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to think it's weird to be unable to do ANYTHING on your own?

116 replies

onceandneveragain · 23/11/2019 19:31

met a friend to go Christmas shopping today (which reminded me why I normally do everything online Grin) and in one shop overheard a family who appeared to be arguing about something. Husband (assume) said to wife "Well why don't you go back and wait in the car then?" to which she replied "Oh no, I can't you know how embarrassing I find going somewhere on my own." She then appeared to be nagging one of their DC to go with her so she didn't have to walk on her own.

I mentioned to my friend this was weird, and she says her mother is exactly the same - said she always waited for her DH to go shopping with her on the weekend even though she didn't work at all in the week because she wouldn't go on her own. If she and my friend go anywhere my friend has to pick her up because her mum won't travel there on her own - not because she doesn't like driving but because she 'doesn't like to think what people are thinking about her if she's standing around waiting on her own.'

Thinking about it I remembered another friend I have who always moans about the cost of parking when we go places because she will refuse to take public transport on her own. If she is first to arrive somewhere she sits in her car rather than going inside to the cinema/pub wherever until someone else arrives.

Both my friend, and other friends mum, are really sociable, confident etc. No anxiety issues that I know of (I know you can never tell). They just HATE being on their own in public.

Is this normal? Is it (based on my very small sample of three) solely a female thing? I understand why people might not want to, for example, travel abroad alone. I can even sort of understand it when people say they don't like eating out, or going to the cinema on their own, although if you're not lucky enough to have a partner/friends who like the same things as you it's a bit life-limiting. But not being able to walk a few metres back to the car park on your own is odd, surely?

If I followed those rules I wouldn't have been able to meet my friend at all, forget carry on browsing for a little while once she'd left - let alone all the other things I have to/have chosen to do alone, from travelling for work to seeing shows when nobody want to come with me. Should I be more embarrassed about my lonely wanderings? Grin

OP posts:

Lockheart · 23/11/2019 19:50

Have you read AIBU? Apparently most people aren't able to make even the most basic of decisions without having to ask the internet.


Butterymuffin · 23/11/2019 19:53

No that's weird. And pretty sad in an adult.


LolaSmiles · 23/11/2019 19:56

For your average adult I think it's really weird.
Managing basic life tasks is part of being a functioning adult.


charm8ed · 23/11/2019 19:57

I love doing stuff on my own, cinema, coffee out, spa days. I don’t really like clothes shopping with other people as I take ages to choose anything.


NoHummus · 23/11/2019 19:58

I'm with you, I think it's weird. But then I'm quite happy going on holiday on my own.


PortiaCastis · 23/11/2019 20:02

Before I had therapy for my PTSD I couldn't get past the front door on my own so I think there are quite a few reasons why someone wouldn't want to be in the shops on her own as I still find crowds daunting.
Everyone's different


dontgobaconmyheart · 23/11/2019 20:06

It's not typical no OP- but anxiety is a very real illness and there are a great many mental health conditions and developmental difficulties that lead to people struggling to feel comfortable going out alone or being scared to. You can be high functioning but have a disabling anxiety over being out alone, some people are not aware they even have anxiety.

Good for you that you are so lucky that you able to do and have no reasons why you would struggle to do so many things unaided and aren't affected but I don't think calling others 'weird' for struggling just because you think they shouldn't is very fair. You do not know what the cause really is.
For honesty's sake- I prefer not to go out alone (even though there is literally nothing I would like more in the world I can tell you!) even 'just' to the car- not because I am not a full grown up or a needy idiot but because I have a medical condition (that I tend not to disclose) which causes blurred vision, disorientation and fainting when I am standing. I feel anxious that it will flare up (as it has done) when i am out and i will be injured or struggle to get home, which has happened. You cannot tell I am unwell to look at me- anxiety is no different.

I would just think it was a shame for those people that whatever rationale there is is prohibitive to their independence. You are correct to note that it is unbearably limiting in life.


fudgesmummy · 23/11/2019 20:08

I hate being on my own in public, I have major social anxiety and very rarely go out on my own.
I have been tested to the limit over the last 4 weeks, I had to have major surgery so was in hospital for 5 days and then had to go back 2 weeks later for 3 days because of complications.
Yes I managed having to be on my own a lot of the time, asking people for help and talking to complete strangers. But I would still rather be with people I know


itsgettingweird · 23/11/2019 20:15

I can see why it would be limiting for an adult.

Clearly they haven't sussed this shopping lark like me and teen DS!

We go separate ends of supermarket and meet in the middle! (I shop online so just a quick top up sat am after swim training!) saves masses of time Grin

I also enjoy the wandering alone and being able to actually think and concentrate on what I'm doing without someone's chat distracting me.


QueefLatifah · 23/11/2019 20:17

I have a family member like this.
In her fifties. Sitting in restaurant with a group of us and has to ask someone to accompany her to the loo/out for smoke. Won’t complain about the food asks someone to do it for her. Won’t ask the price of something in a shop, hates getting bus alone. Won’t stand around waiting on someone, sits in car.
Adult holding down full time job.. but has always been like this.


Brimful · 23/11/2019 20:18

Sadly I was violently attacked and had PTSD for years afterwards, I became afraid of everything and agoraphobic. It was an awful time.

Thankfully I'm mostly recovered now but what I'm trying to say is you can't (or perhaps shouldn't) judge someone as you don't know their story or what they've been through.


fudgesmummy · 23/11/2019 20:21

Sorry to hear that ☹️


cheesydoesit · 23/11/2019 20:23

I think (and I have heard others with this POV), that bring part of a couple encourages this behaviour. DH thinks he's being helpful and 'does' loads of stuff, think maintenance of house and car etc and I get lazy and rely on him doing it and as a result lose confidence in myself doing it. It's ridiculous, I've traveled the world alone and navigated life by myself but suddenly I am afraid to fill the car with petrol?! Anyway, now I am aware of it, I'm less lazy relient and do things for myself.

Disclaimer: he really is nice and efficient, honest. It's not a sign of abusive control.


cheesydoesit · 23/11/2019 20:24



bridgetreilly · 23/11/2019 20:25

I completely sympathise with people like @Brimful, where there is an actual reason. But I do think there are women, mostly of an older generation, where it's just a weird social thing to do with 'what other people might think' when the reality is, no one else is thinking anything.


Brimful · 23/11/2019 20:25

@fudgesmummy I felt for you reading your post, anxiety is paralysing. It strips freedom and can make us feel so trapped. Sounds like you've done amazingly the past few weeks Flowers


Outspoken82 · 23/11/2019 20:29

I too experienced a serious assault 10 years ago.

It’s left me unable to do most things alone. Corner Shops I can park right outside of, fine. Going into a big supermarket or shopping centre etc, I just can’t.

I don’t class myself as having anxiety but I know it’s bad, DH doesn’t understand why I want him to come shopping with me rather than stay home with the kids but I just physically feel like I can’t.

I’ve never really written it down before so it sounds really strange but yeah, there could be reasons behind it. I know I’m the weird one though and its not normal!


64sNewName · 23/11/2019 20:29

God, that must be really difficult.

I love being alone and doing things alone. I’m much more confident and capable when focusing on one thing at a time, and it’s a big effort for me to spend time shopping or navigating busy places out and about, while also maintaining a polite level of companionable chat etc.

I like other people’s company and don’t limit my social life, but my poor multi-tasking/brain fatigue can lead to minor social awkwardness and it always leaves me drained afterwards.

Being alone, on the other hand, is so restful. I love it.


CSIblonde · 23/11/2019 20:32

I used to be similar when my depression was bad. I'd know the anti d's were kicking in if I could face a shopping trip alone or going & meeting someone. I literally felt so exposed & totally vulnerable to some unspecified threat otherwise. Its crippling.


Alloftheboys · 23/11/2019 20:32

@bridgetreilly agree with the “women of a certain age” comment.

My mum said if a woman went into a pub by herself (late 60’s) it was assumed she was a “woman of the night!”


cheesydoesit · 23/11/2019 20:39

My comment looks stupid now. Sorry for all those that have a very bloody good reason to not want to do tasks alone. Flowers


spacepyramid · 23/11/2019 20:42

i have every sympathy for people who have a reason for such anxiety but there does seem to be another group of people who can't cope with doing things on their own. When I was single I'd take holidays abroad alone and would get comments like 'Oh, you are so brave, I could never do that'' and I was called brave for flying home on my own with DCs to see family - I can't see how it's brave.


smartcarnotsosmartdriver · 23/11/2019 20:43

I can do most things alone. The only thing I can't do alone in public is eat. I'm overweight and have had hurtful comments made in the past more than once. I can manage a quick snack to keep me going but the thought of a meal in public alone makes me feel ill.


Beautiful3 · 23/11/2019 20:44

I was like this when younger, as I suffered from anxiety. But I'm fine now. I can go into a cafe or go anywhere on my own. I literally dont even think about 'other people' anymore. Feel sorry for anyone that feels like this.


itsgettingweird · 23/11/2019 20:45

Anxiety - yes there is a reason. I've been there after sexual assault and so has my ds after being held at knife point.

But OP is talking about people who say it's because they worry what others will think of them.

Both ways are limiting though. That's why I worked hard to overcome it.

But the first isn't a choice.

The second is.

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