For all the things Covid has taught us, and continues to teach us, our deep need for community is among the greatest. And while there is deep value in evaluating our relationships and creating necessary boundaries, hopefully that process also reveals to us who our people are. In their book Burnout, Emily and Amelia Nagoski call these people- the ones that care about your well being as much as you care about theirs - in your "Bubble of Love." Doesn't that just sound lovely?
And now that most of us are in a place where we are once again communing with our people, we are also in a position to welcome people back into our homes. But on this side of covid, it feels harder than it used to be. I truly believe that opening your doors and welcoming people into your home is powerful, but the pressure to do it right can definitely feel overwhelming.
But perfection isn't the goal. Presence is.
Which sounds great, but between post-covid feelings, and the pressure to have our whole entire lives on social media, the perfection beast can be a tricky one to tame. I've got some tips to keep it easy, enjoyable, and help you find balance.
Don't center the time around a meal. Prepping, serving, cleaning up- hosting a meal can mean a lot of work. Consider something different. If a game night with popcorn and a couple bottles of wine sounds fun to you, invite some friends and tell them each to bring their favorite game and favorite bottle. My neighbor and I have weekly happy hour on her back deck Fridays around 5 PM. It's the BEST. Other ideas: a watch party for your favorite show, ice cream sundaes with a couple of your kid's friends and parents, or coffee on Saturday morning with that friend you haven't caught up with in ages.
If you do want to host a meal, start small. There is no need in invite your kid's whole 3rd grade class over for a back to school bash. Remember, we need to establish our Bubble of Love. Order pizza, pick up some beer, and invite over the people who are happy with just you, pizza and beer. If cooking for people is your love language, make a dessert or a fancy cocktail.
This may sound a little absurd, but sometimes I intentionally leave things a little messy. I do this for two reason. The first is because I think guests feel more comfortable when it doesn't feel like they are walking into a magazine. No one wants to think they caused you to bust your tail to have them over. The second is that it reminds me, the host, that this isn't about perfection. It's about inviting people into your real life. So I fight the urge to tidy up every corner, throw some dirty dishes in the sink, and open the door with a smile and a messy bun.
Involve your guests. There is nothing a comforting as a good old fashioned pot luck. Ask folks to bring sides, drinks, appetizers, desserts, whatever you can. This will keep the vibe casual, take pressure off of you, and creates a sense of community.
I hope you continue to think of ways you can connect with the people around you in a way that is life-giving for you as well. Cheers to opening our homes and establishing our bubbles of love.