5/21/07

Are You in Sync With Your Man?

MYTH: My husband does not want to entertain. He’s not crazy about socializing.
SOLUTION: Learn how to be a better conversationalist.

I used to pile my plate high with chores and things I wanted to get done before guests arrived for dinner. You see Paul, my husband, was never crazy about entertaining and I absolutely loved it!

I’d shut my eyes tight, or secretly cross my fingers behind my back while I asked my husband, “Can we have the Smiths over Saturday night for dinner?” Then the dreaded answer came. “No,” he would say.

Not again! I loved to entertain. I grew up with very hospitable parents and I was newly married and ready to practice what I had learned.

Paul’s uncertainty often centered on his having to converse with our guests. After all, I usually knew the people that we were inviting over far better than he did. It took a few years, but Paul finally came on board and we started entertaining, and enjoying it, as a couple.

I asked Paul some questions, as to why he was so reluctant to entertain.

Why did you usually say no?
I was fearful of keeping the conversation going. Even though I really cared for others, it was hard to express it.

What made you come on board and get into the entertaining aspect of hospitality?
I did it for you! (Oh, what a sweet man!)

Because I saw how much you cared about people and loved to cook and show hospitality and that was my only reason at first.

Then I realized that conversational skills are really essential to successful living. And that they don’t necessarily come naturally, though conversing does get easier with practice.
(ABOVE: Paul and I having fun in the kitchen!)

What advice do you have for the reluctant entertainer?
Learn how to be a better conversationalist. Learn how to ask questions and really listen to people. Talk about shared experiences and find out what others are interested in. Maybe try to be a little bit more animated than normal.

(Paul chopping parsley in the kitchen. He loves to cook with spices and herbs. NOTE: the espresso nearby!)

Here are some tips to becoming a better conversationalist: The first step is to change your perception that others aren't interesting. Everyone has a story. What brings that story out is genuine interest on the part of the person asking questions. Interest cannot be faked. You need to make up your mind that you want to be interested -- then you will be.

Remember that our only true gifts are our time and attention. Whenever we give someone our attention, they open up and blossom like flowers. And when that happens, our own self-confidence soars.

What the mind can conceive, the person can achieve.





You can become a better conversationalist!

Do you have a reluctant entertainer in your household?

(Top photo: Paul conversing with some friends. Bottom: Abby tasting the first strawberry for the year, from our strawberry bed!)

11 comments:

Elise said...

This is such a great, helpful post! I'm a reluctant conversationalist, but a happy entertainer, if I can be behind the counter, chopping or something! These are great tips for me!

momrn2 said...

This was a very insightful post. My husband is the introvert and I am the extrovert. It's not that he minds entertaining... he's just usually out of energy to do it very often.

He encounters people all day in his job and is usually ready for a quiet moment or two.

We are both getting better at entertaining... together! Although I've yet to have him chopping herbs for me. ;-)

Barb said...

When we first married I wanted to have people over every weekend, sometimes several families at a time. After awhile my husband told me he couldn't handle it. He asked to host every other weekend instead and said he preferred to have only one family at a time so he could really get to know them. That's what we've generally done now over the years, along with my learning to close my mouth occasionally so he can get a word in to the conversations with our guests! It's more of a team effort that way tho, instead of my directing everything and him being dragged along for a ride he's not sure he wants to be on.

Nadine said...

Great post Sandy. How true that many people are reluctant to entertain because they are shy about making conversation - will I have anything to say?

I love the picture of you and your hubby in the kitchen. Tom and I love to entertain and we love cooking in the kitchen together. It's a blessing.

Christine said...

Great post, Sandy! I'm one who is always afraid of what I'll say. I worry I'll put my foot in my mouth. You've reminded me that giving others time and attention and showing that they are worthwhile conversation partners is a huge part of hospitality!

see you there! said...

Sandy, I thought those were great tips.

We're much older than most of your audience I think and have entertained a LOT. We both love having company. Where we differ is in "style". I like to plan, select the menu, the flowers, the china. I enjoy the anticipation and the fuss.

He prefers spontaneous and is great at it. Drop by? He'll ask you to stay for dinner and if you say "well, I'm vegetarian and I only eat red things on Tuesday and, etc. etc." he'll just say. "That's fine". And it is. I swear the man can make a delicious meal out of anything.

We both prefer a smallish gathering tho.

Darla

Tammy said...

Wonderful how you interviewed your husband, Sandy! Such great tips...
I'm shy by nature and yet crave friendships...a catch-22, I know!
So reading the emphasis on conversation was so good for me.
I think even if we had a gorgeous home, I'd still be at least a "hesitant entertainer" like your husband was...but so good to know all of us can improve this area of our lives! :)

Jill said...

This is really great information. I am lucky to have a very willing host in my husband....he's probably more conversational than me. And FOR SURE he does better impressions of old men and Shrek!

Rachelle said...

Sandy that is such insightful advice. My husband would say exactly the same thing Paul did... "I am afraid of trying to keep the conversation going." You've offered some great tips here, thanks!

org junkie said...

My hubbie isn't the greatest with conversation himself but he makes up for it by being a terrific host. He'd rather be the one fetching drinks and putting the last of dinner together. I'm usually the one keeping the conversation going and chatting up a storm. Works for us :)

Great post!

Laura

Bettsi McComb said...

I missed this post, Sandy! I love it. Especially where you said that our only true gifts are time and attention. So true!