I’ve been thinking a lot about introverts and extroverts this week. Half of our family began to rebel against family meals, sometime mid-week (those who didn’t enjoy having family meals this week shall remain anonymous). I’d say that three of the four of us are pretty introverted, so I began to wonder if the griping about family meals could be related to introversion. As I’ve mentioned before, during the week our days feel long – jobs, school and child care put us in touch with lots and lots of people. Even if you’re an introvert, you still have to get out there and be in the world – at least with the way our life is currently set up (I did send in the Publisher’s Clearinghouse packet – I’ll keep you posted).
So when most introverts get home from eight hours of interacting with other people, they kind of just want to be alone for a while. I wonder if most of the people talking up the importance of family meals are extroverts? I also wonder if screen time is a secret escape for some introverts – if I stare intently at this screen, I can be ‘alone’ for a few minutes, even when I’m surrounded by people. I used to beg my Dad to let me read at the table – my own version of screen time. I’m sure there are sociologists and psychologists out there with excellent theories about this type of thing – I’m looking forward to reading a book about introversion called Quiet by Susan Cain – it’ll be released later this month.
Anyway, we’re not going to stop eating together (not even when January is done), but the introvert’s perspective has made us re-think how meals can best work for our family. The two main things we’ve figured out this month:
1. We don’t have to eat right when we get home. The appetizer tactic is working pretty well – this gives all of us a little more time to settle in and recharge.
2. It works better for us to have special evening meals on the weekends or other days without work or school. On these days we usually still have some social energy left by 6 pm! We’re going to stick with simple meals on weekdays, and it’s okay if everyone doesn’t make it to the table at exactly the same time.
What’s the balance of extroversion and introversion in your family? How do you think it affects your family meals?