lot of stuff. I purposely made my blog fairly niche-less so I could write about anything, from serious thought-provoking topics to dumb rants. I’m so glad that I have an audience who accepts this from me because I love to do it and I love the freedom I have to do it.

But just because I am open and have written about a lot, it doesn’t mean everything is on the table. I don’t lie and I don’t censor myself that much, but I am very aware of how and what I present.

I Know What I'm Doing gif.

It comes down to readers. I know my mother, for example, is a reader of my blog, so I’ll avoid talking about things that will incite a conversation. Both my parents are kind of conservative and the kind of parents who will turn a joke into a lecture, so it’s just easier to avoid some things altogether.

I also have links/references to my blog on LinkedIn and my resume, and it often came up in job interviews, so I know that potential bosses and coworkers read it, so I do try to be, for the most part, professional and mature. Some stuff isn’t even bad per se, but I don’t want or need people I work with professionally knowing things about me or having the power to know things that don’t relate to work or align with the relationship. Example: I do occasionally drink alcohol and though I am very responsible with it and am always the soberest person at a party, I don’t need a boss knowing about parties I go to, even if it’s normal and reasonable for someone my age to do this.

And speaking of relationships: friends read my blog. I share posts on Facebook once in a while and I know some friends read my blog regularly. Therefore, I’m always sure to protect identities and careful that I’m not sharing anything that could cause conflict or awkwardness. One time I was talking to a friend about a guy I had a crush on. This friend suggested I blog about it as it was relatable and something I didn’t often talk about. I shut down that suggestion real quick because the specifics of the crush were too specific, and I couldn’t risk that as my blog was known to this guy.

FRIENDS cute guy.
Forever mood.

Then there’s also stuff I don’t share that protects my identity. While I do have friends and family read my blog, most of my readers are strangers all around the world, and that is really cool but also scares me. I don’t use my full name and I don’t post pictures of myself. While I know that I probably can safely as many do, and I know that not doing so does make some of you be a little skeptical of me, it’s still something I choose to do for my own comfort. So I am purposely vague on some details or just choose not to share certain things.

And as much as I am honest and don’t shy away from getting deep when I need to, I also sometimes worry if I come across as too whiny or too victimized when talking about things like friendships or life issues. I know I’m not the most positive person and sometimes my attempts at being real could be off-putting. I want to be relatable, but not annoying and not repetitive. So often some of the more serious posts get more edits than other posts just so my feelings aren’t as prevalent or boohoo-y.

This is getting too real gif.

Lastly, I stay mostly in my lane when it comes to politics or stuff like that, not that this blog is ever that political. I’m a white cis neurotypical middle-class female who has lived a pretty sheltered life and luckily hasn’t had many life struggles, so who am I to speak on anything outside of that realm when others more important have said it first and better. When I need to link resources from people who deserve to be heard more, I absolutely do. But for the most part, I stay away from ‘controversial’ topics. It’s just not what this blog is about.

Otherwise, that’s basically it. There’s still a lot of room for my nonsense and rants and reviews and thoughts. And who knows, maybe down the line, things will change. As I develop as a human and as my life goes on, some things I’m not comfortable diving into now may change. Who’s to say. Guess you’ll have to stick around and see.

 

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Temporary Friends

I knew this girl in high school who I considered a close friend at the time. We had shared interests, and we were always joking around when we had a class together. A mutual friend, though, described this girl as someone who would be your best friend but only when it was convenient for her. So as soon as that class ended and extra effort had to be made to interact, she’d drop you and move on to whoever was next. This wasn’t an inaccurate description of the friendship, and for a while I was mad that I let myself be played like that.

Best Wow Ok Lee Howon GIFs | Gfycat

But, to some extent, don’t we all do this? Like, sure, could she have put in more effort to maintain friendships outside of class? Could she have maybe been less chummy while we were together, especially if she thought of me as disposable? Maybe. But looking back, I think she was just making the most of the situations she was in, and it’s perhaps partly on me to not get so attached.

In a perfect world, we carry the friends we make throughout our whole lives. We grow together and give each other what we need and never let each other down. But this is not a perfect world. We change, we lose friends, we make friends, we adjust, we figure ourselves out. It’s how life is. I’ve realized that I’m perhaps more needy in terms of my friendships. I would love for the people I care about to want to be with me as much as I want to be with them. I would love for them to make me a priority and really go out of their way to show that. Unfortunately, this is not realistic and not my reality with most people, and I accept this, though it does mean I’ve had to think hard about my friendships.

Kate Mckinnon Snl GIF by Saturday Night Live - Find & Share on GIPHY

Between school friends, childhood friends, internet friends, coworkers, and whoever else, it’s impossible for every nice friendship you ever have to last decades and be consistently strong. It’s not a personal attack when things fade or end. Because in a lot of cases, we’re all just making the most of our lives in that moment. If a sucky summer job can be made better by a goofy coworker, then hell yeah! If a school project can be made better by a competent partner you bond with, then way to go! We should appreciate what these people bring at that time without worrying about what it’ll be like in five years. We should learn from them, take the good aspects, and carry it with us into the future. It doesn’t mean that either party is a bad friend. And we should be able to look back with fondness at that time and remember those people not as ex-friends who abandoned us or played us, but as people we connected with once and now wish well.

There are people in my life now who I doubt I’ll still have contact with in 10 years. Because of a temporary situation or just changing styles, I know it’s likely that eventually we won’t have time or a desire to interact as much or at all, and there probably won’t be a dramatic and conclusive ending to the friendship. Of course this makes me sad, but rather than being pre-upset over this, I’m trying to make the most of this time and enjoy these bonds I’ve made for now. Who cares if we’re all just each other’s temporary friends? Life is full of them, and I want to be remembered as a good one.

Accept It GIFs | Tenor

I think temporary friends is a concept that should be more normalized. I’m not saying you shouldn’t put in an effort to maintain friendships with the people you care about (because you definitely should, and I know I can work on this too), but the idea that people can be in your life for a short time without hurt feelings should be okay. I’m prone to feeling like I’m the problem common denominator in many failed or weak friendships, but maybe those people were never meant to be in my life long term. They were always just meant to get me through that time in a nice way, and that’s okay.

As Glinda and Elphaba said, “because I knew you, I have been changed for good.”

 

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Things I’m Grateful For In 2020

2020 was one hell of a year, but you already knew that. I think most of us felt loss this year, be it people or experiences or time or money, and I know it’s hard to find the good in any of that. That being said, I think because of this, it’s especially important to take time for gratitude, and I wanted to really highlight some things that I’m particularly grateful for this year.

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  • I can’t believe I’m saying it, but I’m grateful to still live at home with my parents (and brother). Not having to stress about rent while also getting human interaction has been honestly great. Of course I still want to have that independence and feel like I can start my adult life on my own eventually, but 2020 was apparently a good year for me to not have that.
  • I’m grateful for my friends. From the ones who have me crying with laughter at midnight to the ones ready to support me when I’ve had a bad day to the ones just checking in once in a while, I’m grateful that there are good people in my life. 2020 reminded us all that even in the darkest times, you still need friends, and I’m glad I’ve been able to maintain and build those relationships even if we can’t be physically together.
    Internet keep in touch gif.
  • I’m grateful that we have unlimited internet in this house. I remember a few years ago when we’d have to be rationing data at the end of every month to get by. I don’t know how we would have survived this year without it, given that I am online for most of the day.
  • I’m grateful I graduated university when I did. I feel so bad for kids just starting school this year or kids like my brother who just graduated and have little prospects because of this pandemic. I’m not in a supremely better place in terms of life, but it could be worse. My life plans weren’t all that interrupted. 
  • I’m grateful for online games. I love games, and throughout the year I’ve been able to play many fun online games with many different people from the comfort and safety of our homes. The internet has once again proven to be a superb tool for connection, communication, and entertainment. If you have a favourite free online game, please recommend it in the comments!
  • I’m grateful the people around me aren’t complete idiots. I see America’s COVID-19 stats and I hear stories from people with morons for bosses, and I’m just so glad that I’m not anywhere near that. Like sure, do I have to constantly remind my grandmother to not cough into her hand, yeah, but otherwise, the people around me are accepting of science and facts and able to adjust to the safety restrictions for the most part.
    I have very little patience for stupidity gif.
  • Speaking of my grandmother, I’m glad she lives so close to us that she could still see us and come over for dinner almost every night throughout the pandemic. Even though she’s been a handful and is not loving the world’s situation (she told us living through the war as a child in Italy was better), I know my whole family is grateful we can be there for her and she’s not alone.

Take a moment or two to reflect on what you’re grateful for. It’ll be important to cherish these things as we go into 2021 and beyond. 

And as always, I’m grateful for my blog and my readers. That’s one thing I’ve never forgotten to be thankful for. I adore this outlet I have, and I’m always so glad to hear that I’ve amused you for a short time every week. 

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That’s all for now!

 

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Defining Friendships Today

Here I go again, blogging about friendships. I promise I’m not here this time to have a moan, and I will try to keep things somewhat positive. I just want to have a discussion. As I think a lot of young adults do, I contemplate the state of my friendships. I have some friends I see fairly often in person because we live near each other. I have some friends I don’t live near but we still communicate fairly regularly. I have some friends I don’t really talk to that often, but I’d be game to hang out any time, though I’m aware of the fact that for some, we never will and eventually the friendship will end. I have some friends I only know through the internet. And then I have some acquaintances.

For me personally, I separate friends from acquaintances/strangers/people I know of based on a mutual voluntary willingness to interact on one’s own time. When I was in university and on the Quidditch team, I one day said something during a conversation at practice like, “oh, I don’t have many friends” and then someone pointed out, “well there’s like fifteen of us here; what are we?” I replied that they were mostly acquaintances. No one was on the team because they personally liked me. They were there because they wanted to play Quidditch and would be doing so regardless of if I was there or not. Showing up to the same practices I do does not count as friendship to me if I never interacted with them outside of those few hours of structure and we never were particularily close while there anyway. I got razzed for this belief for the rest of the year, but I do stand by it (though I probably shouldn’t have said it).

i said what i said gif.

In the blogosphere, I often see tweets asking “Are we Instagram friends yet?” accompanied by a link to the person’s Insta account, and that lowkey bothers me. I’m not hating on anyone who does this, but I personally don’t think that following someone on Instagram counts as friendship, and even throwing out the option of that is ridiculous because it’s so unlikely. There are more genuine ways to garner followers, I think, than pretending you’re building meaningful relationships. Because to me, that’s what a friend is: a meaningful relationship.

Everybody wants friends and everybody likes friends, but friendship and how we approach it has changed a lot in the past few years. Because of social media, it’s easier to keep up with people far away, but is liking a post enough to maintain friendships? Sometimes I’ll see a tweet like “I don’t care if we haven’t talked in a year, you can call me and we’ll be the exact same as we were, I love friendships like that!” Is this sentiment true for you, because I don’t know how I’d react if some person I haven’t talked to in a year for no reason showed up and tried to pretend nothing changed.

It’s interesting that the media puts so much emphasis on having one close friend group. From Friends to The Bold Type to even Supergirl, Blindspot, and The Big Bang Theory, these ‘squads’ of close, family-like friends are seen as the ultimate goal of life. Find your tribe, and all that, which is great, but I think most people don’t have that. Most people have friends from various points of their in life. But shows like Friends rarely show other friends who are just as loved but not living in the same city or part of the squad or whatever.

FRIENDS.

Though interestingly enough, the people these shows are targetting seem to have neither. There are a bunch of articles stating that though Millenials/Gen-Z are the most connected, we’re also the loneliest. Is this because the friend focus is being put on the wrong people? Or because we’re content with a just few Likes? Or because we’re too poor to actually go hang out with friends? Or because we don’t know how to talk to people?

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t thrive in a lot of social settings. I sometimes have trouble talking to new people and I do fear that I’ll never make more close friends because everyone knows that making friends as an adult is hard. That’s why I’m even more grateful for the friends I do have now. I’m so glad we voluntarily interact and lift each other up and laugh together.

As much as we’d all like a squad of our own, it’s more important to cherish the friends you have and ensure that those relationships are as strong and healthy as you want them to be, even if they’re not Instagram-perfect. Don’t be fooled into thinking follower count = friend count, unless you choose to define it that way and are content with that.

squad goals gif.
The Squirtle Squad is the only valid squad

How do you define friendship and what do you think about the media’s portrayal of friendships?

 

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