Inviting guests into your home is inviting them to enter your private sanctuary, sacred space; to open glimpses into who you really are and see what matters to you. Guests will experience your taste in decor, colors, art, interests; feel your energy, your personal sense of Home. To be an invited guest, therefore, is a matter of trust.
If you have played a host role, you know nerves kick in. Given the above, makes total sense. Ever invite your mom for a visit? It’s a sure catalyst to getting stuff done that I’ve been procrastinating on! You (I) start noticing all those little things that could be straightened, cleaned better, cleared. I like to use that energy for good, an incentive and friendly nudge to do a little detail work around tha house and freshen it up–for visitors, yes, and for me too.
That said, nobody is going to be white-gloving my abode, including my mom. And it’s probably not a focus of anyone visiting. Our place is lived-in: there will be things out of place, might even be some dust and cat toys around, and of course works-in-process projects and spaces. A home is home.
I suspect these everyday imperfections will also put guests at ease, too. We can all relate to a place that looks and feels lived-in. And that’s a beauty of hosting and blessing of being a guest.
Everyone’s space is unique. Floor plans may be identical; how we use and present that space, though, is personal. I appreciate colors, style, feel, furniture, decor, design, art, imagination. That delights and amazes me. It’s what I notice.
Our place is a quiet, peaceful one. Colors are mostly soft, rather than bold. You’ll see art–on our walls and functional art especially; comfortable furniture with accent pillows and plush throws. As you explore further, you’ll see bookshelves–several of them: This is a household that appreciates words, learning, creating, and reading (and libraries) as an entertaining experience. Fortunately, we each have a proverbial Room of our Own that visually reflects our eclectic individual interests, hobbies; a personal space haven.
Surroundings and stories
It’s visiting season and you might be visiting homes of family and friends in coming months. Maybe you’ll host a gathering or two. Personally, I like going with a Keep it Simple, Make it EASY, and Set Myself Up for Success approach.
For us, opting for smaller gatherings is what we’re more comfortable with, and also because we (I) want to get to know some people a little better, to enjoy some interesting connecting and learning. And I want to make it easy, enjoyable, and comfortable for us as hosts and also for our guests.
It’s handy that I was once a youth leader, and a trainer in corporate days, and that hosting fun ways of getting conversations started is a lot like ice breaker activities…so for me, it’s familiar and fun to plant some conversation-starter toys and tools around for guests to find and play with. We naturally have an inner muse and curiosity, and starting conversations is challenging for some. Somewhere to start the introductions is all this is; playing, connecting, and no pressure.
Conversation Ice Breakers
Last weekend our host used a Wisconsin trivia card deck when conversation lagged. Led us on all kinds of topic tangents and had a lot of fun. So, here’s what I’m planting around our place for visitor guests to find and start conversations around if they want to play:
- Admit-One Tickets. A game from my retreat leader days. If you don’t want to admit something your ticket asks, yes, you get to pick a different card. Always voluntary, no pressure.
- The Moth: A Game of Storytelling card deck. Pull a card when conversation lags. See if a story comes to mind.
- How to Be Interesting (In 10 Simple Steps) a cute little book with brilliant diagrams by Jessica Hagy. Love how approachable being interesting becomes. Open to a page; start anywhere.
- Playing cards. Some like to keep their hands busy and find it easier to talk that way. A game of cards could be fun.
- Affirmation cards and cards with quotes–because you know I love uplifting, positive words and art.
If our guests are observant, they’ll look around and find a multitude of clues to more conversations: bookshelves of eclectic information, walls of art, music and movie corner, and whatever else draws interest or curiosity.
Enjoy… in joy and fun and friends. – Anne
In the end, none of those ice breaker things was needed. Timing of arrivals was perfect for neighbors to have their own conversations. So efforts on my part really weren’t needed. I’m good with that; I wasn’t attached either way. I did realize I need to be more present, though. It’s that Martha and Mary thing. One was concerned about logistical details; the other fully present in moments in front of them. I want to be more of that in moments going forward. – Anne