Advanced search

To think the husband should have intervened?

(31 Posts)
annabanana84 Mon 08-Apr-13 15:43:35

Dp and I were in a pub restaurant last night having a meal to 'celebrate' his late sisters birthday. We were both extremely close to her, and although she's gone, we wanted to Mark the occasion.

Two tables away from us sat a lady and a man. They were in their sixties I would say, and I'd say the lady may have had a very mild learning disability, but the man not.

Soon as we sat down, the lady came over and sat with us the whole two hours we were there telling us all about her love of football and her life story. We couldn't tell her to leave us be, as that's just the meanest thing to do, but the husband never said a word the whole time, apart from in the middle of the meal acknowledged a story the woman was telling us about their wedding. I thought he could at least ask his wife to sit back at their own table, and dp and I obviously couldn't have our own private conversation.

Sunnywithshowers Mon 08-Apr-13 15:45:50


Yes you can ask someone to leave you be, whether the lady has a learning disability or not.

madonnawhore Mon 08-Apr-13 15:46:14

That is odd. I would've been pretty furious at the intrusion actually.

I think I probably would've said something though. 10 mins max of polite conversation maybe. But after that it becomes an imposition and you were within your rights to tell her to bugger off tbh.

BlueSuedeStiletto Mon 08-Apr-13 15:47:18

Ooh, that's difficult isn't it? On the one hand you want to enjoy your meal, but on the other you don't want to be mean. If it was a child, I'd have said something to the parents. But It's very different with an adult, especially one with SN.

I think the husband should have pulled her away after 5 minutes or so. But I think you were lovely not to say anything!

MrsTerryPratchett Mon 08-Apr-13 15:49:07

You weren't willing to ask her to leave. Next time ask her to leave.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Mon 08-Apr-13 15:50:22

Perhaps he should have, but you also did have the choice to say look, it's been nice chatting with you and I don't mean to be rude, but we are here to have a meal together and we would appreciate it if you would allow us to have our time together now.

You chose to not ask her to leave you, it's not that you couldn't. If your mouth can form the words then you can. You chose not to and you have to take responsibility for that too. People don't always do what you think they should do, or what is reasonable to do (don't I bloody wish they did!) which is why sometimes you have to be assertive and say things that may not be well received.

I know that you wanted to be nice, I understand that it would have been really difficult to have that conversation and I bet you were thinking that she must surely go in a minute, in a minute, in a minute...

But it's ok to tell someone to please leave, or that they are intruding.

SantanaLopez Mon 08-Apr-13 15:50:30

Are they supposed to be psychic?

Feminine Mon 08-Apr-13 15:54:08

I can see how it happened.

You probably did such a good impression of being interested , that she took it at face value.

Tricky really.

I know it is hard to ask someone to go. If it ever happens again , I'd be tempted to leave myself. I know that is easier said than done, least nobody would be hurt.

YANBU....but practice your bored face to use next time!

fedupofnamechanging Mon 08-Apr-13 15:54:44

I think the husband should have intervened. It is much easier for him and nicer for her, if he deals with it, than for a total stranger to have effectively said, bugger off!

quesadilla Mon 08-Apr-13 15:55:03

Tricky this: not sure how much this is down to the learning disability and how much is cultural. In the country my DH comes from this sort of thing happens routinely - strangers will wander over to shoot the breeze in shops/bars//cafes and you are just expected to tolerate it. It's friendly but it drives me nuts after a while.
I am guessing the man was of the opinion that this was normal and didn't think you were irritated. I would have waited a respectful period and then just said "sorry, we are mourning the death of a friend, would you mind leaving us alone." You would have to be very unaware to be offended by that.

StrawberryMojito Mon 08-Apr-13 15:55:17

I've been in a similar situation. DH and I were on holiday when a boy from a another tourist family decided to 'join' us for lunch. His parents were nearby and were more than happy for the opportunity to have their lunch in peace. We tried to gently encourage him to go back to his own table (and his parents heard this) but he wouldn't take the hint and they pretended they didn't notice. How can you tell a child to go away? We couldn't but then avoided them for the rest of the holiday.

Tee2072 Mon 08-Apr-13 15:59:18

You people need to stop being so nice and British.

"Nice to see you. We'd like to be alone now." She stays, turn to the husband "Can you take her back, please?"

Speak up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

MrsMangelFanciedPaulRobinson Mon 08-Apr-13 15:59:28

What a bizarre situation. I can see why you are annoyed.

Yes, the husband should have intervened for certain. It seems really odd that he'd just sit there alone willingly whilst his wife went and intruded upon another couple's meal.

I think I'd have said something once your meal arrived "Well it's been lovely talking but please excuse us now the food's here, we've come out to spend some time alone"

MrsMangelFanciedPaulRobinson Mon 08-Apr-13 16:00:25

Strawberry, I would have been cross in your situation too! I think I'd have said something to the parents. It just wouldn't be on my radar to just let my kids go off and decide to sit with others.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Mon 08-Apr-13 16:01:24

Yeah, he should have. I agree.

but people don't always do what they should do, unfortunately. And in this case, he didn't.

So you have to do it for them.

Otherwise you sit there, fed up, waiting for them to do what you feel they should do but they clearly feel no need to do.

And who suffers? you do!

How can you tell a child to go away? "Will you go and sit with your parents now please. We are having our lunch. Off you go. Excuse me, will you have your son back with you please, we are trying to eat our lunch. Please. Now. Will you fetch him please?" and no shutting up until he's gone.

We are sometimes too worried about being Nice, that people will take the piss. There really is no point doing nothing because you're waiting for someone to do something that you really feel they should understand that it's reasonable to do.

Phatseau Mon 08-Apr-13 16:01:53

I think it's very kind of you to keep her company, particularly when you and your partner had come out to mark his late sister's birthday, but I do certainly agree that it was a bit much that the lady stayed talking with you for so long!

I too would have certainly expected her companion to try to get her to leave you alone after 10 minutes or so, but at the same time, maybe the lady's companion thought you were really enjoying yourselves. Who knows, it does sound very odd!

I agree with the posters above, and wouldn't have thought it at all rude to politely ask to be left alone, perhaps something along the lines of, "well, it's been lovely to talk to you, I really hope you don't mind, but I'd like to just be able to have some time with my partner now. I hope you enjoy the rest of your evening!".

ReluctantBeing Mon 08-Apr-13 16:02:55

MrsMangel I love your name!

firesidechat Mon 08-Apr-13 16:03:30

What a weird coincidence. I posted on another thread about an almost identical situation happening to us many, many years ago. Except it was a lone man and we also put up with it for two hours.

We were too polite and nice to tell him to get lost because I think he had zero social skills and was lonely. If it happened now I don't what I would do. In your situation I think I would have appealed to the husband, but who knows.

Helltotheno Mon 08-Apr-13 16:04:19

If your mouth can form the words then you can. You chose not to and you have to take responsibility for that too.


thezebrawearspurple Mon 08-Apr-13 16:07:51

If you're not prepared to tell people (nicely of course) to go away because you want time alone, then you have to accept that intrusive people will continue to intrude unaware of the upset they are causing because you're not saying anything!

MrsMangelFanciedPaulRobinson Mon 08-Apr-13 16:07:54

I stopped going to a hairdressing salon as it was a sectioned off area in a clothes shop, and the manager of the clothes shop would come and stand at the door to the hairdresser section and talk and talk and talk to me whilst I had my hair done. It was quiet and I was often the only customer there, but I like reading magazines at the hairdressers and using the opportunity to sit and relax. I tried hinting to her, reading my magazine and giving one word answers and saying "Right, just going to have a bit of a read now" but she took no notice and the hairdresser never said anything to her.

I think some people lack boundaries and they also are unable to read visual or verbal cues from others. DD has a friend at school who is like this, she can't seem to read any cues from DD that DD doesn't want to play with her that day or doesn't want to have lunch with her, and just won't leave DD alone. I don't think it's necessarily learning difficulties, but is probably also learnt from parents that behave in a similar way. I know the mum of the girl DD knows behaves in the same way. She has no idea of personal space and boundaries.

MrsMangelFanciedPaulRobinson Mon 08-Apr-13 16:09:02

Thank you Reluctant grin

Was a huge Neighbours fan in the late 80s!

Sunnywithshowers Mon 08-Apr-13 16:15:43

I have a lovely friend who can't read non-verbal cues at all. I just have to say to him 'I'm too busy to talk now, we can talk at x time' and he doesn't mind.

MrsMangelFanciedPaulRobinson Mon 08-Apr-13 16:21:12

The mum of the child that is all over DD at school will talk and talk, and if you say 'Right, well I'd better get going now' she will ignore you and talk, so I usually start walking off to wherever I'm going and she'll walk alongside me, talking, and I have to either get in my car, or reach my house, and literally just walk up the driveway to get rid of her and just say 'Bye' as I do it. She really cannot read any other verbal or non verbal cues at all.

middleeasternpromise Mon 08-Apr-13 16:23:30

This is like waiting to get a break at a busy roundabout - if you dont make your move you end up missing your opportunity. You really do have to deal with these situations head on but you can still be very polite and sensitive - thank you so much for taking the time to come over and say hello it was very nice to have chatted with you but we have some personal discussions to take care off. Thank you - have a nice evening (nice and loud to husband).

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: