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Ask Amy: Pandemic amplifies long-distance loneliness

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: Not long before the pandemic started, I moved across the country. I've tried staying in touch with people where I used to live, and I spent about six months in my new home getting out and about and meeting people.

I created a few acquaintances, but that's it so far.

I've tried suggesting video or phone chats, but people I know (in both places) aren't able to/interested in more than texting to keep in touch.

The past three months have been isolating, and I have a health condition that puts me at high risk, so I don't see an end in sight without a vaccine.

There's not really any way to make new friends currently while staying at home, so how do I deal with texting being my only form of contact for the next year or so?

Isolated

 

Dear Isolated: I certainly hope it won’t be a year before you are able to move around with a feeling of safety concerning your health. A year is a very long time to be isolated from most human contact.

My first recommendation is for you to adopt a pet, if you are able and if your health allows. Shelters are offering adoptions via appointment, and if there is a way for you to do this safely, I hope you will consider it.

Many people who are still working (remotely) are completely exhausted with videoconferencing. What seemed like a fun novelty four months ago (“Zoom cocktails, cool!) now feels forced.

Texting is not an optimal way to stay in touch, but if you put some effort into becoming an engaging correspondent (not initiating too often, being responsive to others, and occasionally sending fun memes and videos), texting can be a somewhat satisfying way of staying connected.

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