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If offering generous hospitality is something that is important to you, but perhaps a struggle because, well, let’s be honest – you’d rather be alone (at least that’s the case for me 😉 ), then these hospitality tips for introverts may be just the thing to help you offer hospitality with ease and grace.
One of my intentions for this year is to offer generous hospitality. Not such an easy task for me! I am an introvert and generally pretty darn content to be alone. It’s not that I’m shy or that I don’t like people, it’s just that I enjoy being alone and often find social interactions stressful and tiring. Can you relate?
However, as I’ve been growing in my walk with God, I’ve felt the call to offer generous hospitality to the folks around me. After all, God has graced me with so much love and generosity, and as a result, I want to offer the same to others.
So… how does an introvert offer generous hospitality without getting completely drained or filled with anxiety? I’m so glad you asked! I’ve put together a handful of hospitality tips for introverts that will hopefully help folks like you and me offer hospitality with ease.
Learning to be hospitable is a journey. A journey that I am really just beginning myself. It’s my intention is that these tips will help you – and me – be able to better show grace and love to the people whose lives we touch.
Seek a hospitality mindset
- Set the intention to practice hospitality. In other words, make an effort to look for and say yes to opportunities to be hospitable.
- Keep in mind that offering hospitality is not about you. What a relief, right!? You don’t need to impress, be perfect, or do it all. It is about connecting and offering grace and love to others. Shauna Niequist, in her book, Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes, says, “The heart of hospitality is about creating space for someone to feel seen and heard and loved…”
- You don’t have to make a big production out of hospitality. Thank goodness! Hospitality doesn’t mean big parties or fancy dinners. Remember, it’s about connecting and uplifting.
Some ideas for casual hospitality –
- Order in a pizza
- Open your home and have a potluck.
- Why not skip dinner entirely and get together in the afternoon for a cup of tea or coffee.
- Movie night and PJs with the girls is a great way to connect.
- Remember that hospitality isn’t an event and it doesn’t have to happen in your home – it’s a lifestyle.
- Sometimes the smallest acts of hospitality can make the biggest difference. Just a smile or a greeting can make someone’s day.
- Pray for and seek opportunities to practice hospitality throughout your day. It is a skill after all, and with practice, it will get more comfortable.
Here are a few ideas for practicing daily hospitality –
- Pray with someone.
- Take 5 minutes to really connect when you run into a friend around town.
- Invite a coworker to join you for a quick coffee break, and really listen to what she has to say.
- Smile at a passing stranger.
- Open the door for someone.
- Offer to help if you see someone struggling with something.
- Let someone cut in front of you in line.
- Pay for the coffee for the person behind you.
- Bake cookies for your neighbors.
- Invite a friend out for a walk in the park.
- Take a girlfriend out for a cup of tea at your favorite cafe.
Care for yourself so you can joyfully offer hospitality to others
Choosing to offer hospitality doesn’t mean that you need to burn yourself out by giving all your energy to other people. It’s important, especially for introverts, to make sure that you take the time to rejuvenate and recharge so that you have the ability to be hospitable with joy. Remember that even Jesus took time regularly to be alone.
- Maintain a regular practice of solitary prayer and Bible study to keep your energy reservoirs topped off.
- If you are having guests to your home or hosting some sort of event, be sure to plan for downtime after so you can recoup, reflect, and refill.
- Incorporate free space in your schedule to leave room for hospitality. If you are overly busy, with little time to care for yourself, you certainly aren’t going to want to extend grace to someone else. Try to leave a little breathing room in your schedule for both self-care and for impromptu acts of hospitality.
Be prepared for impromptu guests
As you practice hospitality, you may be surprised to find yourself inviting people into your home on a whim. Maybe a friend is passing unexpectedly through town and needs a place to stay, or you connected with another couple at church and would really like to invite them over for Sunday lunch. Being prepared for impromptu guests gives you the freedom to say yes to these hospitality opportunities.
- Make a habit of keeping your home tidy. DON’T worry about perfection but do think about making your home welcoming. Not only will you feel better about inviting people over, but you will likely enjoy your home more yourself.
- Have a handful of easy and quick recipes that you can throw together at the last minute. Nothing fancy here! Think chunky salads, veggie sandwiches, tacos, grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup…
- Keep a well-stocked coffee station with cute mugs ready for casual visits. Have a selection of teas, some coffee, and maybe hot chocolate on hand to warm up any conversation and make guests feel extra welcome.
- Bonus – If you have space, create an inviting guest room. A private, comfortable and quiet space can make a huge difference in helping an overnight guest feel welcome.
Embrace the cozy
I’ve found that I am more comfortable extending hospitality when I feel comfy and cozy. Connecting and having conversations, at least for an introvert like me, can make one feel exposed and vulnerable. Adding a few cozy details can really help relax the mood and make connecting feel more natural and approachable.
- Keep a few snuggly blankets nearby to wrap up in or comfy pillows to lean against while chatting.
- Light a candle to set a warm mood.
- Choose to chat in a spot with warm, soft lighting.
- Play some gentle music without lyrics in the background.
- Spritz a bit of lavender or another favorite essential oil into the air before your guests arrive.
- If the weather is warm, take the conversation outside with comfortable lawn chairs or pillows and a cute blanket or two.
Hospitality hacks just for us introverts
- Are you planning to host a group of people? Be sure to invite someone who is great at conversation. That way you don’t have to worry about both hosting and keeping everyone talking. That great conversationalist gets to use their gifts and the conversation will surely be sparkling – win-win!
- Keep a few conversation starters in your back pocket. As introverts, sometimes just the thought of starting a conversation is enough to make us want to run and hide. Fortunately, most people enjoy talking about themselves, and a well-placed question is all that is required to get them started.
Here are just a few basic conversation starters to get your ideas flowing –
- Talking to a complete stranger? Offer a sincere compliment followed be a related question. “I love your coat! Where did you get it?”
- Chatting with an acquaintance? You can go a little deeper. “What projects are you working on right now?” “What are you working through at the moment?” “What’s going well for you today?”
- Really desperate for something to talk about? As cliche as it might be, chatting about the weather or about food are both great for breaking the ice. Don’t be too proud to fall back on these old standbys!
I hope these hospitality tips for introverts will be helpful for you on your own journey toward offering generous grace and love to the people in your life. Above all, remember that it IS a journey. At times it may be challenging, sometimes it will be rewarding, but is worth the effort to spread the love and grace that we have received ourselves.
Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.
– 1 Thessalonians 2:8
Tell me, is hospitality something that comes naturally for you, or is it more of a challenge like it is for me? Feel free to share in the comments below…
Cute mugs out from the shop, perfect for creating a coffee station or simply sharing a cup of tea with a friend…