Ask Amy: Extroverted mom worries for her introverted daughter

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Dear Amy: We have a 15-year-old daughter who is very introverted. She is happiest being home alone. She has a group of friends she has known for about nine years, and the eight of them often do things together. As they have grown up, the other girls have branched out into sports and other time-intensive hobbies, while my daughter prefers to spend time drawing and painting.

She will go in on group activities, but usually only if her one best friend is there with her. Otherwise, she prefers to stay home. My husband has a similar introverted and loner personality. I, on the other hand, like to see friends and family a few times a week.

I can’t help but feel anxious about her not having friends, because it reminds me of feeling left out in my teen and young adult years. She truly seems not to seek others out.

How can I relax and be sure that she isn’t me and that she is content with being more alone?

Concerned: Your daughter is NOT you. She is also not her father. She is herself.

Every teen faces challenges and challenging times, but your daughter being introverted does not indicate that she has a problem. Far from it! Your daughter does have friends, and, like many quiet people, she is most comfortable with one person vs. a noisy, larger group. And, like many creative people, she prefers to be alone to express her creative vision.

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I hope she has opportunities to expand creatively, and lots of encouragement from you and others regarding her artwork.

Author Susan Cain’s important work would illuminate your daughter’s and husband’s temperaments: Read “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.” A companion book for young people (written by Cain, Erica Moroz and Gregory Mone, and with illustrations by Grant Snider) might be a useful addition to your home library. Check out “Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverted Kids.”

Dear Amy: I have casual friends who offered their property to host my daughter’s wedding. They have an expansive, beautiful property. We hesitantly but politely declined, as it would be too risky to plan the wedding without a tent, and a tent could not fit into the space.

However, I then asked whether they would be willing to allow us to have the shower at their property, and again they generously offered us exclusive use — free. I am beyond blessed by this, and I am so excited to have my daughter’s bridal shower there.

My question is this: Should this couple be invited to the wedding as a way to thank them for their generosity? We have been trying very hard to cut down the guest list, which is already over our limit. They are just not close friends, and they don’t know our daughter and her fiancé.

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However, I feel as if I’m not returning the generosity. What should I do?

Polite: If you had accepted the couple’s offer to host the wedding at their property, it would have been polite for you to invite them to the wedding and reception, but there are many other ways to thank them for their generosity in providing their property for the bridal shower.

You should send them a note (including a nice photo of their property from the event), in addition to a gift — perhaps a fruit tree they could plant, or a gift certificate to their local lawn and garden center.

Dear Amy: Wow, was your advice off the mark to “New to the Neighborhood”!

The writer wanted to know what kind of gift to bring to each neighbor as they introduced themselves, and your advice creates suspicion and doubt where there is none. The best way to create a community is to be open and friendly, which is exactly what “New” was trying to do. We knocked on neighbors’ doors in our last move to introduce ourselves, and it has paid off with tremendous relationships!

You really did “New” a disservice in trying to squash good intentions. As for the baked goods, I agree that this should wait. A new neighbor’s effort is a gift in itself!

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— Blessed in My Neighborhood

Blessed: I appreciated the writer’s enthusiasm, and was not intending to “create suspicion and doubt.” I did suggest that, instead of knocking on doors, “New” should introduce themselves while outside, and join community and neighborhood groups.

© 2023 by Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.

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