For many of us, it can seem like an impossible task to make amends with loved ones over dinner. In our 20s, this is sometimes even more difficult.
“I found the process really difficult. I’d be really angry and go out and still be angry, and, it would be nice to just sit down and talk, but I felt like I couldn’t because I felt like it was a dark place,” said Delia Meza-Yondos, co-founder of the online support group Generation Apologize.
Gen-Z-ers – millennials of which Meza-Yondos is part of – have a reputation for being hard on one another, stressed, overworked and disconnected from one another.
“We’re an easy target when we’re young and we’re pretty emotional. We’re not supposed to happen in your 20s,” Meza-Yondos added.
“What we felt was that we had to carve out one conversation out and speak to someone or find someone. And then that day I felt like I actually learned something.”
Meza-Yondos explained, “I needed to ask questions and that was hard. You don’t know what I’m going to say, and you don’t know what they’re going to say.”
“I think it’s important to come to dinner because we eat alone – or rather every night,” Meza-Yondos added. “But we don’t get to participate.”
Meza-Yondos said she and her co-founder, Sheryl Liang, started the online support group after she started to feel isolated.
Meza-Yondos said she knew people with the same background and lived in similar cities, but “none of us were sharing with each other what we’re going through.”
“I remember at the beginning I found it very hard to talk about my family’s history. I didn’t know how to handle it, and I didn’t know how to come up with the right way to talk about it. And I thought, ‘Well, why do I feel like that?’ And, it took us a lot of times before we even got through having a meal together to put things to bed.”
Youth nutrition researcher and eating disorder specialist, Dr. Anna Dale, explained the challenges young adults experience on a daily basis.
“The 20-year-old or late-20s-aged individuals have a lot of tension, exhaustion, loneliness,” Dale said. “I think they’re just on the edge. We find ourselves at a time when we’re anxious and fearful of something.”
“In that time period, we’re used to talking through Facebook or talking to friends face-to-face and it’s difficult to know what to say and what not to say,” Dale added.
Meza-Yondos said she hopes the online support group will allow others to find the same outlet that they have in their own family meals.
“I was scared to go to dinner and I felt like, how can I know that people will really feel the same way?” Meza-Yondos added. “But I think it’s important for us to go to dinner, not just because we want to, but because we really need to. We need to talk to one another.”