Gransnet forums

Ask a gran

can be concerning sitting on your own

(43 Posts)
Cath9 Fri 30-Dec-16 18:31:18

Do any of you widows, when on your own in a cafe or whereever, get a feeling that people sitting around may be wondering if you have scarpered and left your poor husband on his own?

I so often get this feeling, which I did todsy in a small cafe when I sat next to a an older couple, who looked around my age.

Ana Fri 30-Dec-16 18:33:29

No. Why on earth would other people think that? confused

Iam64 Fri 30-Dec-16 18:57:46

That sounds a bit sad Cath 9. Are you a widow and if so, how long has that been the case. It sounds as though you feel self conscious but why would anyone wonder if you'd scarpered and left your 'poor' husband on his own?

Jayanna9040 Fri 30-Dec-16 18:59:52

I often used to go off to do things on my own when DH was alive, so nothing changed there really after he died. I've never worried about it.

Anya Fri 30-Dec-16 19:14:12

How long have you been a widow Cath ?

nanaK54 Fri 30-Dec-16 19:32:45

Bless you no I don't think anyone would be thinking that

GrandmaMoira Fri 30-Dec-16 19:44:42

I'm a widow and I've never thought of that. There are times I'm uncomfortable doing things on my own but not for that reason.

Jalima Fri 30-Dec-16 19:48:13

Cath9 I often scarper and leave DH on his own; however, I used to go out every week with a dear friend and I do feel very lost when I go out shopping and stop for lunch on my own now she has died. In fact I rarely stop for lunch if I have to shop these days.
Lots of women seemed to be lunching and chatting with a friend and I miss her very much.

I don't think anyone would be thinking that Cath9

Kittye Fri 30-Dec-16 19:56:54

If I go shopping on my own I'll have a coffee or lunch and don't worry about what other people are thinking. I think they are far too wrapped up in themselves. 😕

Lyndylou Fri 30-Dec-16 20:14:03

No having a coffee by myself is something I enjoy. I would love to spend time in coffee shops with DP but he hates it, he fidgets around saying the chairs aren't comfortable, he doesn't like coffee shop coffee and I feel he is constantly waiting for me to finish my drink. I never think about anyway else in the coffee shop, I just get engrossed in my phone or a magazine if I'm bored.

BlueBelle Fri 30-Dec-16 20:18:48

No never thought that often do things on my own days out even a holiday but never imagine people think I ve done a midnight flit

ginny Fri 30-Dec-16 20:49:37

No , I've never felt that. Luckily I still have DH but am quite happy to go off on my own . Having a coffee or lunch on my own doesn't bother me and I'm not concerned what people are thinking if anything.

rosesarered Fri 30-Dec-16 21:27:00

No, have never felt that Cath tbh I don't think anybody is interested enough in us and why we are on our own.I have never eaten in a restaurant by myself, but coffee shops and cafes, yes.My DD often eats alone in restaurants when away on business and says it doesn't bother her ( but maybe that's different.) I know that you meant to type 'today' and not todsy, but tod means alone, and was the old anglo saxon word for a fox! Foxes always being on their own.

durhamjen Fri 30-Dec-16 23:19:23

I try to make sure I have a book or a newspaper, so I don't notice if other people are looking at me.
Today I went to Beamish on my own, and was going to have lunch there, but all the cafes/tearooms were full of families. That seems worse when you are on your own. So I went and had bits of twelfth night cake and a fruit punch in the hall, and watched the dancing there, where there were families but it didn't matter as everyone was laughing and joining in. I also had a couple of very long chats with the volunteers there, so I didn't feel like I was on my own.

Swanny Fri 30-Dec-16 23:50:59

Maybe you are recently widowed Cath and feeling vulnerable on your own. Please don't. Just relax, have your coffee or snack and know that you are as welcome in that place as anyone else, as long as you pay your bill!

It may seem intimidating if you are used to going somewhere like that with a partner, but you are not alone. There are many others in the same position and over time you may get chatting with someone else and can make arrangements to meet there weekly or whatever. Keep smiling and willing to share a table brew

Cath9 Sat 31-Dec-16 00:08:48

Thanks for all your replies.
I suppose I have the very old-fashioned idea, going back to the early years of the last century, when people often got married purely for convenience sake, as with the cook, Elizabeth David.
Yes I am a widow Iam64, my late husband died when he was still young and we were seldom apart, which I suppose has not helped. Although I love going to theatre, while he preferred going to the cinema.

Shanma Sat 31-Dec-16 00:19:35

I never worry about doing things on my own, although I rarely have the chance! If I do get a day out by myself I am fine with going for lunch, museums or whatever. I don't feel anyone is looking at me or wondering why I am alone, and even if they did I wouldn't care one jot, if I even noticed.

I have always been more invlined to do things on my own without a second thought, whereas DH would never go and do something without me. Perhaps because I was an only Child, and had to amuse myself most of the time, maybe that has stuck with me, who knows.

Just enjoy your coffee/tea/cakes or whatever and don't give it a thought

Shanma Sat 31-Dec-16 00:20:14

lol invlined=inclined

thatbags Sat 31-Dec-16 03:26:12

I agree with the others who've said they don't think people would be thinking what you feared, cath. However, even if they were thinking that, why would it matter? They could equally well be thinking how lucky you were to be peacefully alone. Think positive flowers

Falconbird Sat 31-Dec-16 06:24:24

There are a lot of things I find difficult now I'm a widow but having a coffee or a snack on my own is OK. I find larger cafes where I can be more anonymous are the best sort. When I had a husband (bless him) and I saw an older man or woman on their own I assumed they were widowed and to be honest the thought did cross my mind that one day that would be me. Keep going into Cafes Cath9 and don't worry about what other people are thinking. flowers

NanKate Sat 31-Dec-16 06:55:05

I am quite at easy in a cafe on my own. I have been doing this since I was about 10 and I am now 70. I always have in my bag a Sudoku and crossword cut out from the newspaper to keep me occupied. I go to the cinema on my own too.

For anyone who feels a bit wobbly about being on their own I would suggest you find a favourite cafe, go there regularly. Have brief chats with the staff who serve you. I often compliment the youngsters on their nail varnish, hair etc and this sometimes starts a brief conversation. I never chat to them too long just enough to be remembered.

JackyB Sat 31-Dec-16 08:10:21

My sister-in-law, who never married and is now an "old maid" was ill in the early 90s and has never worked since, due to health problems. She had breast cancer, but mainly she was in a terrible state mentally, following the death of both parents (which I am convinced made her susceptible to the cancer), and what she regarded as harassment from her colleagues at work (at an institution where she was supposed to be the boss).

She went through many months of therapy, including building up her self-confidence by completing such "tasks" as going to a café on her own. Until we spoke about that, it had never even crossed my mind that it was a difficult situation to sit alone in a café.

My thoughts, based on that, are

- a café is fine, but not a lot of fun on your own, unless you have a book, paper or crossword to do.
- does a man sitting on his own in a café wonder what other people are thinking?
- a restaurant might be different, but if you have to have a meal on your own somewhere, just brazen it out. (A man would!)
- there are so many single women of our age (widows, unmarried, divorcees) that it is absolutely nothing unusual. Probably no one is looking at you anyway, and if they are, they won't be having unpleasant thoughts.
- Smile at the other guests, but don't stare!
- Have a little chat with the waitress/waiter (don't keep them too long, though!) so that any onlookers will see that you aren't in any way abnormal
- Show that you are enjoying your food!

Cath9 Sat 31-Dec-16 10:11:42

I do all that jackyB and as I went away to school, I really do not mind being on my own.It is just, as you pointed out, when in small places and when couples, of one's own age, sit next to you
I have had a bit of this feeling since last summer, when a dear young chap, who I did have a quick chat too while waiting for a bus, saw me again a few weeks later when I was sitting by the river.
He came to sit next to me, but only to ask if I was ok, as he said he had noticed me on my own a lot.
He was so nice trying to suggest what to do, as I was then in a difficult situation.
So this feeling has occured since last summer but, as mentioned, only when in small places.

Stansgran Sat 31-Dec-16 10:15:24

I like going on my own and I love to people watch. I have a friend who takes a Kindle with her but if I get a break to go shopping I spend my time with a coffee crossing things off my lists. I also have a dreadful tendency to strike up conversations Ancient Mariner style.

Falconbird Sat 31-Dec-16 10:44:58

Love the Ancient Mariner remark - he did like a good chat didn't he. smile