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Ten years ago, when my family was going to move to Kentucky, we decided that once we got here, we’d try to invite people over for dinner once a week.
It was my husband’s idea, and at first, I felt a little intimidated. It wasn’t that I didn’t like having people over. We loved entertaining in our Missouri home. But we had always invited people we knew pretty well, people that loved us and could look past our messy home. Inviting strangers over felt vulnerable and a little weird.
The alternative, though, was waiting around for others to welcome us. That we couldn’t control. What we could control was our own pursuit of friendships. We didn’t want to leave it to chance because building friendships and community for our family was important to us, especially when we were starting over.
So we committed to inviting people over. We told ourselves that even if our rental house was still filled with moving boxes, we’d invite people over. And even if our basement looked like a tornado had moved through with all of the kids’ toys strewn about, we’d invite people over. No matter what chaos was going on, we were going to invite people over.
We started with the two families we knew, and once we’d had dinner with them, we moved on to our neighbors. Once we had invited a couple of them over, we started inviting over each couple in the small group we had joined at our church. I’d make a simple dinner, maybe just a step up from what we’d normally eat, and we’d enjoy visiting for an evening and getting to know our new friends.
Before we knew it — just a few months after moving to our new city — we felt at home, thanks to the kindness of the people we had met and the meals we’d shared in our home.
Why You Should “Invite Them Over”
I truly believe that friendships and community can be built around our tables. Food is what gives us a reason to gather, but it’s the conversations, stories, and laughter that we share over meals that build relationships.
Maybe you’ve just moved to a new city. Or you’re going through some kind of transition — a new baby, a change in social circles, your kids starting a new school. And you’re ready to start getting to know people.
Inviting people over for dinner is a great way to start. I know it sounds weird. Other people should be inviting you over, right?
But we both know it doesn’t always work that way. Pinterest and Martha Stewart have given everyone performance anxiety — so much so that we, as a culture, have lost the art of entertaining as a way of connecting with the people around us.
People feel pressure to create an event with beautiful food displays and elaborate centerpieces instead of just keeping things simple and sharing a meal together around their tables. They either go BIG! Or they do nothing at all.
But just like we did when we moved to our new city, you can change that way of thinking. You don’t have to make inviting people over big and complicated. Just start with a simple meal.
Invite your new neighbor or that mom that you keep running into around town to come over for lunch. Or that family of your son’s best friend that you’ve been wanting to get to know.
Be proactive instead of sitting back and wishing that you had more friends. Get out there and make them by inviting people over for dinner.
Introducing the Invite Them Over Challenge
But, wait! you’re thinking. I can’t invite people over: My house is too messy, I don’t know what I’d cook, and our space is too small.
You feel overwhelmed by all the details before you even get started. Let me help.
On January 7-11 , 2019, I’m hosting a FREE “Invite Them Over” Challenge where I will make you into a confident host or hostess in just 5 days.
We’ll talk about…
- saying goodbye to excuses (like the ones you just thought up) 🙂
- inviting with intentionality
- planning a menu
- prepping ahead
- welcoming your guests
Each day you’ll receive a mini-lesson along with an action tip that you’ll share in our pop-up Facebook group. I’ll also jump on Facebook Live each day to answer any questions you have about that day’s lesson. We’re going to have a lot of fun.
Sound like something you’re interested in? Join the Invite Them Over Challenge today!
Life is too short to sit back and wait for friends to come to you.