Party hosting fears and hospitality anxiety can be so stressful. For many years I let the apprehension about entertaining keep me from inviting family and friends to my house for a party, dinner, or even a small gathering. Here are the easy methods I used to overcome my fear of hosting that allowed me to enjoy events in my home.
I’ve wasted A SH*T TON of precious time….
All wasted on worrying…
…Worried that my house wasn’t big enough
…Worried that I wasn’t a good cook
…Worried that I don’t have the most trendy, Instagram worthy home decor
…Worried I didn’t have enough money to feed guests
…Worried that my house wasn’t clean enough
…Worried I wasn’t good enough at hospitality
All of those irrational worries for years kept me from opening my home to family and friends, and getting to do what really matters most…
…spending quality time connecting with people I love, and having fun in the moment with people who love me too.
But I’ve overcome my fear of hosting friends and family in my home…and you can too!
We recently moved into a new home and one of my biggest intentions in this new house was to step away from those limiting beliefs and fears by opening my heart and my home in an authentic way.
So one of the first things we did when we moved in was to have a home blessing to clear out old energy and set intentions for our new living space.
(click here if you want to find out more about our Home Blessing Ceremony)
At the start of the ceremony, we read a blessing (posted below) and the line that so resonated with me was “May these walls soak in rich sounds of laughter and loving”
When I say it “resonated” with me, what I really mean is that it was a bit of a dagger in my heart because I thought of all the times I had not invited laughter and love into my home because I was too scared and worried that I wasn’t fulfilling some image I envisioned as being the “perfect” setting.
I didn’t think I was a very good hostess and that my living space wasn’t ideal for inviting other people over.
Despite my previous patterns and worries, in the last month, I’ve now hosted four events and have two more coming up over the next two weeks.
Are you wondering what changed and how I got over my fears and anxiety about being a hostess?
First off, I’m not sure you really ever “get over” the fear, you simply live with it, acknowledge it, and let it no longer have any control over you.
The desire to connect and enjoy the company of those closest to me was greater than my fears so I just did it.
Sounds so easy, right?? (insert sarcasm here)
I finally took a look at each of my fears (as crazy as they may sound) and tried to understand what was really stopping me so I could heal and overcome my hosting fright.
So let’s dive right into those fears and the remedies because maybe you have the same or similar worries that are holding you back too!
1. Worried that my house wasn’t big enough
I think this is a common fear for a lot of people…somehow we are worried that there just won’t be enough space for people to feel comfortable.
I suffer from a condition that is related to FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)…it’s called FOLSO (Fear Of Leaving Someone Out).
There are always so many people I want to invite over and often times I end up doing nothing because I don’t think there is enough space in my abode, and I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings who wasn’t invited.
Although my new house is smaller than my last 2 houses, I’ve hosted more in the last few months than I did in the combined 5 years in the last two homes.
I realized everyone has gatherings, and I’m not invited to them all which is TOTALLY fine and nothing to take personally so it’s okay for me to invite smaller groups of friends without including everyone in the neighborhood!
Another thing that has helped me to get over this fear is to know that I can use space outside of our 4 walls. At our last party, people were inside the house, in the backyard, in the front small courtyard, and in our bonus garage.
Check out the photo of the fun everyone was having singing and listening to karaoke in the extra garage.
(Caution, it might make you spontaneously start singing “Don’t Stop Believing”)
Was it small and a bit cramped?…YES
Did anyone really notice or care AT ALL?….NOPE
Also, remember that hospitality doesn’t always have to be in your home, you can invite friends to meet you at a nearby park, or plan a dinner out, or get together at one of those poshy movie theaters with your mom posse (Bonus: there’s usually cocktails available!)
The amount of space doesn’t really matter, it’s about connecting with your peeps.
2. Worried that I wasn’t a good cook
⚡Newsflash⚡: I’m not a good cook
It’s something I’m definitely a little insecure about, and throw in the fact that I’m a vegetarian takes it a step further.
My husband and kids are meat eaters so I have no judgment, BUT I have little to no idea what kind of seasoning or nifty tricks make the usual meat dinners good – I’m just guessing and scared to death people will leave wondering if they just ate dog shit. (Which for the record, I’ve never purposely served!)
But I decided I can’t let that keep me from having friends and family over, so I came up with a few alternatives instead of preparing a multi-course gourmet meal.
a. Make it a pitch-in (or depending on where you live, maybe you call it a “potluck”).
When guests bring something to share to eat, it definitely takes the pressure off the hostess to be Chef Ramsey.
Plus if your food totally sucks, it kind of blends in with all of the other food and no one really knows who prepared it! (that’s a win in my book!)
b. Cater your event, buy already prepped food, or order carryout!
Some of our best gatherings were casual get-togethers where we ordered pizza and kept it super simple!
YOU don’t have to do the cooking…let someone else do that part if you don’t enjoy it!
c. Ask for help from your spouse, family member, or close friend.
When we have hosted bigger groups like my son’s football team and their families, I usually enlist the help of my hubby to make it a BBQ.
That way there’s less pressure on me to make food in bulk, and who doesn’t love a good ole’ hot dog or hamburger? (or veggie burger in my case)
d. Figure out one or two “signature” dishes.
If there is a particular meal that your family loves that is one of your “go-to” dinners, then guess what’s for dinner when you have guests over from now on?
Take the stress out of trying a new or complicated recipe. Keep it simple, sister, and use one of your tried and true dishes. (Spaghetti Bake, anyone?)
Essentially remember, your guests are there for the experience and the connection with you and your family, not for the quality of the food preparation. (Thank God for that!)
3. Worried that I don’t have the most trendy, Instagram worthy home decor
Listen, we have three kids and a black dog so it just might not be the best idea to have the latest trendy light-colored furniture or high-end home decor.
One, it’s not in my budget (we’ve got a kid going to college soon).
Secondly, let’s just say it would end badly…stains, broken possessions, and one pissed mom.
We had a cream-colored couch once when the kids were young and within a year it looked like someone had used it as a mud slip-n-slide.
So, I’ve made peace with the fact that trends will come and go, and I don’t have the most envied color palette, but I think if you asked anyone who has been at my house, they don’t care about my furniture and the knick-knacks.
And if they did, then screw those judgmental ladies. (Just kidding!)
4. Worried I didn’t have enough money to feed guests
There was a time in our marriage where finances were tight…like really tight!! And having friends over just felt like another expense that we couldn’t afford.
When you have a limited budget, it’s time to get creative!
Remember the potluck/pitch-in idea?? That’s a great way to keep expenses low when hosting.
Alter the event. Instead of hosting a full meal, maybe plan a movie night where you serve some light inexpensive snacks or simply invite neighbors over for a dessert.
Remind yourself that your gathering doesn’t need to be a giant, expensive extravaganza that breaks the bank!
5. Worried that my house wasn’t clean enough
Being a recovering “perfectionist” (yes, that’s a real thing), impromptu events at my house have always been a point of major anxiety for me because I felt like my house didn’t look clean enough.
When I first started hosting, I would spend the entire day cleaning and prepping.
Here’s the truth…no one notices!!!
And beyond that…NO ONE CARES (unless the bathroom looks like a subway stall and then maybe you could use a little tidying session)!!!
Your friends and family want to spend time with you, and the house is not the main attraction…you and your sweet, funny, charming, and all-around amazing family are!
6. Worried I just wasn’t good enough at hospitality
Ultimately when you roll all of these worries into one pile, it boils down to the fact that I just didn’t think I was a good hostess…
A.K.A. having everything so freaking perfect that it was the best gosh dern’ night of their lives. Yes, I’m kidding BUT secretly that was the standard I was trying to live up to.
When I really looked at the underlying reason for the anxiety and hesitancy to host gatherings, it was my own insecurities about not being good enough.
So you know what I did?
I told that bitchy, insane, and loud voice in my head… “Shut Up”!!
It’s really that simple…stop listening to the voice that says you don’t measure up to some crazy vision that’s a mirage anyway.
Hell, down deep we are all a f*cking mess, so why try to act like we have everything together, right?
Let the crazy all hang out….it’s probably what makes your friends like you anyway…you are real!
And that’s what I’ve done…stopped listening to that awful voice and just started having the events I always wanted without any attachment to how it goes or what everyone will think.
Does it mean I don’t still get a bit stressed out (or “a lot”, if you ask my kids) when I know I’m going to have people over?
Does it mean that inner voice of insecurity magically disappears?
But I can wholeheartedly tell you this…
Each time it gets easier, and like anything you do frequently, you get better at it the more you do it.
And in the end, it’s so worth it because when you look back you’ll have a collection of memories with “walls soak in rich sounds of laughter and loving”.
Well, there you have it…how I’m tackling my fear of having people over to my home. I’d love to hear techniques you’ve used to overcome hospitality anxiety…
No seriously, PLEASE give me your ideas because I’m looking for more help. (Don’t make a girl beg!)
Life is short, we don’t know when our time will be up, and overcoming our fears is paramount to living the life we want.
One of the very last things my 87-year-old grandfather said to my dad was “I should have eaten fewer cheeseburgers.”
Some definite humor in that YET I don’t want to one day say… “I wish I would have had more parties and more connection at my house” when those final days come for me.
NOW’S the time for it all.
No regrets – so help me out ladies and share what you do.
Not only will it help me, but it can also help others too!
Until next time, cheers to overcoming fear and cheers to you!
Need help with prepping for overnight guests? Check out my top 8 tips for hosting!
Need more help prepping for a party?
Check out my Party Inspiration Board on Pinterest!
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