Pubs can be a great way of find­ing new friends and es­cap­ing lone­li­ness

Southport Visiter - - Camra Column -

CAMRA has re­sponded to a survey by the Cam­paign To End Lone­li­ness which re­vealed that peo­ple ex­pe­ri­enc­ing lone­li­ness miss sim­ple things in life, such as a drink in the pub, a coun­try walk or a shared meal, writes Neville Grundy.

Camra it­self com­mis­sioned a study by Ox­ford Univer­sity called Friends On Tap, which ex­plained how com­mu­nity pubs can help fill gaps caused by lone­li­ness.

Christmas and New Year can ac­tu­ally deepen feel­ings of iso­la­tion be­cause, if you’re alone, it can look as though the whole world is hav­ing a party to which you’re not invited.

But the prob­lem is not sea­sonal; for many, this is a year­long strug­gle.

Pubs can be one an­swer be­cause you can en­ter and buy a drink with­out hav­ing to join any­thing, and it is ac­cept- able to speak to strangers.

How­ever, it’s not nec­es­sar­ily as easy as some peo­ple sug­gest.

When you are a reg­u­lar pub goer, as Camra mem­bers are, walk­ing into a pub is sim­ple, so it’s easy for us to for­get that oth­ers may find the prospect daunt­ing, partly be­cause of the fear that you may end up sit­ting on your own in an un­fa­mil­iar en­vi­ron­ment.

Fur­ther­more, it’s still true that some women pre­fer not to en­ter a pub on their own.

First you have to find a suit­able pub; not ev­ery pub is a com­mu­nity lo­cal.

Try to find out about suit­able pubs be­fore ven­tur­ing out, for ex­am­ple, from other peo­ple, from the lo­cal pa­pers and on­line.

Per­haps go when there is en­ter­tain­ment, be­cause then it doesn’t mat­ter if you’re watch­ing – say – mu­sic alone as peo­ple will as­sume that’s why you’re there.

Quizzes, mu­sic nights and some­times com­edy are prob­a­bly the most com­mon types of en­ter­tain­ment.

Pub games, such as darts or pool, where you can join the queue to play, may be an­other way of break­ing the ice.

It is not even nec­es­sary to drink alcohol; soft drinks, tea and cof­fee are usu­ally avail­able nowa­days.

Sim­ply get­ting out of the house can be beneficial, and it may take more than one visit be­fore your face gets known.

Pubs can­not solve all the prob­lems of lone­li­ness, and some peo­ple may gen­uinely not like them any­way, but Camra is cor­rect that pubs can help re­duce iso­la­tion for many peo­ple.

The South­port and West Lancs Camra web­site is at: www. south­port. camra. org. uk.

For pre­vi­ous Camra ar­ti­cles: tinyurl.com/vis-pubs.

Mu­sic can be a great way of es­cap­ing iso­la­tion. Many pubs have reg­u­lar events like this acous­tic song ses­sion in the Ma­son’s in South­port

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