I am enjoying Kristin Schell’s series on Outrageous Hospitality so much! Her questions at the end of each post really get me evaluating how I can open my home (and myself) up to more opportunities to welcome others. Here’s what I’ve been thinking about the last few days …

I’ve mentioned my INTJ tendencies (INTJs spend a lot of time inside their own minds, and may have little interest in the other people’s thoughts or feelings)  and my husband’s ENFJ personality (ENFJs are people-focused individuals. More so than any other type, they have excellent people skills. ENFJ’s main interest in life is giving love, support, and a good time to other people).

You can see how our hospitality personalities might clash. 

Every weekend he wants to open our front door and throw some meat on the grill. I want to close the blinds and only look up from my book to watch my favorite football team score a touchdown. How can we meet somewhere in the middle of having everyone over and having no one over? We’ve come up with a plan for outrageous hospitality that makes us both happy.

First, we invite small groups over. I much prefer having just a couple families over for a relaxed time of real conversation and real life. Lee can still enjoy people and I can enjoy not being overwhelmed by too many of them at the same time. We focus on investing, not entertaining. It’s also better for our boys, especially James (who has autism). He doesn’t like too much noise and disruptions to his routine (like someone sitting in his seat at the table).

Second, I give myself a job or a purpose, and invite guests to join me. So, when they get to our house, I’m still pulling something out of the oven or setting the table. I don’t automatically have to jump into conversations or come up with small talk. I can invite people to help me do what I’m doing. This is especially important to me if we’re having people over I don’t know well. I feel more comfortable (and therefore make our guests feel more comfortable) if  at first we’re aren’t face to face but rather side by side. I like face to face when we get into deeper conversation and I’m ready to give my full attention to our guests.

Third, I let extroverts be extroverts. The truth is, I need to be around people who truly laugh out loud. People who encourage everyone to let their guards down a little. People who want to talk about reality TV instead of book characters. Even though I like what’s happening inside my own head, I need to remember the outside world is nice to visit too. I am happy to listen more than I speak, so those who like to speak more than they listen can feel like they were really heard.

Fourth, I give myself alone time when everyone leaves. Lee will take care of the dishes or put the boys to bed. I’ll put my sweatpants on and sit in silence for a little while. I’ll probably write in my journal. I’ll go to bed early. I’m wiped out, and Lee understands that. Our oldest son David seems to have inherited my introvert tendencies and usually heads to his room alone when people leave too. We recharge alone so we’re easier to be around when we’re with people again. 

Studies show that introverts often have more fun than they think they will have when they get around other people. I know that’s true for me. It’s worth it to invite people over and allow my husband to use his natural gifts to help people have a good time.

If you’re an introvert who is married to an extrovert, maybe the lessons I’ve learned will help you too!

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