it’s hard to NOT BE INVITED.

this week we’re taking a break from talking about Friendships that SUCK… and moving onto something kinda similar. not being invited.

we are always new. we move often. we don’t know where the local shops or restaurants are. it takes us awhile to find the shortest traveling route. we meet all new people –>> at work, the grocer’s, post office, library, bank, church, school. we have to make the effort to find everything we need. especially the closest Target!

we often do not get invited.

we’re not the locals. we didn’t go to high school or college with you. our family isn’t around which means we don’t have any big plans. we don’t travel 3,000 miles during the holidays to visit our families. i don’t think people remember us; we know it’s completely unintentional.

please, do not feel bad for us. we have chosen this career path; this is just one of the many side effects.

we used to talk about this. wondering when or IF someone would invite us over. offer to host our sweet little family. we’re nice. our kids rock. i always bring a bottle of wine, appetizer or dessert. sometimes all 3.

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i stopped feeling sorry for myself. for my uninvited family. i realized that a lot of those in our new circle actually didn’t host group gatherings, large parties for no reason, backyard BBQ’s with every friend you know + kids.

only a few months into our new home in Corning, NY (about 5 years ago) we hosted a BIG BBQ in our brand new rental. we invited my parents and EVERY SINGLE FRIEND WE KNEW + their kids. i asked them to bring a dish to pass and we took care of grilling. everyone seemed to have a good time; we realized then how much fun hosting was.

what i didn’t expect was the follow up cards and conversations we had next.

one friend admitted they had never been invited since being married with kids. no one had invited them? not one time? my heart was so heavy for her. another couldn’t believe that we encouraged her to bring her kids. all of them. yes, all of them could come. all were welcome.

////


and so began a new season of our lives. inviting people over. not necessarily just our good friends… but everyone. we had the desire to include everyone. those that had never been invited. those that had wild kids. those that perhaps would never return the invitation. we invited simply to spend time with people. open our home up. to make people feel valued. important.

a simple invitation can change how someone feels about humanity.

today i’m encouraging you. instead of feeling like YOU should be invited. be the one inviting. have a Pizza/Movie night. a game night. a BBQ in the middle of winter {yes, they are fun, even when it’s snowing outside}.

[edited: before reading on -- the following tips are really more for a formal gathering -- consider just hosting a playdate of other moms & babies, a girls lunch out, cookie decorating, meet the movies, meet some friends at a local pizza shop. my hope is that you do. you invite. you encourage others to join you. share your life. be the one that invites.]

1 // plan your event

write out a list of potential invitees. choose a date/time that might work for the majority of those being invited. we have found that friday at 6pm, saturday at 4pm or sunday at 4pm works the best for us. decide between a potluck, BBQ, game night with appetizers or something you favor.

2 // send out your invites

http://www.thetomkatstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/invitations-2.jpgi love sending out sweet little invites. there are plenty of free printables around but my favorite are these little chevron invites by the Tom Kat Studio. you can find the download on this page.

include an RSVP by a few days before the event so you can follow up and plan as needed. i love having everyone bring a dish or drink to share. they feel they are contributing and a lot less work for you.

follow up with a text, phone call or email. i typically let my friends know that invites are going in the mail and i would love for them to join us = this usually means more of them will attend!!

3 // decide what to serve.

once the RSVP’s being rolling in with their dish/drink to share, you can begin planning your menu. think of a main dish to feed the masses on a relatively moderate budget. if grilling, do chicken pieces with BBQ sauce. {this is perhaps the cheapest & tastiest main dish we offer}. homemade pizzas or a chili bar with the fixings. always plan to have water, milk, lemonade or ice tea and juice if you’re inviting kids.

4 // plan some entertainment.

i love inviting LOTS of people. less need to plan any kind of entertainment although we always have some conversation cards and games on the coffee table just in case. the more people you have, the more chatting will happen. turn on some jazz or big band music and play it on random/repeat!

—>> inviting kids? have a few movie selections, rated G and parent-approved, ready to go.

5 // thank them for coming.

yes, this might seem a little backwards but send a thank you card. some people can be nervous attending a party at your home for the first time. let them know you had a great time and you’d love to host again. then, host again!

 

/// trust me. people don’t like inviting people to their homes. you’re not the only one that’s never been invited. we invite and invite and invite and never expect a return invitation. approach hosting so that you are simply extending love towards them because you never know, you could be the first one that has ever invited them over!

 

Comments

  1. The more kids you have I think the less you are invited places too – with our 3 (soon to be 4) we often don’t get invited many places either. Hosting is so much more fun! I will always remember you Aimee as the one to get things going, the one to start planning and bringing groups of people together.

    Maybe God made you be ‘not invited’ because he wanted you to be the one to invite – it is def. a strength of yours!

    • i agree, hosting IS fun. your house, your terms, your food, your comfort… yes, i have a control problem! HA! :) thank you for your sweet words too. i had such a blast putting things together while in Oswego; i was desperate for community and wasn’t sure how else to do it. i miss the playdates here in CA now that my kids are older… i see lots of kids sleepovers in our future and plenty of BBQ’s year-round!

  2. Such wonderful advice. I am kind-of an introvert at heart, so it takes me time to warm up to new people. I love the idea of sharing community with people. At heart, all we really want is to know we are cared for by others. Such a wonderful ministry you have started!

    • thank you carrie. i am thankful that when i share my hurts & struggles i am welcomed by warm comments like this; confirms that i am sharing exactly what i should be! community is so important and knowing we need it is helpful to know where we need to start!

  3. THIS was perfectly timed, as only God could do, as I sat here feeling insecure about other peoples’ friendships and gatherings (that i can see on FB). We have good friends who are also a military family that we met when we lived in Northern Virginia. We invited them over for pizza and football one Sunday afternoon and they told us we were the first people in the church to invite them over. They have 4 kids who were teens at the time and had been attending the church longer than me. They had people in their home nearly DAILY. I was shocked. It was good preparation for my future as a mom of many…with very few invites. I love hosting though, and try to do it often so that i get better at it. I need to work on my planning-ahead.

    • thank you for sharing Tarah. you are SO not the only one seeing events and parties on FB… it makes us feel left out but highly doubt we’re the only ones feeling that. so, this is when it’s time to host a party; start a community; share a home and a simple invitation to help others feel that they are not left out!

  4. sarah melita says:

    Exactly what lauren said! This is your gift aimee! Personally it does not occur to me…I get so busy/overwhelmed with everyday life that throwing a party for no reason at all never happens. It’s something I want to get better at though, especially when it is not planned for. I am reluctant to accept last minute lunch invites because it messes up my plan for my day…relationships are important, more important than my to do list and (eek!) Getting kids home for naps on time every single day. } now recall a blog post you did last year that prompted me to host a very last minute valentine’s day party and it was so fun, think we will do it again this year. Thanks for being you aimee, miss your awesome hosting skills!

  5. I really love this. My heart is in the process of making a similar switch myself. Realizing that it is not that we’re not liked. We’re just not always thought of (and not in a bad way).

    Right now I’m working at being more hospitable. Parties and having people over STRESS ME OUT. But I’m learning to get over that and do it. Because my heart needs it and so do theirs. So, while I DO have parties like this, I’m also trying to invite people over even when a party doesn’t fit into my life. To share my life and my messy house and my imperfect meals. Sharing life with others starts with me. Thanks so much for that reminder!!!

    • i’m so glad you commented Lindsy. i added a quick edit to the post just above listing the 5 tips. because YES, simple invites, cookie decorating, meeting friends at a pizza shop. it’s all good stuff friend. we are all so desperate for community and if we allow that bitterness to dwell, we’re the ones that will always be left out. i love that you’re taking this head-on — you’ll have to share with me when you host your next get together!!!

  6. I needed this nudge! Thanks :) I get nervous hosting but when I step into the hostess shoes I love it!

  7. We LOVE to host get togethers and we always invite kids. We have a wooden playset in the yard, a trampoline, 2 great climbing trees and plenty of driveway for chalk. I like to think most people have a good time. And we are casual. We have hosted “pizza and beer Fridays,” “Thanksgiving,” you name it. We discovered that if you want to have friends you have to invite them because most people find it easier to stay in their comfort zone.

    • YES! i remember you telling me about pizza & beer fridays and how similarly our families operate; of course, we’ll be inviting more people to partake this year! ” your backyard sounds like the kids perfect play space!!

  8. I love this Aimee. I am so not a hostess but I love your tips!! This is now on my goal list for 2013…you may be receiving an invitation soon.

  9. Love this. Thank you for sharing! I actually love hosting, so this is a great reminder to open our home to all, not just closest family and friends. We all have different reasons for our “Fear of Missing Out” ( as it is for me). For me, it’s watching all of my boys’ friends get invited for playdates, but no one wants to invite triplets over. So its my resolution to do more inviting.

    • yes, i think we get comfortable inviting the regulars… but i, of course, LOVE mixing it up and inviting over friends from the gym, from school, from church and our neighbors — that way everyone starts off a little uncomfortable and by the end of the night we’re all laughing and having fun!

      but just know, i would invite your triplets over any day and will remember this as we meet multiples, to invite them all!!

  10. Hey Aimee,
    This is a great idea! Done it often. Suggestions that has worked great for us;
    Big pot of chilli
    A Baked Potato Bar…. you supply the baked potatoes as a host, everyone invited brings a topping. ( Leftover chicken (diced), melted cheese sauce, salsa, brocolli, fried onions, mushrooms, bacon, diced sandwich meat, once someone brought crushed Doritos to sprinkle over the loaded potato and I’ve used it since it’s yummy!
    We do a Taco Bar the same way!
    You could do a Sub Bar!!!
    Great Website, and you are not lucky… you are BLESSED! :-)

    • i just love you!!! chili & potato bar — great ideas!!! now that our weather has finally cooled down here, i will definitely be planning one of those soon! i love taco bars too — yum! thank you for visiting & sharing some ideas with us all! :)

  11. Love this post! My hubs is close with my brother and his friends, who are away at college. When everyone is home, they know that I will always feed them when they are here, provide the beverages, and they usually offer to clean up/take out the garbage, etc. It is FUN to have them here, and dirty dishes dont scare me! :)

    • love this — i love when a bunch of guys come over and crash the place… my kids love it and the house feels alive!

  12. Well, Aimee & Craig et al, I want to THANK YOU for coming over to spend some time with us last night!! Again, I can completely relate to this post (much like the relationships that suck), and that is why I wanted to bring people together for the holiday that usually forgets those of us with families.
    We had a great time last night, and we must do it again SOON!
    xoxo

  13. Love this!! I was in the same place. No one invites the family with three kids over, (especially when no one else has kids) and that is ok. It’s hard getting away from kids at our stage of life and it’s hard having a family over who has a bunch of kids. I used to be so upset about never getting invited anywhere, so I started having people over, and it turned out to be 1,000 times better!

    So now our house is hang out central. We are the place the singles hang out, couples with no kids and we regularly invite our friends who have kids over to watch football or play games. Now, my friends tell me that I have a gift for hospitality, which you would never know by the panic attacks I used to have over having people over, lol.

  14. Great post! We invited a family of 7 over for pizza (we were married with no kids, living in a small 2 bedroom flat) and they were delighted! They said they didn’t get invited out much, and we were so happy to do it! I adore inviting people over, we have a bit of a system where I clean up and plan the menu, hubby helps me cook the food and when our guests arrive he manages to pull it all together (serve the food, any other kitchen stuff, offer drinks etc)… it works so well for us.
    thanks for sharing,
    Danielle.

  15. What a small world! A friend pinned one of your posts to pinterest. As I checked it out (on Fancy Little Things) and then read your Faith Statement I realized you go to church at Northcoast! That’s where I went to church when I lived in Fallbrook. We too are outsiders where we live. We are surrounded by a very different culture here in Utah and generally feel like expats. It’s okay, we grew up as expats overseas, you just don’t expect to feel like that in your own country! We love our Mormon neighbors but we clearly don’t fit in. We have no family nearby but have a church family that has become like a family to us. We are hyper aware of being outsiders and try to make sure others just moving here don’t have to feel that way and do our best to love those around us. This is a great post about taking action rather than becoming isolated and feeling sorry for yourself. So fun to find your blog! Sarah

    • Sarah, I’m so glad you stopped by! We LOVE LOVE NCC & thankful to be attending with our kids since moving back to SoCal last year. I love how aware you are to love on others coming into your aware because you felt alone; it’s a true testament to faith to seek how to encourage and show your love to others while not receiving any first. thanks for visiting FLT and checking out my blog too!! so glad you visited!

  16. LOVE this!

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