In this season of heightened expectations, let’s give ourselves the gift of halfway hospitality.
Let’s talk about hospitality, friends.
It’s not what you think…
Pinterest and Instagram, I love you but you’ve sort of steered us wrong.
We’ve fallen in love with you, social media. And along the way, we allowed ourselves to be sucked into a fake, swipe up vortex.
In it lies a world of perfection, where you have to do it all in order to be the hostess with the mostess.
As in, don’t let your guests lift a finger. Make everything from scratch.
BE EVERYTHING TO EVERYONE.
This cosmos, wherever it lives – and I pray it’s far, far away from my humble midwest home, is a world full of expectation that is downright unattainable.
We’re all guilty of it. We get caught up in how hospitality is portrayed on IG or the newest HGTV show and think it’s how life is actually supposed to be.
I’m here to tell you today, it’s not. There is a better way!
Let’s set the fake world of social media aside and get talking about the farm girl method of hospitality, or as I like to call it, “Halfway Hospitality”.
What is hospitality? It’s not what you think.
I’m gonna go all textbook for a sec. Hang with me.
Here’s what hospitality is:
The dictionary meaning of hospitality is, “the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.
Let’s break that down.
Guests. Visitors. Strangers.
There’s no one-size fits all formula to work with here. Now, more important words to note: friendly and generous.
Not showcase. Nowhere are the words “proper” or “knock yourself out” mentioned.
We can be hospitable, friendly AND generous, all without losing our minds. And I’m here to show you how…
Enter the world of Halfway Hospitality.
Hospitality is a two way street, and you only have to go halfway in.
I love the concept of halfway hospitality because you, gracious friend, have an opportunity to provide the space and the place for a wonderful experience to happen.
Even better, it doesn’t even have to happen in your home. You can make this happen anywhere.
The role of you, the host, is to get the people together. It can be at your home for a party, it can happen at a school EPC meeting.
Anywhere people gather, and you can help cultivate connections.
All by being yourself
But the best part? It’s not just up to you. That’d be a lot of pressure, and let’s be real…we’re important but not that important. We need others.
So the other half of the job?
Well, it’s on your guests to show up and be.
You do your part and you provide a space for them to do their part. It’s not all on you.
BOOM. Game changer.
Feels better, right?
What IS Halfway Hospitality?
Well, let me start by saying what it’s not.
Halfway hospitality is not judgy, showcase, or stuffy. It’s not intimidating or overly proper.
It is keeping yourself real. This is a legit, authentic way to let people into your life and give them a place to feel comfort. From you.
But here’s what halfway hospitality is…
When people come to my house, I want it to look like people actually live here.
I’m not saying we have to let it all hang out. Okay, personally I’m 100% guilty of being maybe too transparent, but I’m my own total weirdo and I own it. So there’s that.
There was a time not too long ago, when toddlers would randomly fall out of their clothing and walk by naked like we were living in a nudist colony.
It happened. It was semi-horrifying but sweetly amusing. Because that was the season of life we were in.
We just were.
So that’s a rather extreme example. But here’s a more everyday, every person example of how I practice halfway hospitality.
When a guest swings by, I’ll move the pile of laundry off of the couch.
Chances are, I’ll actually just put it in the basket and move it to another room in the hopes it will put itself away.
I no longer freak out when the doorbell rings and get myself into a lather trying to make things, “just so”.
I put a little effort in and I get an okay result. I’m good with that.
It’s a home, not a freakin’ museum.
As an added bonus, approaching entertaining this way allows me to embrace unplanned, impromptu gatherings. When someone drops by at the spur of the moment, we can jump right in and just be.
And when people get to know that about you, they’ll embrace that this is how you roll and they’ll roll right along with you.
They’re meeting you halfway, and you provided a space for that to happen.
They may even love you for it.
How to practice halfway hospitality
Do you want a drink at my home? I’ll get you the first drink and show you where you can grab a refill. Help yourself!
Our neighbor kids know where the fruit drawer and pantry are. They know they’re welcome to help themselves to an after school snack.
Everyone wants to hang out in a place where they feel welcome and at ease. And you can do that by not trying harder.
The fridge and freezer stocked are stocked with pizza. I routinely say that frozen pizza is a perfectly acceptable item on your weekly meal plan or a dinner with friends.
I try to have drop and bake cookie dough on hand for drop in guests. But if I don’t have those things? It’s really not a big deal.
Guests don’t worry about being an inconvenience, because they’re not. And they can feel that.
What a weird, but awesome concept, right?
We need this because it’s practical.
We simply don’t have the time to make everything in our home perfect. And even if we made the time, we’d be downright exhausted.
Having friends means showing our truest self – flaws and all. And the same goes to inviting friends into our home.
We are not made to be perfect, and trying to do so will suck you dry, friends!
Striving for perfection is no way to live. It’s simply not attainable.
Embracing halfway hospitality has allowed me to be fully present when guests enter our home.
Instead of worrying about creating the perfect experience, I’m engaged.
It saves energy and it creates energy. It makes total sense.
I’m telling you this…
There’s a grace we’re all hungering for, and halfway hospitality opens the door.
And just like I always say there’s no “right” way to feed your family, there’s no “right” way to be hospitable.
A lot of it depends on your personality, the guests you’re welcoming, and the season in your life.
We don’t have to be perfect. We weren’t created to be that way.
You were made to be you, and I was made to be me.
As my mom used to tell me, you can have a perfect home, or you can have your sanity. Which one do you choose?
Here’s to you, your home, and to halfway hospitality.