Hospitality that feels like summer

My husband is a professional baseball coach which means our family moves 2-3 times a year. While we enjoy the excitement of exploring new cities, it can be hard to constantly be the new people in town.

Making friends is difficult when people are busy and you aren’t part of their everyday hustle and bustle. Too many times, good intentions get lost in the shuffle of “Let’s get together sometime!” and “We need to have you over for dinner!”

I get it. Life is busy, and you want to make a good impression the first time someone new comes over. I’m guilty of this too, waiting for a clean house and the right date on the calendar to let anyone past my front doorstep.

Hospitality that feels like summerBut in all my travels, I have learned the secret to simple hospitality: People aren’t looking for a perfectly hosted dinner party, they are simply craving a place at the table. A few moments to feel seen and heard and loved.

We don’t need a fancy plan, we simply want to be invited into your life.

One of my fondest memories with new friends began with a last-minute invitation to simply “come over and hang out.” We ended up sitting on the carpet drinking tea and nibbling half-eaten chocolate bars, talking for hours while the kids played and watched movies. There were dirty dishes in the sink and crumbs on the kitchen floor. It was real life and it was wonderful.

I know some of you reading this are hostesses with the mostest. You love putting together the perfect menu with the perfect guest list and the perfect table setting. That is your gift, and I am so glad (and a little envious).

There is nothing like a good dinner party with every detail lovingly planned out. When you put together that kind of effort and invite me, I feel special and loved.

But most of the time what I long for even more is to simply be invited in, no matter what your house looks like.

Recently a single friend expressed frustration over the difficult task of fitting into the lives of busy families. When I asked her what she wanted the most, she simply said, “I would love to sit on the floor of your living room while you fold laundry and your kids run around and play.”

That’s it. What she wanted most was an invitation into real life.

Hospitality that feels like summerSummer feels like the perfect time to practice this kind of simple hospitality. Schedules are clearer, plans are looser, people are generally more relaxed in the summer. So instead of saying, “Let’s get together sometime!” try saying, “Come over and hang out!”

Practice inviting people past the front doorstep, into your home, and make plans as you go. Maybe you could prepare a meal together or drink iced tea and watch the kids play. Nothing fancy, just life lived together.

This summer let’s give up the idea of perfection and start practicing simple, real life hospitality instead.

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18 Comments

  1. Silke

    These are my thoughts exactly. Great post.

  2. Anonymous

    We live quite a distance from family and we bought a small fixer-upper as our first house because it was what we could afford in an expensive area. We have had family members tell us they don’t want to visit because it is too “uncomfortable.” Yes, it is better to spend time together than to worry about appearances. Unfortunately, all too often we have had experiences that scream loudly in our heads. We also need to be gracious guests.

    • Alysa Bajenaru

      Oof, good point! Graciousness goes both ways.

  3. India

    I love this post! I so agree to the imperfection. I crave just doing life with people. I love that your single friend shared that with you!

    • Alysa Bajenaru

      I’m so glad she shared it with me too. Such a simple but profound statement that challenged me to let go of imperfections.

  4. Emily

    I love this.
    I have been trying to just relax and have people over, and not worry if the menu is hot dogs instead of roast beef, or the house isn’t perfect…. but it’s hard. It’s hard to be the first one to stick my neck out and do it. Easy to reciprocate, if someone else goes first.
    Time to start “going first” and being the one to just have people in. It’s so nice when it happens!

    • Alysa Bajenaru

      Yes Emily, go first! That’s the hardest but best thing, and I know others will follow your lead.

  5. Leigh Kramer

    Love how you acknowledged the needs of us single folks. You’re the best! And that is spot on.

  6. sarah c

    I love this! I am a huge fan of asking people over for dinner, desert, or just to hang out. My parents did this constantly when I was growing up, so it has always been normal to me. I tend to struggle in a culture of busyness, where often people require a months notice in order to make time to hang out.

  7. Lori

    Let’s! Love this.

  8. Cath

    I am into the ‘going first’ thing.? We live simply in a mobile home, so thankfully nobody expects anything fancy over here! They just get to fill their stomachs, laugh, and often join our short family prayer time after supper. We definitely have families and singles over to our place way more often than we get invited out. I think that is partly because people are shy, and I guess even when they see that our house is imperfect and cluttered, it still may not give them enough of a relaxed feeling to want to reciprocate…but who cares, my kids just love having people over and I want to train my kids to serve and be generous, so here we go! If anybody reading this lives in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, well, we are having a block party on Father’s Day, so come over.?

  9. mary

    i love this! i think am giving up the idea of perfection and start practicing simple, real life hospitality instead.thank you dear.

  10. Jenn

    I read an article/post about a family that serves spaghetti and meatballs once a week and invites people over. People can bring bread or salad or dessert, but they just serve spaghetti. I loved the idea so much that we have held several “Do you want to come over for spaghetti dinner?” nights. Just something simple and an offer to connect.

  11. Jen

    We are in the process of selling our house, so this gets forgotten, but my DH and I’s MO is hospitality (because it’s my MO, but that’s a different story.). Friends come down the street to Bunco, or to stay when they have a local hospital visit, or family comes for a funeral, or whatever. We bought THIS HOUSE (we are moving soon, looking to be closer to family and live simpler lives) with the intent of hosting people who were passing through. I think we have succeeded on such a large scale that I am THANKFUL that God has allowed us to do so. They don’t care what our house looks like. My MIL actually cleans (“piddles”) and I’m not insulted. She knows we both work 40 hour weeks and really don’t have that much time to clean. It doesn’t hurt my feelings. It’s just the little (seemingly) part of being invited into real life that people want, whether it’s family or not.

  12. Joke

    Late to the comments here, but as someone pregnant with my first child, I’m worried about the opposite happening, being left out from the single people’s get togethers… What’s your experience with that?

  13. Mary

    I really love all your posts – they render the truth in such a simple and genuine way. This one is a spot on too as there’s nothing more meaningful and heartwarming than a sincere human interaction, the rest is only details. The fact that someone wants your presence in this very moment is the beauty of it all. Thank you!

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