We Could NEVER Entertain!

Meet my Guest:

I'm truly honored to introduce you to Amy, who resides over at Designing A Life I love.  It’s a place where she talks about decorating, family, and life in general. You're going to want to save Amy's site to your favorites, as she's so spunky and fun.  I knew right away that her entertaining story would be an excellent fit here on 4RE! 

Sandy asked me to tell you a story about a “reluctant entertaining experience” that happened to me recentaly. I was gushing about the confidence she gave me a few weeks ago to actually HOST a party, when I'm really not an entertainer. I rarely entertain.

My hubby and I are very busy people. 

I know this is a real solid statement, right? I mean, isn't EVERYONE busy? Well, not counting sleep, I usually only spend about four waking hours a day in my home.  FOUR. With a full-time job, a family, college classwork, and LOTS of church activities, I'm officially in OVERLOAD all the time. And, to let you in on a little secret. . . MY HOME SUFFERS BECAUSE OF IT.  

Because of this busy lifestyle, my hubby and I don't entertain a lot. 

And we have sort of settled into an existence at home where we keep the clothes on our backs washed, and even cook occasionally and clean up the dishes, and every now and again we dust and vacuum.

So, we continue to live this way, and it becomes a vicious cycle. We don't entertain because the house is a wreck.  The house is always a wreck, because there’s no one in our house to notice it, and we become immune to seeing it, and settle into a comfortable existence.  If we did entertain, what if someone really noticed the way we lived?

Actually, we could NEVER entertain. Until last week.

Before I knew it, my hubby and I RELUCTANTLY agreed to invite our new neighbors over for dinner. The meal wasn't fancy. . . just burgers and hot dogs on the grill. I fixed a side of oriental salad, and an ice cream sandwich dessert that would make your toes curl up with envy.  And, you know what? I even had a few dishes in the sink. That's right! When my company came over, I had picked up the house here and there, but I did NOT polish anything.  Oh, my mother would CRINGE if I told her that!  I rolled my eyes as I looked over at those dirty dishes, when suddenly, I heard the doorbell. And I did what I never thought my little state of mind would ever let me do. 

I swallowed that lump in my throat, wiped my sweaty brow, and opened the door to let my new neighbors in.

Then the funniest thing happened. My new neighbors repeatedly commented on how well my home looked. (What? Are you kidding me!?)  Almost to the point of frustration, I asked, "Why are you being so complimentary about my home? It's filthy!! Look at this horizontal surface! You can't even see it!! And the dishes!! Aren't you appalled at how I LIVE!!?!  I DIDN'T EVEN DUST!!"  I was to the point of almost yelling before I could help myself. 

I really like these new neighbors of mine, but I wanted to keep it real. If we were to build a lasting friendship, they needed to know how "off my rocker" I really am. So you know what happened? They didn't run out the door in tears. 

They weren’t appalled at my home. They really and truly enjoyed being in my home. 

And, after a while, I stopped gawking at my dusty floor and dirty dishes, and I actually started HAVING FUN.  Since then, we’ve even had the new neighbors over a second, third and FOURTH time! 

I’m so glad Sandy gave me the courage to just LET GO. Let go of all the reluctant feelings I felt about inviting people over, and focus on more important things...like opening my home to let new friendships, fun, and laughter in my home again, dirty dishes and all.  

It was the most rewarding thing I've done in a long time...to just let go of any inhibitions I had, and open my door to strangers who left that same door as friends.

Are you reluctant to entertain, because you feel your house doesn't quite measure up?

Or what tips can you share in how you got over this hurdle?

Amy and I would love to hear your stories!


pk @ room remix said...

What a great story! Thank you for sharing. I admit to being a reluctant entertainer myself and these kind of stories just encourage me to get out of my rut! :-)

JadeLD said...

I have to admit that one of the secret reasons I love having people over is because that's about the only time we really do commit to cleaning our house!

I don't know why I worry about how the house looks because I wouldn't even stop to think if someone else had cleaned their windows or polished etc! It's all psychological.

Donnetta said...

Oh yes, BBQ's are one of our favorite meals when having people over! It sounds like and looks like you had an absolutely scrumptious meal and an even more fabulous time connecting!

Thanks for sharing this with us! More encouragement to get beyond our comfort zone and just do it!

Robin @ My Blessed Nest said...

Congratulations on facing the fear and overcoming it!! I tend to invite only close friends who already know me well. I have a much harder time inviting neighbors or new friends...they don't know about my mess, yet, and I guess I want to keep it that way! :) Next time, I'll remember your story and step out there myself!

Amy@DesigningaLifeILove said...

Thanks, Sandy, for having me in your neck of the woods! I am so glad you guys relate to my story. I'm not kidding when I say I RARELY entertain, and like JadeLD, I have been known to invite guests if only to motive myself to clean!

Thanks again for the opportunity to post on such a great blog. It was truly an honor!

Laura said...

That's awesome Amy! Thanks for sharing your story :)

Carmen said...

This is a great story!!! I know how you feel, Amy. I have three kids and there is always clutter everywhere. Thanks for inspiring me to invite MY neighbors over. :)

GiBee said...

I am not a reluctant entertainer by ANY stretch of the imagination... I LOVE having people over. But I also have a full time job (10 hour days), a plethora of church activities and I can totally relate with Amy's hectic busy lifestyle.

I have a dirty secret ... my biggest nemesis is the laundry. It seems to multiply on its own! Most of the time, I'm fortunate to get the laundry washed and dried and tossed in a pile, and my laundry closet is on the bedroom level... so you want to know my sneaky, secret solution to a quick tidy-up job?

I throw dried laundry that's in a clean pile back into the dryer, close the laundry closet, throw leftover clean laundry in the guest bedroom closet, close THAT door, and I'm done.

I put dirty laundry in the master bathroom, close that door, and no one is invited into closed door rooms.

And you know what? In the twenty years my husand and I have been entertaining, I've only had 2 people ask to tour the house, and only 1 person just walk through the house on their own (AND opened closet doors). That was my pastor and he did it on purpose bcs he knew it would bug me!

How's THAT for a dirty secret?

So don't let laundry keep you RELUCTANT!!!

Hopefull said...

Very encouraging - thank you - that ice cream pie look so good!

Maranda@Evoked said...

How encouraging to know I am not the only one who has struggled with this!

I have begun to really really enjoy having company over, even when my floors are not freshly mopped!! LOL

Nobody will ever remember the dust on top of your fridge...but they will remember the time you spend with them and the memories you make!

tales from an oc cottage said...

Any home where eating dessert without silverware is allowed...sounds like a blast to me! ;) m ^..^

Sandy said...

Such a great post, Amy!

Thanks for sharing with 4RE readers today! I sure appreciate you!

Nicki said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nicki said...

A very timely post for me! I am indeed a reluctant entertainer and have recently felt a conviction for my lack of hospitality in my home.

This week I took the plunge and planned a luncheon for this coming Sunday. I have to admit panic set in immediately and I wanted to cancel. But, I've just been doing what I can (when I can) to prepare and that's going to be good enough...and I'm going to have to just swallow hard and accept that! :)

Karen said...

This story rings so true for me! I keep thinking I need new baseboards and things but you know? I actually enjoy it when I see that a friend's home ISN'T perfect. It's much easier to connect and just relax. Okay. I guess I need to get brave too. Thanks so much for this encouraging post!