By nature, I am an introvert. I tend to avoid people and I recharge by having time alone. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy people when I’m with them. As a matter of fact, most people would be surprised to know that I’m an introvert. Like many, I married someone who is my opposite. Rollin’s extroverted nature more than makes up for my introversion.
Because my husband is so social, I’ve learned to be more social. At first it was uncomfortable. But wonder of wonders, I’ve actually come to enjoy hosting people in my home. It’s something Rollin and I love doing together, and well, we’re GOOD at it! We’ve actually been told we have the “gift of hospitality.” Shut up!
So, for all you introverts out there, who sometimes have to host social events or house people overnight, there’s hope. Here are a few hospitality tips I’ve learned along the introverted way.
- No one cares if your house is spotless. If your bathroom is cleaner than most gas station restrooms, you’re good. No one is coming to inspect your housekeeping skills. They’re coming to enjoy your company. And honestly, who wants neat freaks for friends? It only makes them feel like they have to clean to the nth degree when they have you over.
- Greet your guests warmly. I usually meet them at the door and give them a hug if I know them, or if not, then a two-handed handshake or one with a friendly pat on the back tells them you’re genuinely glad they’re in your home. The same applies to when you bid them farewell.
- Keep it simple. For the introvert, being with people expends energy, leaving you tired. Use paper plates, cups, etc. so you don’t have to spend hours cleaning up when you’re exhausted after having people over.
- Have groups of people over rather than just one other couple. Conversations can get awkward or drag with a small group. But with a larger group, you don’t feel the pressure of having to carry the conversation. People can talk with each other instead of just with you.
- Serve food buffet style. It’s nice and casual and puts people at ease. Better yet, make it a potluck where everyone brings something to share. It takes some of the pressure off you in a situation where you may already feel stressed. And don’t feel like it has to be a full meal. Snack foods often work just fine.
- If you’re having overnight guests, do something to make them feel loved. A mint (or in some of my friends’ cases, a box of Red Vines) on their pillow is a fun touch. Or fresh flowers on their night stand. Or how about a note saying how glad you are they’ve come to visit? Whatever they like, try to make it happen for them. See this lovely picture of a bedroom? My house never looks this good, company or not. Yours doesn’t need to either.
- Make them feel at home. By that I mean, let them fix their own breakfast. I usually tell them that at our house it’s pretty much every man for himself. If they get hungry, they’re welcome to scrounge around in the pantry or fridge. Nothing makes me happier than when people come into my home and pull out a glass from the cabinet or dishwasher and pour themselves a glass of iced tea. It means I’ve done a good job of making them feel comfortable in the past. Let them know what’s available for breakfast in case they get up before you. I like to keep bagels, dry cereal, bread for toast, juice, and coffee on hand. Or buy a box of donuts the night before to have ready for breakfast.
- Make their bathroom user friendly. Put a hair dryer and curling iron under the sink for their use. Have extra toothbrushes and toothpaste on hand in case your guest forgot theirs.
- Don’t live on each other’s schedules. This is especially true if your visitors are from another time zone. If one of you wants to sleep later in the morning or stay up later at night, do it. Accept and respect each other’s need for sleep, or lack thereof. This also gives your introverted self some space and time to recharge if needed.
- Be honest. If you’re worn to a nub and everyone else wants to spend the afternoon at the zoo, say you’ll sit this one out and get in a nap or soak up some solitude while they’re gone. No guilt allowed.
- Give them an extra key to the house. That way they can come and go without you if they want. You don’t have to spend your every waking moment together, which wears thin on introverts.
- Ask for their help. If you need an extra table set up, potatoes peeled, or the patio swept, let them help you. Most people love feeling needed and this makes them feel part of the family.
The only way to take care of your guests well is to take care of yourself. That means making time to recharge and get plenty of rest, even while you have guests. If you do, your company will enjoy their visit even more, and will relax into the comfort of your home, too. Our house has jokingly become known as the Ritz Carlblom because we keep so many visitors overnight and host so many social events at our house. It’s one way we can share our blessings with others. Hopefully, they leave here feeling refreshed and loved.
I pray these suggestions will help you enjoy entertaining your friends no matter your personality type. Just relax and enjoy your company and they’ll relax and enjoy being in your home.