There’s a running joke among introvert’s that we want to be invited to every social event, but secretly rejoice when it’s cancelled. As an introvert myself – I (shamefully?) admit this is true. The biggest difference between us and our extroverted counterparts is that we feel drained by social interaction, not energized. But I also know that we still have a desire to develop strong friendships through giving of ourselves, our time and our home. So what’s an introvert who has a desire to create strong relationships to do? Well, to start read these Introvert Hospitality Tips, which I wrote not just for my fellow introverts but mainly for myself because I know I have SO much room to improve.
Disclaimer: I already wrote about it’s better to be an introvert or extrovert, and even what introverts & extroverts can learn from each other in church (or just in life in general). You won’t find any comparisons here, but rather, how introverts can overcome their weariness of hosting and become a happy host.
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Introvert Hospitality Tips: The Basics
Our Home Doesn’t Have To Be Perfect.
Our home does not need to be Pinterest-Perfect before people pop-over. This one is tough for me, though. I want everything to be clean, warm and inviting before anyone visits. I’m embarrassed by things such as a sink full of dirty dishes.
To be fair, I’m a neat freak and my husband will joke that I vacuum every single day. (PLEASE. It’s every other day.) So If I like my home that clean for my husband and I – I definitely want it just as clean for guests.
The problem is, on a rare day it’s not picked up that may prevent me from inviting people over. But that’s just being selfish.
Here’s an article on “Scruffy hospitality” that might encourage us both to care less about the state of our kitchen and more about the state of our heart. If I’m honest, it’s a struggle for me but one I hope to not care about as much one day.
We Need To Assess Our Guests’ Needs
I definitely have room to grow in this area. Make sure your guests are not standing around awkwardly and always have a comfortable place to sit. Offer them a drink or snack. Do they need to know where the bathroom is? Are they allergic to your cat? Ask and you’ll shall receive.
These are the kind of thoughtful gestures that don’t cost a dime but make your guests feel welcome.
Make the Get Together About Them and Not You
Sorry extroverts (if you’re even reading) but this is an area you may need to work on. Sometimes extroverts can’t help themselves and just get so excited about something that they end up verbally vomiting on their guest or friend. Stop. Pause. Ask how the other person is. If you’re going to share your hilarious and exciting stories, make sure to balance them out with what’s going on in the other person’s life, too.
Introverts may have the opposite problem. While they may not dominate the conversation, they may not know how to ask the right questions to get a good conversation going either. Or hate small talk so much they may avoid talking altogether.
If there’s a topic you like, just start in, “So what do you think about….?”
Introvert Hospitality Tips: 8 Tips to (Happily) Host
1. Schedule You social events.
While seeing social events on our calendar may cause some anxiety, it is also helpful to know when they are coming up so we can space them out accordingly. This is particularly helpful when you’re the one doing the hosting. You can look at gaps in your schedule to plan some “people time.”
2. Schedule Recovery Time.
This is an extremely important step, even if my extroverted husband won’t ever understand. Introvert’s need to schedule recovery time. I often do this automatically. If I know I have an event on Friday night and am meeting a friend on Saturday afternoon, then I might not be inclined to suggest we get dinner with friends on Sunday night.
If you are planning an event in your home, make sure you schedule recovery time in the next day (or two) Not only will it give you a chance to clean up, but also recharge your battery again. Za-zing!
3. Make a list of people you need to hang out with.
For introvert’s, this can be tough! Sometimes we feel like everyone is hanging out all the time and we can’t forge the same type of friendships. By keeping a list we can make sure no friendship slips through the cracks.
4. Serve, but Make Sure to Spend Time With Your Guests
Have you ever read the Bible story about Mary and Martha? I wrote all about it in this post, but in short, Martha is an introvert who is spending her energy cooking and cleaning for her guests (including Jesus) while Mary is actually spending time WITH her guests (again, including Jesus!)
The take away from the story is that service is good, but worship (of God) is better. In our case, service is good, but creating relationships with people is better than making sure your chocolate chip cookies are perfect.
5. Plan an activity.
There are few things that introverts hate more than small talk. We’re awkward when we attempt it and can’t wait for it to end. Therefore, activities are a lifesaver for fellow introverts in social situations.
Although more on the quiet side, I’m always the first person to suggest an activity in quiet awkward times (Even if I get shot down) It just helps break up the silence, helps people bond over a common objective, and takes the focus off of us.
I hate going to parties where there is nothing planned and we just stand around and talk. IT’S THE WORST. So if I’m ever in charge of events, or even if I’m not, I try to get an activity going. It can be a craft, a DIY, or a game. Anything to get the focus off us and onto something else. Plus, having something to do with our hands is helpful, too.
6. Expand Your Comfort Zone
There comes a point where introverts are ready to leave every party (and much earlier than everyone else). There also comes a point where they are probably ready to have everyone get out of their house. However, aside from planning an exit strategy (I recommend this “PLEASE LEAVE BY 9” party banner) we also need to expand our comfort zone. Yes, social events will ALWAYS go longer than we want. This is just part of life for an introvert. But that doesn’t give us an excuse to leave 5 minutes after we get somewhere or kick people out of our home.
I think in those times where we feel overwhelmed and need a “people break” – sounds terrible doesn’t it? – it is good to remind ourselves that we care about these people and let ourselves go with the flow. Plus, we can also schedule more recovery time the next day.
7. Make something special so you’ll WANT to have people over
Give yourself a reason to have people over. Make a dish you want to show off. Try my popular chili recipe. Clean up the place so it looks so cute you want to show your friends what you did. Anything to give yourself the incentive to get excited about having people over. (Am I making introvert’s sound pathetic now?)
It’s the truth though. If you have to pep yourself up to have people over – do it. Whatever it takes to become a better hostess. Over time you’ll be excited for the relationship itself, and not your mom’s prize-winning mac-and-cheese.
8. Get outside your home.