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.
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Great tips! As an introvert myself, I’ll definitely use these! Thanks!
We gotta unite in helping each other! haha
As a fellow introvert I love this. I definitely need to expand my comfort zone. Thing is, I go through random spurts of wanting to hang out with EVERYONE and then wanting to curl up in bed when everyone wants to hang out or is expecting me at an event. This definitely helps make it a whole lot easier. x
Talisa, oh I know that feeling. I think balance helps us keep friends and sane! haha
Tabi J says
I really like the tips of hospitality, especially since both me and my husband are introverts.
Both of you? wow!
This is right up my ally! I classify myself as an outgoing introvert. I love what you said about scheduling recovery time! No one gets this but it’s the only way I can function. It’s been hard not to feel “selfish” taking recovery time, but it’s so important if I don’t want to feel drained. Thanks for sharing! Also, I really like your stuff and I feel like we’d be friends 🙂
My husband totally doesn’t understand my recovery time either – but I know it’s necessary to keep sane! And I think we’d be friends too. Going to check out your blog! 🙂
This is so great- I relate with alllll of these as an introvert! These are such great ideas, thank you for sharing!
These are pure gold. I’m right on the line between introvert and extrovert but when it comes to having people over, I’m all out introvert. The other night my husband had friends over for dinner and they stayed till 10:30pm and I wanted to die!! I’m definitely trying all of these 🙂
Oh my gosh I’d go crazy if people stayed until 10:30pm too!! hahaha
Tanvi Rastogi says
These are some great tips. Small talk is usually what I find hard, or rather it is very tiring for me. I can do it, but I don’t enjoy it.
It’s the worst 🙂
Oh my gosh, you totally get me!! I seriously just said last week that I need to make a schedule of friends that I need to hang out with. Most of my people know that I will not hang out unless forced but I know occasionally I need to be the one that plans and hosts something!
hahaha I do get you!! Sometimes it feels good to be the one to initiate a get together too!
jessica devlin says
I’m an extrovert, husband is an introvert. Definitely on so many of these tips! i really need to work on not sharing all my exciting stories. My husband really needs downtime after like you mentioned. great post!
hahaha I’m sure your stories are still great though!
Amanda Speights says
Oh Girl! The anxiety I feel just reading this, lol! I love the tip to plan an activity! I will be using that for sure! I think the hardest part about being an introvert is people thinking that I am shy or snobby. My husband says people think I’m stuck up. Lol, he always adds, “I know you’re far from it!” It makes me feel bad, but I don’t know how not to be me! Oy Vey!
Yah i’ve definitely gotten the “I thought you were stuck up until I get to know you” convo 🙂
These are great tips! As much as I love to do the pretty side of hosting, I find it to be very overwhelming and it definitely makes me anxious. I think the more I have done it, the more I have been comfortable.
Love this post! Such wonderful advice!
I love these tips so much! As an introvert who also loves to have people over (but gets overwhelmed and exhausted when it’s time to), it’s great to get more tips on how to do it!
I’m right there with ya!
Anne | onedeterminedlife says
Great tips! I am an introvert/extrovert mix. I love being out with people but if I don’t have my alone time then I am not a happy camper. It’s such a good idea to make a schedule that you can enjoy others but also have me time.
This is a great post and encouraging no matter what your personality type! Thanks!
I am so an introvert! I recharge by being by myself. I’m always fascinated by friends who are the opposite- who gain energy by being out in groups and socializing. I’m the worse at happy hours at work. They are important to get to know your coworkers, but at the same time they feel like more “work” to me!
Oh I avoid work happy hours like the plague.
Summer @ Coffee With Summer says
Scheduling recovery time is so important for my husband and I! Especially for me – hosting is something I love, but it’s exhausting!
Yes yes! We can do it well with a little downtime afterwards 🙂
I love this post so much! I’m sure many people would find some of these tips, like making a list of friends to see, crazy, but I’m right there with you. For me, planning recovery time is so important, too.
Brittany Putman says
Great tips! I’m an introvert, but I enjoy being the host every now and then.
I’m an introvert, but I am fine when I host an event because I know everyone I invite and I feel comfortable being around them:)
Makes sense! Maybe these tips will be helpful if you ever have to invite someone over that you don’t really know.
Amanda Frazier | The Light Owl says
This had me chuckling to myself because I SO relate! A friend of mine was just asking to get together after July 4, and here I am thinking “I might need a few weeks of mental prep!” Definitely having an activity planned helps me be social and hospitable.
hahaha oh gosh so funny. I feel ya!
Amy | Confessions of a Daydreamer says
I love this, it makes me feel not so alone. My fiance is the polar opposite of me. While he doesn’t really understand where I’m coming from when I say “I just can’t” he never pushes me when he knows I’ve had enough. Love these tips! It’s so important to be okay and love yourself!
You have a very understanding fiance 🙂
Love these! I’m an introvert who is passionate about hospitality as well.
Rachel R Ritlop says
Ahh love this post Sarah! So helpful! I am an introvert and just want to curl up in a ball when guests come over sometimes lol
Erica @ Coming Up Roses says
Assessing needs like that is so smart, especially since people may be too polite to ask! (Or too uncomfortable/awkward to ask for the bathroom – ha!)
Coming Up Roses
Julia Dent says
I’m extremely introverted and these are so helpful! I definitely need to make a list of people to hang out with before going to parties.
Amen! This is so me. Funny story: One time I had a group of my university students over at my house. I was so tired, but they were still ready party, so I just said: I love you all but I’m just. so. tired. You can still party, just make sure the last one out locks the door. Night! And proceeded to go to bed.
I have always known that I am an introvert, but the part about scheduling recovery time nailed it for me! I just have never put it into words! I also love the “I can’t talk to you today…” and “Before you call me…”! I really hate talking on the phone and I love my alone time!
haha we all understand each other!
Terryn Winfield says
I badly need to work on this. I am absolutely and introvert and I struggle to have people over or to say yes to invitations. It does seem silly to make a list of people I need to hang out with, but that is a good idea.
Terryn – yes, it works!
Jill Conyers says
Wonderful tips for entertaining. Very helpful for making everyone feel comfortable in your home.
Such great tips! It’s a balancing act, for sure!
Manavi Siddhanti says
Couldn’t agree more to this post. I being an introvert myself should definitely use these tips. 🙂 Thanks for sharing.
Erin | A Welder's Wife says
Great guide, Sarah! I am so horribly introverted, but I try to fake being extroverted when I am attending social gatherings. Recovery time is definitely important, too! I try to make my Saturdays people-free. Also, I love your image about not being able to talk to someone due to talking to two people yesterday! haha! Definitely going to use that line in the future!
We get each other, Erin!! And haha i can’t take credit for those quotes but they totally made me laugh out loud too.
Audrey Huck says
Your post made me chuckle while also giving some great pointers. Great read!
This post couldn’t come at a more perfect time! I’m currently planning a BBQ for my husband’s family in 3 weeks. So I loved your tips!
Awesome! I hope your BBQ is a huge success 🙂
Harmony, Momma To Go says
I think these are great tips for anyone, esp that your house doesnt have to be perfect. I have kids, my friends have kids, they get it! I always try to make sure the bathroom is clean… i like the idea of recovery too!
Yah if anything I try to clean the bathroom real quick and kitchen counters.
I’m an introvert so I enjoyed these helpful tips! These will certainly help me in the future 🙂
Kristen Jones says
I love all of these tips and I’m an extrovert! I am a neat freak and the thought of even having my apartment maintenance guys in a “messy” apartment stresses me out haha! I’m totally with you on the vacuuming like every day. I love your tip on planning an activity–usually once everyone is done catching up and eating, we’re like okay–what now. Totally using these tips when we host in a few weeks!
Oh my gosh I want my place to be clean for the maintenance men too!
I loved this list! I am an introvert myself and these tips were very helpful to me. Thank you for sharing!
These were very helpful tips to read! Although I’m more of an extrovert myself, it gives me insight into what my introverted friends are thinking and how to support them! Thanks for sharing!
Erin – that is very sweet! And a great idea to better understand each other 🙂
Love the tip about making a list. Def. going to incorporate this!
Taylor Ann says
These tips are great! Really love the recovery time tip!
YES! I have been entertaining but ohmahgah is it draining! I love scheduling some down time after being the social butterfly.
Cork and Fork Aficionado says
I love everything about this! I definitely need down time after an event too. I am also with you on needing a clean house before people come over!
Same…maybe that’ll change after I have kids? ha
Val Riley says
Love the part about scheduling recovery time – it’s key!
Lux G. says
OMG, girl! You don’t know how helpful this is. Life-saver!
Robin Woody says
Just thought I might let you know that you know that Martha was the sister working in the kitchen and it was Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus. Easy to get them mixed up! Love your article though!
Whoops – thank you!
I love this article! I can absolutely relate. On a side note, I think in this article Mary and Martha got switched. You said here that Martha was with her guests and Mary was prepping but it’s the other way around. Mary was with the guests and Martha was stressing about hosting.
Oops – thank you so much! I will fix that. 🙂