By gayle lagman-creswick
Dear Gabby Gayle: My friend of many years seems to be isolating herself or something. I am in my 60s and she is in her 70s. We have both been very active socially—going to exercise, plays, movies, ballgames, etc. For the last month I see she is withdrawing. When I call her to go out, she will say things like “I’m not feeling well,” “I’m too tired” or “I have a program I want to watch on TV.” I feel something is going on, but I do not know how to help her. I wish I knew what was going on. Your ideas would be appreciated.
Dear Concerned: There are many reasons one might isolate themselves: It could be she is depressed, or she is an alcoholic and wants to drink alone, she may have some physical condition, which does make her feel tired, and not like socializing, or it could be she is tired of your company. If it were my friend, I would say, “What’s up friend, are you tired of my company?” That should open up conversation and you can tell her your concern and offer to help her if she needs to seek out professional help. If that does not work, perhaps you could share this info with a child or close relative of hers, in the interest of her health. I am usually a mind-your-own-business kind of person, but not when health or safety is an issue. Good luck.
Dear Gabby Gayle: Why is dating again after becoming a widower so awkward? I have finally decided to join one of these dating sites after five years of loneliness, and I cannot bring myself to ask anyone for a date. Is something wrong with me? I only remember slight uneasiness as a teenager beginning to date. This is much more difficult. I feel so foolish, like what is an old guy like me doing dating anyway? I need advice! Thanks.
Dear TE: For one thing, you are out of practice. For another thing, you have it in your head that it is unnatural and foolish to be doing this at your age (whatever that age is). Put that thought out of your head. It is only difficult the first time. Coffee is always a good first date in a public place. There are other places to meet women: Church and church functions, the gym, singles events, and I was told that grocery stores on Saturday nights. (Supposedly lonely singles with nothing to do, go grocery shopping to avoid the loneliness!) I have not tried this, because you would find me home curled up with a good book or watching a movie on Saturday night! I might add that I think women handle loneliness better than men. Perhaps it is because women are used to their men golfing, etc. Just saying. Wink.
Dear Gabby Gayle: I decided to write because vacation time is coming soon and, perhaps, I can keep a few people from making the wrong decision like we did. My husband and I and another couple, who were good friends of ours, decided to take a car trip to see the fall leaves. This was to be a six-day trip in our van. The guys would work in a little golf along the way. It began fine, but after about two days the bickering began. There were two easy-going spouses and two “It’s my way or the highway” types. By the third night we chose not to eat together, and by the fourth day, we decided we had seen all the leaves we needed to see and headed home. It was too much togetherness and almost ruined our friendship. I’m happy to say we can laugh about it now, but it was not a pleasant vacation!
Dear BW: I have been there and tried that and mine did not work any better than yours. Ours was a two-week trip with a ten day stay with relatives. Never again! And we had separate cars. It sounds like it should be fun, but all our differences showed up. Thanks for writing.