Happy introvert doesn't know how to party
Dear Amy: I am a happy introvert. Always have been. I like to go to the movies alone, out to eat alone, and other activities by myself. My wife is the same way, though we obviously enjoy going out together.
My question is about our 7-year-old son. We've never done play dates or thrown birthday parties that his classmates in day care or school were invited to because interacting with other parents is terrifying.
I feel bad that my not wanting to interact with other parents might be depriving my little guy of friendships.
So far, my son doesn't seem to mind our household's version of normal, but he is outgoing and I don't want to squash his extroverted nature.
Should I go far outside of my comfort zone and force play dates, or will my son eventually make "real" friends when he's ready?
Dear Joe: Many only children basically pair up with their parents in a singular way, and I assume your son enjoys this closeness with you two.
But yes, you should go outside of your comfort zone. That's what parents do. Because when parents bravely try new things, their children are inspired to bravely try new things. (That's how I ended up screaming my way down an amusement park roller coaster.)
Being your son's father will change you in many ways. You should do what you can to adjust to his extroverted nature. So -- try harder.
At the age of seven, play dates and birthdays do not involve other parents. I know that some parents throw festival-sized combination birthday/cocktail parties with tons of kids and parents, but a birthday party should be child-centered, and it need not be overwhelming.