Inviting people over for a meal, or snack, and conversation happened regularly in the home in which I was raised. Thanksgiving dinners included other families and individuals. Mom and dad had a “funny club” of friends from church who regularly got together to play cards, laugh, and even dress in costumes at Halloween. Oh, the vision of the heaviest man in the group dressed as a sugar plum fairy and the couple who came as the King and Queen of hearts, and the woman who created a potato costume with wiggly eyes. These happy gatherings of people have stayed with me into adulthood.
Inviting people over for conversation, networking, book club, art creation, happiness-project, volunteer, and movie-watching gatherings has been happening in my current home of 18 years. Last summer, a group would go to the theater to watch a movie, then come over here for a post-movie discussion and a treat. Great insights come from these various gatherings. New friendships are formed. Thought is expanded. Laughter is often a part of the mix.
Book club gatherings are a monthly fixture on my calendar because of how much joy and insight they bring to my otherwise business-focused days. Inviting people over for a meal and book-specific conversation (we rotate from member to member’s homes) has been happening for 18 years with the longest standing book group to which I belong.
Ten years ago, and again recently, people have said “opening your home up and inviting people over is such an act of bravery.” I asked for more information each time because it is so natural to me to invite people over. What I learned is that many people grew up in homes to which not even other family members were invited; lived in houses that weren’t safe; or in places where people lived who were not inclined to invite friends over. With this understanding, I learned how inviting people over could be seen as a brave action.
Do you invite people over and into your home? Why? Why not? Maybe 2019 can include inviting people over, finding new connections, laughter, and joys.
Note: This post first appeared online January 9, 2019.