I can’t see my friends because I’m waiting for a kidney transplant. How can I reach out without seeming needy?

  • It’s normal to feel lonely when you live alone and have to be isolated due to the pandemic.
  • But that doesn’t mean you’re unworthy of love and connection, even from a distance. That’s why you should take the leap and reach out to your friends and family for virtual hang outs.
  • Chances are they’re also lonely and miss you, and would be grateful to reconnect.
  • Try scheduling regular virtual meet-ups or phone calls, and also volunteering so you can feel connected to others.
  • Have a question for Julia? Fill out this anonymous form. All questions will be published anonymously.You can read more Doing It Right here.
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I’m 61, and waiting on a kidney transplant that’s been postponed due to the pandemic.

My closest family members, including my siblings and my children, all live out of state. I have good girlfriends, but they all have family close by and grandchildren. Even if they weren’t busy,

I wouldn’t be able to physically spend time with them due to the distancing I need to do to protect my health.

I’m lonely, and feel sadness every day when I wake up. I can hardly muster hope. How do I even begin to reach out?

– Illinois

Dear Illinois,

I’m so sorry you feel hopeless. I want you to know it doesn’t have to be this way, even though there’s physical distance between you and the people you love.

As a person living alone during the pandemic, what you’re experiencing is completely normal, Dr. Doug Nemecek, Cigna’s chief medical officer of behaviour health, told me.

He pointed to a Cigna survey that found 61% of American adults of various ages reported feeling lonely this year. The key to breaking that cycle, Nemecek said, is realising you deserve love and friendship, and that reaching out to others for that need doesn’t make you bothersome.

And once you reach out, chances are your friends and family will be glad you did because they have been feeling isolated too, according to Nemecek. After all, a person can be busy and still feel alone.

So, how do you express your needs to your loved ones? It may sound silly or almost too straightforward, but all it takes is a quick text message or email. Nemecek suggested this method since you can use it to schedule a future call or video chat and ensure you both have time to catch up.

When reaching out, you can be as candid about your situation as you’d like. But no matter how you approach your loved ones, remember you’re not asking for too much, or that something is wrong with you.

“Everyone has felt lonely at some time in their past, as it’s a normal emotion,” Nemecek said, and they will understand where you’re coming from.

Once you reach out, consider scheduling regular virtual chats with your friends over coffee, a meal, or a cocktail.

In addition to taking those first steps to express your needs to your friends and family, Nemecek said you should consider volunteer work (from a distance, of course) or adopting a furry friend to keep you company. That way, you can feel like you’re connecting to others in a meaningful way while still honouring your health.

If you ever feel needy reaching out to your friends, remember that they love you, want to hear from you, and will be honoured you took the time you keep your connection strong despite the distance.

As Insider’s resident sex and relationships reporter,Julia Naftulin is here to answer all of your questions about dating, love, and doing it – no question is too weird or taboo. Julia regularly consults a panel of health experts including relationship therapists, gynecologists, and urologists to get science-backed answers to your burning questions, with a personal twist.

Have a question? Fill out this anonymous form. All questions will be published anonymously.