We talk often about how opening up your doors can be simple. We share easy #HostfulHacks that make prep and clean up quicker and serving loved ones as hassle-free as possible. But what if your hesitation with hosting has nothing to do with cooking or dirty dishes? What if it runs a bit deeper than that? Today, we’re talking about overcoming social anxiety while entertaining.
Disclaimer: We are not medical professionals. Information in this post, including text, graphics and images, does not serve as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment for any health condition. Always seek professional help as it relates to your personal situation. Visit the NIMH website for more information.
Whether you know you suffer from social anxiety or perhaps you’re an introvert who simply prefers time spent solo, when we’re anxious about inviting people in, it’s often an easy reason to keep our doors closed. We love our alone and immediate family time because connection always starts with the people closest to you. However, opening our homes to friends and family can increase the connection in our lives, as well. More connection means deeper, more meaningful relationships in your life.
If you’re interested in hosting and entertaining in your home, but nervousness is holding you back, check out some of these easy tips and tricks that’ll ease you into it.
#HostfulHacks to Overcome Social Anxiety While Entertaining
Overcoming Social Anxiety #HostfulHack: Guest List Size
First, start with choosing a gathering size that makes you feel comfortable. When it comes to easing into hosting, it seems logical to start small. However, there are pros and cons to having a smaller, more intimate affair. Intimate gatherings have less people, but more direct and much deeper conversation. Larger gatherings have more people to chat with, but conversations are less likely to get too intimate. Ultimately, there’s no right or wrong answer. Choose what makes you most comfortable and more eager to welcome loved ones in.
Overcoming Social Anxiety #HostfulHack: Create a Calming Ambience
The second step to making your hosting experience one that you can enjoy is to design a peaceful space. A calm home spills over into you, the hostess, allowing you to also feel the ease of the impending gathering. There are a few simple ways to achieve this desired atmosphere that require almost no time at all.
Step #1: Douse overhead lighting.
Overhead lighting feels harsh to the eyes, adding the most subtle discomfort that might seem to go unnoticed. However, if you’re already tense before guests arrive, this subtle discomfort will add to your overall anxiety. Shut off or dim all overhead lighting, and instead opt for one or both of these options: candlelight and accentual lamps.
The flickering light of candles offer a comfort and sense of warmth to any space. The general rule is that you can’t have too much candlelight. Place candles on your tablescape design or wherever you want guests to mingle, and allow these entertaining essentials to offer calm and comfort to you and whoever is near.
Step #2: Incorporate soothing melodies.
It’s undeniable the effect music can have on our minds. It can ease, excite, and bring out a plethora of other emotions that are deep within us. When hosting, music can be a simple tool to help you tap into a relaxed state of mind. It connects gaps in conversation and can even be a point of conversation, as well. And, even if you’re not actively listening to the music, your mind subconsciously takes it in, lending calming support for you throughout the gathering.
Ultimately, what you choose stylistically is up to you, but take time to consider what brings you peace. While you might love a certain band or era of music, we always suggest going with instrumental versions so lyrics aren’t competing with guest conversations. Bonus: you can usually search for and find curated playlists ready to go on your favorite streaming apps and devices, making this a #hostfulhack that takes seconds to put into action!
Overcoming Social Anxiety #HostfulHack: Keep It Flowing
If you’re hosting a larger gathering with more than just close friends and family, keeping guests moving is key to your gathering’s flow. Encouraging guests to mix and mingle throughout the event often keeps too-intimate conversations from happening, encouraging social interactions to be light and airy.
To do this, place hors d’oeuvres around your home, from the kitchen and dining room table to the coffee and entryway tables. By placing food in multiple rooms, it gives guests silent “permission” to wander and chat with other people. Again, this encourages others to continue to move throughout your home in order to try different appetizers, while simultaneously switching up social pairings for new and fresh conversations.
Finally, you can also create flow by placing candles around your home. Similar to strategic placement of appetizers, candles encourage guests to gather wherever they’re placed. Choose scented candles for added encouragement for people to travel to different spaces and mingle some more.
Friend, we hope these simple #HostfulHacks help you to overcome social anxiety or any social reluctance to let people in. On the other side of this common nervousness, there’s a world of connection and togetherness. There’s a wholeness in your heart that you’ll never regret. And there are relationships ready to bloom right in your home.
Hap-Bee Hosting, Busy Bee!