An Introvert’s Guide to Having People Over


Twice in the past month I’ve hosted a housefull of friends for a long weekend.

Chad and the boys packed up their bags, I put clean sheets on beds in rooms decorated with car posters and aquariums, and I opened up our home in spite of the fact that it’s unfinished and undone.

I’ve learned that it’s important and even necessary to invite friends in when our house isn’t perfect.

And I’m just now coming out of about a year of hospitality hiatus.

I’m still remembering/learning how to be a gracious hostess and starting with two groups of friends who already know me and my grouchy quirks makes for an easy re-entry into the world of hospitality.


Plus, I’m a major introvert. I’m not shy, I don’t hate people (usually) I just would rather be alone and people, any kind, drain my energy. So an hour before I have any type of people activity, I start hating myself for saying yes and wishing a disaster would happen so I would have a good excuse not to have to go.

Every time I’m with people it starts with me sweating and wishing I wasn’t there, wishing I could just turn into a cat and lay on the floor. And most times end with me being really happy I pushed through, because people can be the worst, but they can also be the very best!


I’m an introvert who enjoys having people over. But that doesn’t mean I don’t get nervous, tired or worried every time people come through my door. It just means I invite them over anyway.


My introverting tips for inviting people over:

Personal: Have a place, anyplace where you can go and close a door. Especially if people are spending the night. I set up a bed in our crazy unfinished basement. I was the first one in bed every night and no one was offended. We are all adults, they know I’m an early bird, and no one needed me to stay up late and tuck them into bed.

Consider the friend mix: Invite good conversationalists. As a hosting introvert, you don’t want to have to feel responsible for carrying the conversation. I want to have enough energy to listen well, but I don’t want to feel like I need to entertain a quiet room.

Food: Go for Semi-homemade. I like to cook a few things, but I don’t want to spend all my time in the kitchen.  I buy some Earth Fare chicken salad and grilled chicken, and Trader Joe’s macaroons always seem fancy for about four dollars. The only things I cooked over the weekend were quiche for one breakfast and Edie’s Cheese Tortellini soup for dinner.

I’ve made both of these recipes for years and I can make them while having a conversation, laughing at a funny joke and without measuring a single item.

I provided salad and crackers and cheese and granola bars and fruit and yogurt and great coffee (a must) and even though we only ate out for two meals, I didn’t have to spend the entire time cooking.

Coffee: I want to have fantastic coffee that isn’t dependent on me to make. I’ve used this machine for a few years, it’s easy to tell guests how to use it, so if someone wakes up early, they can make their own without waiting on me to come to the kitchen. It makes espresso or regular coffee and it’s fantastic every time.

mastermind weekend

House: Flowers and candles say “welcome”. Trader Joe’s had a great flower selection–I was able to get all of those flowers in the photo above from TJs, but if I can’t find any from there I’ll order from The Bouqs (2 or 3 days in advance is all I usually need–click this link to save $10). I restock my favorite candles, but my sister brought her oils and diffused them so I didn’t even light my candles.

I also hired a cleaning service to clean the house. (it cost less than I expected!) I’ve had extra work lately, but I wanted my guests to have a clean house without me hustling like a crazy lady to get everything done. I’ve found if I’m frantically cleaning before people come, I can’t fully be present when they arrive.

These things say “I thought about you and care for you” without you having to speak a work (yay introverts!)


Things I didn’t do:

I did not write cute notes with our internet password to leave on each pillow.

I did not over schedule, I had an idea of when we might leave the house and some local stops and restaurants ready so we could hit if we wanted. But ultimately the group decided where and when we wanted to go out.

I did not worry about every detail, it’s winter o’clock, the property is bare and brown and a few planters of something pretty and fresh pine straw at the back door would have been nice, but I didn’t have the time.

I didn’t NOT ask my friends to come over because things weren’t ready or perfect. I choose to trust them with my house and my self. And I’m really glad I did.

introvert's guide



  1. It’s my goal to have friends over regularly this spring. To have friends, you have to be a friend. But somehow it does seem overwhelming. Thanks for the encouragement in the area of not needing to be perfect to have people in your home! I’m pretty sure that will help me to actually extend the invitations!

  2. Well, this is really encouraging because as I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten more introverted and have quit having people over. But I want to. I just remember how ridiculously stressed I got before the last few times. I really want to have people over for two hours for a slice of pie and coffee. I should be able to handle that, right? With your encouragement, I’m going to try it.


  3. This is so me. I am an introvert as well, though most people don’t know it as I’m no longer shy (I was as a child). It seriously DRAINS me to have people over, or do anything social, no matter how much I might also enjoy it. It thoroughly confuses my extrovert husband. :) For so many years I thought there was something wrong with me, now I’ve come to accept that’s who I am- and it’s okay. Thank you for the encouragement today.

    • Yes, Alicia! This is me. I thought something was wrong with me for so long until I realized being an introvert was a thing and I didn’t have to change it. It’s helped me like myself so much more now that I know. Haha

  4. This is timely for me because we just moved into our new home three weeks ago. I feel like we’ll feel more at-home if we host people. It will be good for us to solidify this as OURS. :) But also we are both introverts and our house is messy and not all the way put together. But I trust our friends to understand and not judge us at all. We’re all humans here.

  5. Thank you SO much for sharing these tips- and especially your menu!! I just adore these posts. I really do. I am planning my own Girls’ Weekend for a few kindred spirits from college, and it is always so life-giving, but I also LOVE planning and hosting it. (Plus, that means I don’t have to travel anywhere.) However, I’m not great at food, but I love it (I mean, who doesn’t?) and I always forget you can just buy stuff like chicken salad from nice grocery stores.

    And thank you for reminding me that the agenda doesn’t have to be an hour-by-hour tour of the world. I often pressure myself into coming up with something awesome to do. But really, our girls’ weekends are to just be together and relax and enjoy life.

  6. Oh my word, you just describe me. In fact I just said to my hubs, “We need to invite people over so I clean the dust bunnies from under the couch and furniture.” And, I’ve been toying with the thought of hiring someone to help. If I can’t do that at 65, something’s wrong!!!!!!! Thanks for the great post and encouragement for social introverts.

  7. I can relate to this so, so much. I want my home to be a place where I feel comfortable entertaining a small group of friends, but I also need it to be my sanctuary away from the rest of the world – definitely trying to find that balance this year!

  8. These are good tips on entertaining! On the Briggs Myers test I am almost dead center between introvert and extrovert. Which means I am over the moon to see people when I go to conferences, and most always pay extra for a private room to be alone at night.

    Having a lot of family coming to stay with us wears-me-out. These easy suggestions will be helpful this summer. Thanks!

  9. thank you thank you thank you. Perfect timing…. We have family arriving tonight, one of whom usually makes me feel less than perfect, and a little party tomorrow for my about to retire husband. Yes, I’ve been wishing I had not planned any of it…and I can see the many things needing to be done to our sweet house. Hoping I can focus on the giving and making people feel welcome rather than a table worthy of Pinterst!

  10. This is such a timely reminder and encouragement for me. I’ve been really struggling with my desire to minister to people through food and fellowship. I’m embarrassed about my small, sometimes messy rental house and I’m so introverted it’s painful.

    Thank you for the tips! You don’t know how much your blog and book have meant to me my last few years of moving from rental house to rental house :)

  11. I need to make some friends so I can try these. Any suggestions for an introvert? I am a SAHM that never gets to leave the house, I have 3 daughters – one has special needs. It’s a little bit lonely, since the moms at school want nothing to do with us.

    • Anonymous says

      Oh Beth that’s so sad. I don’t have a real answer for you it must be so difficult. Do you have online friends perhaps?

    • I agree with Anonymous; I found online community saved my sanity when my kiddo was young. Finding other moms dealing with the same issues I was helped me SOOO much. I still have a core group of moms that I’ve stayed in touch with- some of us have kids with varying special needs, and the support has been invaluable, even though each child is different.

      I’m also spoiled as I live in a metropolitan area that has TONS of resources for kids with special needs, both developmental/behavioral and physical, and playgroups for kids and moms of every imaginable stripe. Are there any resources or parent groups anywhere near you? Have you checked online or even Facebook for groups focused on the issues your daughter is dealing with? I would also check with the physician that manages your daughter’s care– sometimes they or their nurses are aware of parent groups, or could potentially reach out to other parents for you.

      Parenting small children often feels isolating on its own. We NEED community! Our kids NEED community! For both our emotional health and, as more and more studies are showing, our physical wellbeing.

      I know you have special circumstances, but one of my tricks as a *very* introverted young mom was to look up meetups and playgroups that were happening in public spaces near me, then “accidentally” show up at the park/playground/museum etc :) My kiddo could make friends and I could hang back and size up the group in my own time without feeling pressure to socialize.

  12. THANK YOU FOR THIS BRILLIANT POST. {Yes, all caps because I love it that much.}

  13. I love everything about this post. Looking forward to the questions in the email!

  14. Thank you! This was awesome! I too am an introvert (and proud of it!). I would like to host more people in my home, but afraid I will regret it! Some people wear me slap out. But, I am determined to do it more. I have made our guest room very cozy and I’m ready for whenever the time is right. Thanks for the encouragement!

    BTW-your book revolutionized my life. I know that probably sounds crazy, but it’s true. I was paralyzed when it came to decorating my home. But since I read your book a year or so ago, I have redecorated 4 rooms! Thanks for giving me permission to be me!

  15. I love that you included these questions.
    I’m gearing up for my 40th bday and 3 pals and I are meeting up in a different city. We haven’t been together in 6 years — and have had 12 babies since then!

    These questions are exactly what I wanted for the weekend! (I’ll add more, but this was a good start)
    Thank you for sharing.

    One question: did you ask your guests in advance (via email) these questions — or had them answer impromptu?

  16. This is brilliant! I am curious who the lady bosses are who came. Would you mind sharing?

  17. My husband and I are both introverts and I’m guessing is why, subconsciously, we have done nothing to our guest bedroom. We don’t even have a bed in there! I love all of your tips…especially the one about having your own personal space to escape too if/when needed.

  18. Thank you for sharing this. I fight this so much. Our house is small, somewhat cluttered (who invented all this paperwork!) and it’s not quite “complete” (think paint swatches, etc) so the thought of having someone over just paralyzes me – or rather, the thought of trying to get it presentable. It’s actually exhausting. I hope I can make some headway with this.

  19. Hallelujah.
    I finally know what’s wrong with me. Cant wait to show this to my husband. Will I.manage to host one? Proably not yet:) but if i do, this is perfect advice. Thank you!

  20. Thank you so much for this! I’ve always been better with impromptu invites. There’s no time to get nervous! That’s ideas are wonderful for when I actually plan for a get together! I sure would love to have a group over. God bless you!

  21. Oh my, I’m such an introvert. My son rolls his eyes when I tell him it wears me out to be around people. As someone else said, it gets worse as I get older. If I have a friend over, I’m tired for days and full of anxiety. BUT, I’m hoping to host a vintage market this spring at my farm and I’ll try to take your advice to not get so stressed out!

  22. Great article! I’d love an Introvert’s Guide to being a house guest. 4 days with my best girls.Fun!! But so draining.

  23. if our extrovert friends and husband’s knew how much it costs us emotionally and physically they would stop misjudging us. I LUV to have people over. It’s just that I HATE to have people over. ? I want to share my life with other women, deepen relationships, bless others but it so completely depletes me. I Almost ALWAYS invite enough people so I don’t have to talk to anyone and can just be and listen. I’m the first one in bed at nite. NO ONE outside of my family would even know this about me because when I’m with others I’m always ‘on’. That’s the point, being on for large chunks of time requires us to be ‘off’ to recup. I’ve been at this for 40 yrs and am consider an amazing hostess! Hahaha Your tips are helpful and a couple are new to me. Thanks for putting yourself out there. Kudos to you for doing over nighters…those are brutal.

    • I agree. I have the vacation home to have friends but only invite a group of ladies so that they carry the conversation and since I provide the house I turn the kitchen over to them and they feel that they contribute and it helps alleviate one of my greatest battles – what do we fix for meals?

  24. I love this. I have hosted 3 birthday parties (1 per kid) and 1 baby sprinkle since January. I LOVE having people over! As soon as its time for them to show up, though, I sweat and want to go hide. But, there’s something magical that happens after everyone eats, and after presents are unwrapped. Everyone settles in, kicks off their shoes, drinks coffee….and that’s when the REAL conversations (I’m an INFJ, I hate small talk) start and people let their guard down. THAT’S the part of parties that I love! And I also love Netflix, coffee and a blanket afterward while I gaze upon the sweet, sweet mess of time well spent (I always save cleaning up until the next day.) Your blog is one of the few that I still read and I always LOVE it. You’re an old favorite, like a great pair of worn-in comfy shoes (is that weird to say?)

  25. Great post! As an introvert, I like to entertain, because it allows to control many of the elements that drain me.

  26. I think I’ve found my tribe of like-minded outgoing- introverts. It’s nice to know I’m not alone in my feelings. Sometimes I feel like a social outcast.

  27. I would loooove to know what the name of those flowers are in the top photo!! Not roses… not peonies… and not lysianthas? I’m stumped. I love them.

  28. aussiebushgirl says

    At last! An article to relate to, on a personal level! Thanks Myquillyn for raising a very real problem. xo heather

  29. I love your tips, since I am hosting some friends this weekend and love to host, but also find it exhausting. I’m at the point right now where I’m wondering, why in the world did I sign up for this and also looking forward to it at the same time! :)

    Anyway, I’m making the Cheese tortellini soup tonight and wondering about the tomatoes- does anyone know if the tomatoes should be drained before adding them to the soup? Or should I include the liquid from the tomatoes? Thanks!

  30. I am an introvert and an insecure cook and I dread having people over. One of my pet peeves is wearing shoes in the house. Sometimes I don’t invite people because I really don’t want them walking through my house with shoes. Does anyone have a polite way to make it clear when they arrive that I prefer everyone remove their shoes?

    • Linda Sand says

      You can provide a basket of slippers as a hint but, please, don’t demand we remove our shoes. Those of us who suffer from infected feet and/or require orthotic inserts will be stymied by your requirement. I once sat by the door at an open house while my husband was inside as many guests asked me why I was not participating. I explained to each inquirer that I could not remove my shoes. Finally, the host became uncomfortable enough to tell me I could come in wearing my shoes. It felt like a lose/lose situation to me.

  31. Perfect timing. I’m an outgoing introvert. I love planning and I love my people, but putting the whole thing together without wearing myself out before the actual company arrives can be quite a challenge for me sometimes. I think Trader Joe’s macaroons and flowers will be part my go to preparations from now on!

  32. I thought you were talking about me. You described me to a “t”. These are great tips that I will follow.

  33. You make me laugh. For someone who is an introvert, you sure do well to invite strangers into your home. I think I’ve been to our house twice for events now over the years and lived to tell about it. :) You are one of my favorite hostesses. I think of you when I have people over because it’s always imperfect. Aka I told my neighbor she could come over if she didn’t mind I was folding laundry. I wish I still lived in NC to come to the barn!

  34. I so needed to read this! Thank you so much for sharing :)

  35. “These things say “I thought about you and care for you” without you having to speak a work (yay introverts!)” YES. I think that put words on something I have felt for a while. Why it’s so important for me for things to feel “together” when people are coming over, because to me the little things express care.
    On the other hand, something is pulling at my heart after I read this saying that there is so much more to hospitality than this. That Hospitality is meant to be messy and not so put together and doesn’t require flowers or candles or like you mentioned, cute signs with the internet password on them. I think there is potential for us to miss out on some true community if we’re passing our vanity off as “good hospitality and love” as introverts.
    I don’t know…it’s not a fully fledged thought yet, but something I want to keep mulling over. Am I using “hospitality” as something to mask my vanity/pride/etc. in having my life and house together?

  36. I love this post! I found a link to it on another site and I’m so glad I did. We are definitely kindred spirits :) I love your ideas. I am not always in control of when & how many people are around me (in my living space) so I will definitely be reflecting on how I can put them into use within my circumstances.

  37. Oh my word, I love this list. But really, you had me at “Plus, I’m a major introvert. I’m not shy, I don’t hate people (usually) I just would rather be alone and people, any kind, drain my energy. So an hour before I have any type of people activity, I start hating myself for saying yes and wishing a disaster would happen so I would have a good excuse not to have to go.” Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.

  38. Hi Friend,

    I love hosting people for both short stays and longer ones, but I’m definitely farther along the introvert scale than many people.

    Hope like my reply


  39. Wow! Hello my tribe! Lol! I’ve always called myself an extroverted introvert. I can talk to just about anyone for 15 or 20 minutes. And very few people who know me would ever say that they thought I was anything but a very outgoing person. Yeah, not so much. One or two people at a time I can handle for a good while. More than that and my introvertedness kicks in big time. I have to psych myself up for parties and large gatherings and will usually be looking for any excuse under the sun to get out of going about an hour prior to the event. Having a gathering or party in my home is worse. That usually sees me having a nervous breakdown including tears, profuse sweating, uncontrollable trembling and nausea about 30 minutes prior to the first guest arriving. Nine times out of ten, I end up enjoying myself but it still wipes me out for days afterwards.

    I had an epiphany after visiting with a friend one day. She kept apologizing about this thing and that thing not being done, perfect, finished. And I told her that I’d come to see her, not pass inspection on her house. HELLO! Lightbulb moment! Friends and family didn’t give a hairy little rat’s behind about how “finished” my house was or if I had fancy Pinterest stuff on the table when they came to my house either!

    So, as long as the house is clean and there’s good food and munchies and I’ve got everybody’s favorite drink and some good music playing……I call it good! No one has yet to ask me where the Pinterest stuff either, lol!

  40. Outstanding post however , I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this
    topic? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit more.
    Appreciate it!

  41. Yes, that disaster thing, its real and pretty unfortunate because you don’t want to hurt those people. Like any other event it passes too.
    And the cycle of missing the people starts again but you want to keep this only ’till planning.
    You know, Planning Feels Good.
    More than that makes me sad.
    Thanks for writing this post.
    you’re a savior.

  42. Do you have an introvert’s guide to being a houseguest?

  43. Being an Introvert, your points will help me in a long time. I was waiting for this kind of stuff. thanks for the post

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