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This was handled badly wasn't it? Bereaved acquaintance came to the door

28 replies

Eve177624 · 22/09/2020 20:50

I've changed my name for this thread.

I don't know this person well enough to say he's a friend but he seems like a pleasant enough man (just a drinker). I'll call him John for the purpose of the thread.

John got chatting to my partner when he saw him working in the front garden last year and ever since then he'll stop and chat when he passes. He doesn't live round here but is down our street fairly often as he comes to do bits and bobs for his elderly mum.

DP works nights and had been up for about half an hour when we had a knock at the door from John. I was cooking at the time but stopped what I was doing and opened the door. John asked if I could get DP.

DP goes to the door and John's visibly drunk and upset, he tells DP that his adult daughter has just died Sad

I'm still sorting food at this point and both our children are awake and in the front room so we were all caught off guard.

DP tells him he's really sorry to hear that and what terrible news it is, then John said he just needed somebody to talk to.

DP doesn't know what to say at this point (he's very socially awkward) and after a few seconds silence John says he'll be on his way then and walks off. DP calls after him to say are you going to be ok John but he doesn't reply.

I don't know him well enough to feel comfortable inviting him into our house when he's clearly intoxicated. The children were awake, we were about to eat and DP has work shortly.

We both feel terrible for him but what would you have done in this situation?

OP posts:
fussygalore118 · 22/09/2020 20:55

Hmm probably offered him a cup of tea in the garden tbh.
Difficult when you are caught on the hop like that. And I wouldn't have had him in the house if he was pissed ( but mainly due to CV19 , I'm in local lockdown area so no ppl allowed inside unless they live in your household).

I'm a softy and would probably make a meal for him and take it round...

islockdownoveryet · 22/09/2020 20:58

I don't know actually, it's very sad he has no family of friends to talk to but comes to tell your husband so he must see him as a friend of sorts .
Handled badly yes would I have done things different possibly. I probably would of invited him in or asked if I could contact someone for him. I don't think I wouldn't of let him go .
It sounds like you or your husband didn't want to know and now you feel bad .
Can your husband call to his mums ? you say she lives on your street .

Frownette · 22/09/2020 21:00

It's alright, John was clearly suffering. You didn't do anything wrong, just didn't have enough time to react and were in the middle of other things.

If dp feels comfortable with it he could call round briefly tomorrow when he's not at work.

It isn't too late now if you wanted to just call round briefly and say you're sorry, as long as children are ok.

Eve177624 · 22/09/2020 21:01

I didn't know what it was about until DP came back through and told me after he'd gone.

I do feel like shit, terribly guilty.

I won't use labels to excuse DP's reaction but he's really not good in social situations. He didn't know what to do.

We don't know where he lives and don't have his mobile number Sad

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Eve177624 · 22/09/2020 21:02

We know his mum lives on this street but don't know which block or house (it's a very long street) we don't know him well enough to know those things.

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Besom · 22/09/2020 21:08

Op there's nothing you can do about it. You sound like a nice person that you are so worried about it bu give yourself and dh a break and just resolve to speak to him when you next see him.

AwaAnBileYerHeid · 22/09/2020 21:11

Can you watch out for him, maybe at the time he usually is around, and catch him? What a bloody shame. Your partner didn't do anything wrong, he just was caught on the hop and didn't know how to react so neither of you should feel bad.

Frownette · 22/09/2020 21:11


We know his mum lives on this street but don't know which block or house (it's a very long street) we don't know him well enough to know those things.

He must have been pretty desperate to try your house then.

OK I'd leave it for tonight but get DP around tomorrow (if he can find out which building/flat) then go and sleep easy.
Eve177624 · 22/09/2020 21:17

I'll definitely make a point of looking out for him.

I don't know that i'd have been able to handle it any differently than DP given that he was drunk and the children were in the same room (where the front door is)

If he was sober and the children weren't here I would have probably gone after him and invited him in.

Its just a very sad situation isn't it. It'll play on my mind now until I see him again.

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BunnyLovesBananas · 22/09/2020 21:21

Yes it was handled badly but you know that and yet you keep saying you couldn't have done things differently do just accept it for what it is.

Eve177624 · 22/09/2020 21:21

I genuinely don't know how we'll find out what block she lives on, I'm not kidding when I say it's a long road.

We live in London and the road we're on stretches from one burrough to another.

We see him when he's going two and fro shopping, but we live near a supermarket and he could be coming from half a mile up the road.

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12309845653ghydrvj · 22/09/2020 21:22

Oh my god that’s awful, the poor man...

Clearly you were both shocked and don’t respond well in the moment, if I were you I would have immediately invited him in, put on tea, etc. Have you made any efforts to track him down, surely if you ask neighbours around where his mum’s house is you can track him down?

A lot of middle aged men don’t have many friends, clearly he sees your husband as a person he can talk to. I wouldn’t want him to be alone at this time, can’t even imagine what he’s going through. A kind word and a cup of tea would mean the world.

12309845653ghydrvj · 22/09/2020 21:23

Do you know his full name OP? Or even his surname? If so you can find his mother’s address fairly easily.

Eve177624 · 22/09/2020 21:27

DP has gone and knocked on a neighbours door who he has seen him speaking to before, they don't have a contact number or know where his mum lives either.

We only know his first name.

I'm not under any illusion that it has been handled anything but badly and that's why I feel like shit.

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Greentulips1 · 22/09/2020 21:28

I would have maybe had a similar socially awkward reaction a few weeks ago (I struggle socially a bit too!) but I recently did a free suicide prevention course for world suicide awareness day and it highlighted the importance of talking.

What's done is done so don't beat yourselves up. As you say you was off guard. Can you reach out to him now and check on him?

islockdownoveryet · 22/09/2020 21:30

I'd stop beating yourself up about it .
You don't know his full name address or anything so unfortunately there isn't a great deal you can do .
Like you say he'd been drinking he's bereaved and sad so wanted to talk . You'll see him again I'm sure , but try not to worry hopefully he's found someone to talk to in his family .

Greentulips1 · 22/09/2020 21:31

Sorry OP just seen that you've tried to find where he is.
Keep an eye out as he may be back and u will be more prepared

AntiHop · 22/09/2020 21:31

I would pop round tomorrow with a card and ask him if he'd like to come round for a cup of tea.

Eve177624 · 22/09/2020 21:36

If I see him again I'll invite him in without hesitation, hindsight is a wonderful thing isn't it.

For those who haven't RTFT I don't know where he lives, or his mum, or even what his last name or number is.

We don't know him well at all, only to chat to in passing. The fact that he thought to come here means he obviously sees DP as more than just an acquaintance which just compounds the guilt.

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BlueDream · 22/09/2020 21:44

That's very sad.

But tbh since he was drunk, your young children were there, plus Covid, I'm not sure I would have done differently other than gone outside the front door to chat, or maybe asked him to come into the garden.

But I wouldn't have immediately known what to do due to the above points and being caught on the spot. Sad

BrummyMum1 · 22/09/2020 21:50

A neighbour of mine used the “next door” app to track down another neighbour. They said they were looking for * with a description of *, said they were worried about them and asked for anyone that knew where they might be able to find them to private message them. Could be worth a try. I imagine you’ll be worrying until you see him again. You sound like a lovely person, don’t feel bad about being caught on the back foot.

BrummyMum1 · 22/09/2020 21:51

Looking for xx with a description of xx I mean (didn’t mean for the bold text!)


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Whatthebloodyell · 22/09/2020 21:55

I understand you feeling bad, I’d be the same. It’s the kind of thing that would keep me awake in the early hours.

But honestly, his daughter has just died, he was pissed, so getting a ‘non response’ from your husband is not going to be something that he is dwelling on. He probably won’t remember it in the morning.

Eve177624 · 22/09/2020 21:56

I didn't know about the Next Door app I will have a look now. He's the type of person who will stop a chat with anybody, really outgoing and social, so somebody is bound to know him. Fingers crossed.

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Eve177624 · 22/09/2020 21:59

DP said John told him at the door that he'd been drinking heavily all week so it's possible that it hasn't just happened, not that the timing makes it any better.

I'm just hoping he doesn't do anything stupid.

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