7 Lessons Netflix’s ‘The Circle’ Can Teach Us About Social Distancing

Lesson 1: Selfies are a valid form of personal expression.

If you haven’t watched “The Circle” yet, you’re really missing out. The creators of the reality show, which is currently available to stream on Netflix, hired a Midwestern videographer to shoot its cut scenes. So you’ll see plenty of shots of Milwaukee landmarks – like the Coakley Brothers water tower in Walker’s Point – in each episode.

“The Circle” is also a genuinely entertaining show. And, because it’s about a group of people who have agreed to self-isolate and socialize solely through social media, it has plenty of life lessons to teach us right now too. Like …

1. A group chat can be every bit as much fun as an in-person party.

Pour yourself some bubbly. Turn your lights down low and your music up. Then convince your friends to do the same, before setting up a group video call. You’ve got a germ-free party going, baby!

2. Crafting staves off cabin fever.

Tired of watching TV? Struggling to get through that stack of books on your bedside table? A craft project could be just what you need. If the contestants on “The Circle” are any indication, you don’t actually have to be good at painting, or whatever activity you want to try, to have a good time doing it. Plus, you can post photos of your creation on social media and collect a slew of sweet, sweet likes. 

3. Put on real clothes every day.

Even if no one else is around to notice how great your abs look in that crop top, or how impressively baggy your gaucho pants might be. You’ll notice! And that’s enough.

4. Spend as much time in your bathroom as you want.

You likely don’t have to worry about a long commute to work anymore. So treat yourself to a nice, long soak in your tub whenever you want, regardless of the time of day. And try repeatedly shouting the phrase “Yeah buddy!” into your bathroom mirror whenever you need a little pick me up. 

5. Maintaining an exercise routine is important.

And not just for your physical health. Setting and sticking to a workout schedule will give you a sense of order and structure. Which means you’ll be less likely to wake up from your next nap wondering what day it is, or why you’re covered in Cheeto dust. 

6. You can trick yourself into thinking you’re on a dinner date.

Decide ahead of time what you and your special someone are going to eat. You’ll have to make it on your own. But once you carry it over to your dining table, place your laptop on the other end of the table, and start up a video call, you’ll feel more or less like you’re actually sharing a meal. As an added bonus, you’ll get the leftovers all to yourself.

7. When you feel down, remember that your friends and family members are there for you.

Seriously, even if they’re not in the same room, or city, or state, as you, they still care. And they’re likely feeling just as anxious about the news these days as you are. So don’t hesitate to pick up your phone and give them a call. Or challenge them to a push-up contest.



Lindsey Anderson covers culture for Milwaukee Magazine. Before joining the MilMag team she worked as an editor at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and wrote freelance articles for ArtSlant and Eater.