4 Reasons We Fail to be Hospitable

How many times have I lamented the relationships I failed to build. “Oh, we said we were going to have ____ over, and we never did.” Life got ahead of us. Time slipped by. We moved. Or they moved. Life took an unexpected twist or turn. We were too busy. And now our paths no longer cross (physically, anyway) and the opportunity is missed.

When hospitality comes up, I usually hear a common thread in why people do not do it. I use the word reason here because they usually are genuine reasons. There is a fine line, though, when these reasons cross over into excuses to not do what we know we should. I have used all of these reasons as excuses to not be hospitable at some point. Sigh. Thankfully, God teaches me and changes me. 

1. Fear

We don’t know how to cook well. We are not sure we will connect with our guests. Our kids will probably act like they have never seen a vegetable in their lives. It will be stressful. We are already too overwhelmed with everything else we have to do, this just might put us over the edge.

Any time we step out of our comfort zone there is fear. We have to face our fears head on. Many times there are practical things we can do to help.

If cooking is not your thing, it is perfectly fine to have a couple of standby company meals that you are reasonably sure will turn out.

As to the company, you can always find something in common with anyone. Learn to be genuinely interested in others and learn how to ask questions. You will have a wonderful time.

Simplifying your home management life can relieve some of the stress of having people over.

And as far as the kids go? There are no guarantees. 😉

2. Space

Too small. Too far. Needs remodeled. Is currently being remodeled. Needs decorated. Needs better furniture. You name it, I am sure there is something in every house that could be changed to be more suited to having company.

Your guests are coming to see you, not your house. If it is good enough for you, it is good enough for your guests.

3. Finances

This is a tricky one. I know what it is like to have very little money. We currently live on a part-time income, and I can promise you that there is no extra money floating around. Remember, though, that hospitality does not necessarily mean a full dinner party. Some day, I might host a few dinner parties. For now? I am content to just invite others to join a simple meal around my table.

Sometimes simple is better, anyway. It is more real. Nothing put on. Genuine us with no airs. You know what I mean?

4. Time

You might need to simplify your schedules to make time for people. There will be seasons when this is more difficult than others. But these seasons should be short. As a rule, if you do not have time to have people in your home, than you are probably too busy.

The longer you go without having company, the harder it is to have them in. That fear gets bigger and bigger. It gets more and more difficult to step out of our comfort zones.

I can fall into this trap easily. I always have good intentions. But sometimes there is a disconnect between philosophy and reality. Knowing this about myself, I made some decisions before we even moved this last time. I planned ahead that I would not wait to have people over. I had a newborn, we were in a new city, a new church, my husband was starting school, and we moved knowing not a soul. We obviously had very little money, and we live in a small apartment. I had reasons to put it off.

Knowing my own tendencies and thinking about mistakes I have made helped me to be proactive. I knew that if I put it off, I could quite possibly end up here for two years and suddenly realize I had not had any of the people over that I had intended to. And then I might be moving again and the opportunity would be gone. Having made the decision before we even arrived in this town that we would not wait until we were comfortable and knew people well, helped me to step out of my comfort zone and do it. And you know? It was great and I was so glad I did! And the next time it was easier.

What is holding you back from opening up your home in hospitality?


  1. Nancy Kellner says:

    Thank you, Johanna . The Lord has been pressing this very subject on my mind lately. Its just another reassurance to hear this from you. My biggest fear is keeping a conversation going with people you feel like you don’t know very well. I’m going to bite the bullet and go for it.

    • Nancy, I am sure you will have a great time!! You could think of a few questions before hand to have ready in case the conversation takes a lull, but no doubt you will be amazed at what a blessing it is! I am always so blessed after we have had someone over and I wonder why we waited so long! I hope it goes well. :)

  2. Thanks for the reminder that “if it is good enough for us, it is good enough for guests.” We are currently in the middle of a major remodeling project that has spilled over into every room of the house in some way, shape, or form. I have been reluctant to have people over because of this, but you are right… it isn’t a good excuse. :)


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