Ask Amy: I’m a single woman who enjoys being out alone. How do I keep men from hitting on me?

Dear Amy: I am a single woman in my mid-50s. I never married or had children and like it this way.

I enjoy people, but am a classic introvert who recuperates her energy by being alone.

I enjoy going to museums and restaurants on my own. There is a restaurant/bar right down the street from me that I enjoy going to.

Recently, I went to this restaurant by myself and sat at the bar to have a drink and maybe eat something.

I wasn’t there for long when a man came up beside me, saddled up, and took up conversation with me. I really didn’t want to talk to him, and I didn’t want him sitting next to me.

I stayed polite and after an hour or so, I said goodnight, nice to meet you, and left. I did not want to eat with him next to me.

This week I again went to this restaurant by myself. This time I decided to sit at a table, hoping not to be approached by strangers.


Now, for the first time in my life, a man came up to my small, two-person table, pulled out the opposite seat, and sat down to join me without even asking or introducing himself.

The waiter arrived with my food just as this man had taken up an uninvited place at my table.

I asked the server to instead box up the food to go, as I didn’t want to eat with this stranger sitting at my table.

I took my food to go, left, and was super annoyed.

How would you suggest handling men who approach a woman who is not interested?

I feel as though men assume a woman is looking for company simply because she is on her own, and this is not the case.

— Perplexed

Dear Perplexed: If you want to drink or dine alone and not engage in lengthy conversation, you have the right to do that.

If you are at your favorite local place, there are extra seats at the bar, and someone (man or woman) sits right next to you and wants to engage in conversation, you can say, “I’m going to eat here, so let me give you some extra room … " and move your seat. Make eye contact with the bartender to let them know you’re moving.

Unless this restaurant is one of those communal places where people pull up a chair at long tables, no one should ever sit at your two-top without being invited. Ever.

If this happens again and you don’t feel comfortable confronting the person who encroached upon you, you should immediately engage your waiter and/or restaurant host and ask them to handle it. You could wait at the host’s station while they remove the interloper and then return to your table.

• • •

Dear Amy: I believe that my brother is addicted to pot.

I know that pot is legal and I don’t care if people use it (I do, recreationally), but he is high All. The. Time. He is incredibly unreliable and just an overall stoner.

I have young children and they (and I) love him. But I am reluctant to let him take the kids places unless I am with him.

I guess I need a gut check. I’m wondering what you think.

— Unsure Sister and Mom

Dear Unsure: Your most basic job as a parent is to try your hardest to ensure your children’s safety.


The way you describe your brother, he doesn’t sound able to be responsible for these young children, so I agree with you that you should not send them out into the world with someone who is so obviously impaired.

• • •

Dear Amy: Your reply to “Taxed” fell short of your usually good responses.

Even though Taxed’s tax return was prepared by her boyfriend’s dad, a CPA, at no cost to her she is still entitled to professional service.

Making estimated tax payments is not a suggestion. It is a requirement.

And any ethical CPA should pay any penalties and interest resulting from their error.

The client should be responsible for the additional tax only.

— John Domke, IRS employee (retired)

Dear John: Thank you very much for offering your expertise.

My concern was that “Taxed” had not done even the most basic due diligence regarding her taxes and seemed to have signed returns prepared by an incompetent CPA.

Amy Dickinson

Amy Dickinson writes the syndicated advice column, “Ask Amy,” which is carried in over 150 newspapers and read by an estimated 22 million readers daily. Email