With social media, ‘busyness’ and national and international events dividing families in 2016, we’re seeing increasing demand for our ready-made family mealtime conversation menus. We think good conversation is about to join the ranks of good food and exercise in importance, when it comes to keeping people happy and healthy. And what better time to start than Christmas!
How would you rate your family’s mealtime conversation? If it’s always fun, effortless, interesting, memorable, animated etc, you don’t need to read on.
But if you find there are times when you’re bored of talking about the same old stuff; wondering if anyone’s paying attention to what you’re saying; struggling to get children, siblings or parents speaking; or wishing others would just stop venting… (you get the idea), we think we have an answer.
There’s plenty of research pointing to the decline of face-to-face conversation. That’s a problem, because the research shows there’s a direct link between face-to-face conversation and people’s overall health and happiness. Having just surveyed 250 people in person ourselves, we found 40% don’t talk a lot together at mealtimes, 35% don’t often talk about new things as a family, 35% don’t have regular meaningful conversations as a family and 22% don’t think their families know them that well at all.
So, why is family mealtime conversation, in particular, important? It’s the perfect antidote to social media, ‘busyness’, loneliness, divisiveness, you name it, because it’s an opportunity for different generations to share valuable time together. The issue, as we see it, is that many people are leaving family mealtime conversation to chance, and it doesn’t always turn out that well, because it can be difficult to do unless you’re a natural conversationalist.
What then can be done to improve family mealtime conversation? Well, of course, you can prepare in advance and download conversation starters from the internet. But really this can seem like more hard work, especially if people aren’t in the mood to ponder questions that sound too deep and meaningful.
Is there a way to make family mealtime conversation totally irresistible? Yes, we think the answer is to combine social games like ‘what if’ and ‘would you rather’ into a game of ‘who-knows-who best’ for families that can be played for 5 minutes or 5 hours.
Our range of conversation card games called ‘Sussed’ convert the traditional conversation-starter into an entertaining quiz where family members answer multiple choice questions about each other. There’s scoring for competitive players. The idea is to bring families closer together by finding out more about each other and getting everyone listening and talking in equal measure, not to mention interpreting body language and laughing at how mistaken they can be about the very people they thought they knew best. It also creates a safe environment to exercise your personality and to have the confidence say what you really think and feel about things.
We aim to put a pack of Sussed on every kitchen or dining room table in the UK to spark conversation whenever it’s needed.
As part of our bid to transform family mealtime conversation, we are sending free packs of Sussed to cafes, pubs and restaurants across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland: informal neighbourhood cafes and bars like the Lounges, home from home boutiques like Ziferblat, board game cafes like ‘Thirsty Meeples’ and ‘Draughts’, as well as independent freehouses like The Crown, Hastings and the Roseleaf, Edinburgh.
Next on our list are schools who want to start conversation clubs, and charities and care homes who are trying to combat loneliness.