Hospitality, the simple act of inviting someone into your home to partake in life. Your simple, beautiful, messy, and broken life, and the grace-filled journey that we are all on.
A cup of tea with scones, a mug of coffee, and a slice of shortbread. It doesn’t need to be complicated. All it may be is bearing your soul to a kindred spirit sitting on the other side of the couch.
The introvert in me thrives on simple. I genuinely enjoy people and I, despite what introverts seem to be known for, enjoy having people in my home.
My years in Mexico taught me to savor people and their company. A dorm mama of many needed company to mix up the day, even if was just a friend and her niece. Really when you have 16 girls, adding one or two more to the mix doesn’t really feel like that much more.
Sometimes people dropped in the midst of kimchi making or cloth pad making. I learned to embrace it and go with it, even when the puzzled questions as to what I was making came about…
Birthdays, random tea parties, outdoor picnics, I love them all! I am a casual gal, so I thrive on simple and comfortable occasions.
These 6 essential tips for the introverted hostess are the perfect way to get your feet wet when inviting people into your home!
1. Start Small
No one ever said that you needed to have all of your extended family or the entire Sunday School class over for a meal. While that may be a wonderful goal at some point, it does not need to be the first feat you tackle when you are easing your way into inviting people into your home.
Start with a girlfriend, or just a couple. Once you are comfortable with that, then you can dive into the world of having larger groups.
2. Start with the Familiar
As an introvert, we by nature have an easier time conversing with those that know us well. There is nothing wrong with that, it’s who we are.
It is okay to start with the familiar when you are learning to extend hospitality. Invite people who know you well first, then over time you can make the bold move to invite those who are in need of hospitality or those you don’t know well.
Good friends are usually happy to be genie pigs. They already accept you for how you are, and as time goes on you will continue to develop the art of being comfortable with having others in your home.
3. Keep it Simple
Who ever said that welcoming people into your home needed to be a fancy affair?
Throw off the advice of 1950s TV show and handbooks (though I dearly gleaning from them at times) and keep things simple. You don’t have to have a full-blown dinner party where people are dressed to the nines.
It can be as simple as having a friend over for a coffee date, or tea and scones, which is my personal favourite. Some of the deepest conversations have been had over a cup of tea with a friend in my living room.
Create a semi-calm environment.
This really depends on who you are having over. If a friend came over in the late evening, after the kids were in bed, my soothing playlist and a pot of tea were the essentials for a quiet chat with a friend.
4. Have a Set Menu
If you are having someone over for a meal, cook what you love.
One of my go-to meals is a Mexican meal of beans, rice, meat, and corn tortillas (bought), with fresh salsa.
Beans can simmer in the crock pot all day, white rice, let’s just be honest here showcases flavors better takes less than 30 minutes to cook. I often use my salsa base in my rice. Ground meat is fast cooking and perfect to toss with any verity of vegetables hanging out in the fridge.
You can even make some of it with your guests there.While it sounds complicated, it’s not.
My mom is known for delighting people with soup, homemade bread, and a salad.
The simple things that we love to cook are always best.
If you aren’t up for hosting a dinner, game nights are always a win in my book.
Games can be fast passed or a bit slower. Fast passed games keep you on your toes and don’t require much talking. Slower ones give you time to bond over a relaxing game.
Popcorn, iced tea, and another drink like kombucha, are all you need to keep people happy.
For my not so little clan birthdays consisted of joining us for pizza, ice cream, lots of laughter, and maybe a movie.
Tea? Sure fancy dresses are fun but that’s not how I roll so tea might just be, getting out some blankets, a couple types of scones, and a pot of tea with lots of sunshine.
Can you tell I am a fan of tea and scones? I even wrote a book about making your own simple, nourishing teas and tea time treats!
5. Forget the Perfect House
Invite people into your crazy.
In my years as a dorm mom, I had up to 16 girls running around. There was rarely a quiet moment. Granted, most of the people I had over were staff that were like family but I loved it!
With 18 people sharing the same, very small living space is was never 100% clean or fancy, unless you count the ten minutes on a Saturday when we were just finished cleaning. Ten minutes might even be pushing it.
Give up on perfect, that’s okay. It lets people get a glimpse into the everyday life.
Do I believe in trying to maintain an organized space? Yes but I’ve given up on perfect. As long as our living area where people were joining us was neat(ish) I was fine.
6. Make a Recovery Plan
Be sure to allow yourself (and family) time to recover.
Have planned out what you will do after everyone goes home. Maybe it’s a cup of tea and a good book. Is it a movie with the kids? A relaxing bath with a piece of dark chocolate?
Do whatever it takes for you and your family to wind down, and rejuvenate. Remember, the goal is to want to continue to extend hospitality to others. It is not to feel burned out and want to mentally run away and the mere thought of having people over again.