How to Balance Relationships, Loneliness, and Entertaining


The last few weeks I have been spending some time thinking about my emotions, insecurities, and seasons of loneliness as it pertains to entertaining and opening up my home to others.  I struggle sometimes with wanting to be social and even being a good friend but despite that I continue to work on stretching myself to welcome people into my life and home.

I know for many people there are plenty of reasons why they fear having people in their home.  If you asked my husband, the one person who knows me best, he can attest to the fact that I struggle with social anxiety.  A lot.

It may appear that I love to entertain and, perhaps to some, do it flawlessly.  But I too struggle with an overly critical heart for myself.  My point to this is that if I can make room for people in my home and heart when it is opposite to what I consider safe, you can too, with your own personal quirks and imperfections. 


I love creating a pretty home, cooking, and decorating for parties.  I love it so much that I allow myself to go through the stress of inviting people, waiting for their RSVP, and then being part of the conversation once they are here.

And the reason I do this is because I wasn't meant to do life alone.  Even though I would rather sit at home with my computer, a book, and my pretty decorations I have learned that those things eventually leave me empty.  I crave for social interaction and authentic relationships, even if it's hard for me to get there.


So instead I have found what I love, decorating and cooking and doing crafts, and I invite people to come over and enjoy those things with me.

I encourage you, if you are struggling with having people in your home or even perhaps disappointed with your lack of friendships in your life, find something you love--something safe to you--and invite someone to join you.  Feed people food, serve others, and give even when you feel like you have nothing left to give.  Because eventually one of those people is going to give back and it will be worth all the trouble and work.

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17 comments:

  1. I totally feel the same way! I used to LOVE having people over, when I had a big pretty house, but I've become such a homebody lately, and I know I'm overly critical of how my house looks. After a brutal divorce I got rid of EVERYTHING because I wanted to start over, and my house is an empty shell reminiscent of a college kid's... someday I'll get there tho. :)

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  2. Thank you for your raw honesty... it makes you vunerable and that is only part of the reason you are such a beautiful soul.

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  3. Such a beautifully written post Ashley, I loved getting a peek into the personal side of you. I think the older I get, the more social anxiety I get. I definitely mind myself shutting down and wanting more and more time to myself, especially with all my college friends spread across the US. But I love your suggestion of inviting people into your hobbies, I love the idea of your craft nights and allowing friends to be part of what brings you joy. That's something I'll have to think about doing!

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    1. Thanks Evani! The 20's are a hard time to be in with relationships. Like you said, friends you grew up with move away and it's sort of an in between stage as you move forward into adult life career wise, marriage, and kids. But hey, if we can get it down, it should be easier later in life, right?! Wishful thinking! ;)

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  4. Being an empty nester and a housewife I struggle with loneliness and reaching out to connect with others. I am guilty of having more communication with the animals around here than with human beings. My husband hears all about my day with those animals. I do open my home every now and then to a small group of ladies. The problem we have is we are all in such different seasons of life. I have time and they do not.
    Thanks for the encouragement. I think I will plan a get together soon.

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    1. Thanks for sharing Nancy! I encounter the same problem but on the opposite end! I am a young married woman without kids who does not work outside of the home. There aren't too many out there like me and it can be hard to find people to spend time with! But with patience and time I have been able to find a handful of friends who either work part time or work from home and I am able to connect with them during the week! Hoping your get together goes well! :)

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  5. You've written down exactly what I feel about having people over. I love it and I do it all the time, but I get so nervous/anxious about it. I'm too overly critical on myself. I've been working on it - a lot. But sometimes it's nice to know that other people are probably feeling the same way you are. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. I have a little different situation. I LOVE to entertain and have people in my home, but I don't have any close friends to invite over. I spend many nights sitting alone with my computer, but not by choice. I'm working on getting myself out there to make friends and joining Meetup groups. I'm finding it difficult to make friends as a adult.

    sagegrayson.com

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  7. Ashley I really like this post. I think you inspire so many others with your honety and vulnerablity. There's always some piece of your experience that makes it easy to relate to. I struggled with a critical voice for most of my life, and it took a long time to ease up on myself. Mostly because I had grown up hearing that voice from a real person. It's funny how you can keep things like that so private. I wouldn't know by looking at you that you had those feelings, but few people would know that about me. On the outside, I always appeared outgoing and confident.
    I'm so happy you're facing your own critical voice and not letting it keep you from welcoming people into your home. You're such an inspiration.
    Leslie (aka Gwen Moss)

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    1. Funny how for something that consumes the mind and heart so much is rarely seen by others. My mom called me after reading this post concerned about me! I told her to not worry! It's a good thing! I am choosing to step away from that inner voice and thrive instead!

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  8. This is why you need to keep blogging on a regular basis. :-) How few people are willing to admit social anxiety -- especially on a blog that's in large part about entertaining! -- and then give practical tips for making connections? I love this. Thank you.

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  9. omg, this post just hit me dead in the face. i am struggling right now after just going thru a really sad, traumatic breakup of 7 years. i am finding that having people over, entertaining and just surrounding myself with those i love and then trying to make new friends to put myself out there more, are really helping me grow as a person! i hosted a christmas party this year for a bunch of my friends and even up to the start of it, i wanted to cancel. i am way to critical on myself and worried that nothing will be 'perfect'....well, i hosted the party, it was fabulous and i think everyone enjoyed for the most part....lonliness is a horrible thing, but allowing ourselves to open our hearts is so fulfilling! thanks for a great post. xo

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  10. Hang in there, Ashley! The more you do it, the more confident you will be/get at it! You are doing the right thing, pushing yourself to do what you know is best for you...even if it is hard!

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  11. I love this post Ashley! I work part time and do find myself home by myself quite a bit. I also have a bit of social anxiety. I would love to invite my girlfriends over for different activites as I have a number of hobbies to choose from! The only problem is that my group of friends would think it was dumb to do a craft or get together for a bookclub etc. If they excepted the invite at all they would probably be the first to leave, as they have at much larger get togethers in my home. Or they would complain amoungst themselves about how weird/dumb it is but still go. It's pretty discouraging. Dinner and drinks and a night on the town they would love but to get together for simple fun not really an option. I know it sounds horrible and we get along and work together great, we are just in different mindsets. :(
    Lorie

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  12. Hi Ashley, I just wanted to let you know I included a link to this post here at my blog:
    http://gwenmossblog.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-beauty-of-being-real.html
    hugs,
    Leslie (aka Gwen Moss)

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  13. Wow! This is such a great post. It really made me think! I found you via Gwen Moss.

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You can also email me at domesticfashionista {at} yahoo {dot} com.

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