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How can I overcome my fear of having my friends over for even a cup of tea?

(24 Posts)
twitcher Mon 03-Nov-08 12:00:34

This may seem pathetic but I feel really nervous at the thought of hosting events in my home. Apart from family, and having the kids' friends over for tea, I just don't feel confident about inviting friends over - I would love to host a dinner party but I just feel overwhelmed at the thought, that I am judged/will be a failure, maybe.

I think this feeling has been passed down from Mum, she was the same, and kept an extremely cluttered and messy home and consequently never invited anyone in.

This Christmas, I would dearly love to invite the neighbours round for mulled wine, and have school mums over for coffee. I hope I am not alone in this; how do people overcome this?

Lio Mon 03-Nov-08 14:13:23

Hi twitcher, hope you get some more useful replies than mine, but just wanted to let you know that there are LOADS of people who worry about this sort of thing and you are not pathetic.

The mulled wine idea sounds lovely, but if you are just too scared of doing that without first immersing yourself gently into the scary world of hostessing, how about starting with other parents? While the children are having friends over for tea, could you have chats and biscuits with the other parents? If you are worried that your cooking isn't up to Nigella standards, bought biscuits, water and fruit juice are absolutely fine. If making tea and coffee is a problem, why is that? For me, it's because I don't drink tea, so I don't know if I'm doing it 'right', so I set them up with a mug, teabag, milk, spoon and sugar and they are always happy to do it themselves.

As for overcoming it, you just have to take a deep breath and invite someone over. The conversation doesn't get stilted because you can look at the children and chat about them. And what's the worst that can happen regarding having a cluttered house? One of the following might happen:

1. You do a panic tidy before they arrive: BONUS! Your house is a bit tidier.
2. They think you live in a more cluttered house than they do, and so they feel good about themselves: BONUS! They like you even more.
3. They also have clutter in their house and your clutter makes them feel good about themselves: BONUS! Win win situation smile

If you are nervous about even saying the words to invite them over, just practice it in your head a few times and have a Plan B available (an alternative play-date, a trip to the park all together to stomp in leaves if it isn't raining, something like that).

Let me know how you do.

BlueCowWonders Mon 03-Nov-08 14:46:25

got no ideas myself, but wanted to say what a nice answer Lio gave!

Lio Mon 03-Nov-08 15:05:50

Ah, shucks (blushes modestly). Would you like to come over and make yourself a cup of tea in my messy kitchen wink

grunjle Mon 03-Nov-08 15:09:17

invite me!
My house is bound to be much worse, I am shy and have confidence issues so you will feel like you are doing me a good turn, and therefore feel better about yourself - and I will bring home-made cake...

Lio Mon 03-Nov-08 16:15:04

So there you are, Twitcher, invite the parents who wear ill-fitting tracksuit bottoms and an anorak on the school run (that's me) and those who look as though they might make cake (grunjle).

OrmIrian Mon 03-Nov-08 16:17:10

I live in a tip. Not my choice but I live with 4 messy people and I've slowly given ground over the years. Most of my friends tend to be similarly housed. And anyone who looks askance at my mess isn't a friend.

Having said that I am dragooning DH into repainting before Christmas - and we're finally cleaning the carpets. But that's for my benefit not anyones else's.

thegreatscooscreamy Mon 03-Nov-08 16:26:21

Invite the kids friends parents over..the kids can play and soon will make so much mess that no one will notice where your mess starts and the kids begins grinAnd if you run out of things to talk about, then you talk about the kids..

I used to be like the OP..Didnt dare buy a pint of milk in a shop at oner point, so shy was I..But forced myself to do things out of my very limited comfot zone, little by little and now am quite the networker (in comparison to old self anyway smile)Kids are the great leveller I find..make it easier as if you get into a conversational rut then they can help you out..

rebelmum1 Mon 03-Nov-08 16:30:52

Most people would just be delighted to receive an invite unless it's like the houses in 'how clean is your house' I wouldn't worry, tough if they don't like it but I bet they wont give two hoots..

rebelmum1 Mon 03-Nov-08 16:32:38

what is tidy anyway? I don't think anything is ever where it should be in my place...

ohdearwhatamess Mon 03-Nov-08 16:33:01

I was (probably still am) just the same. The thought of having people round terrifies me. I worry that they'll think my house is horrible, my dcs are horrible, that the dog will misbehave, that I'll make undrinkable coffee, etc.

I'm just starting to bite the bullet and invite people round, and I wish I'd done it much earlier. Now I try to have at least one set of visitors a week to keep the momentum going (and so I have an incentive to keep the house in some sort of habitable state).

ohdearwhatamess Mon 03-Nov-08 16:34:11

Forgot to say - great post Lio!

GuysballsintheSky Mon 03-Nov-08 16:39:06

My house is a shitehole. Invite me! I'm even worse at inviting people. In 8 years of marriage I haven't even had my parents over for dinner. I host a couple of evenings every year (Bonfire night and Christmas Eve) where my mum and dad and my DB, DSIL and sprogs come round for a buffet and a sit by my fire. That's it.

GuysballsintheSky Mon 03-Nov-08 16:42:29

Also meant to say, my best friend lived with her parents until very recently. Their house was awful, walls just bare plaster, messy, undecorated, kitchen with any old non matching units etc. I was the only friend allowed inside because I have known her for years. I'd get inside, collapse on their lovely squashy sofa and be handed a mug of tea and we'd have a good gossip. I didn't give a toss what the house looked like.

I realise that I am sounding judgypants about it now but it's only to illustrate the point what the house was like. All I cared about was a comfy chair, a cup of tea and feeling welcome.

thegreatscooscreamy Mon 03-Nov-08 16:42:37

If you are worried about undrinkable coffee say you havent got any..tea is impossible to fuck up..bag in a cup. add water.take bag out,add milk and sugar..

grinOne of my BF's recently said to me that I make the worst coffee in the world ever.Its true.Its vile..bless her, she has been swallowing it down to be polite for two years smile blush

ohdearwhatamess Mon 03-Nov-08 16:44:00

I think I make awful coffee. I like it really strong, so can never judge how to make it for normal people.

GuysballsintheSky Mon 03-Nov-08 16:47:22

I drink coffee like tar so I ask people exactly how much to put in (but that was when making for people in the office!).

thegreatscooscreamy Mon 03-Nov-08 16:53:00

You'd think it would be easy with instant but I cant even do that.

twitcher Mon 03-Nov-08 17:06:43

Aw, lovely posts, thank you - come on over, everybody! Lio, that was a really helpful post, I just need to bite the bullet now ... not sure what my main worry is - I think it's conversation, if I invite one mum who's fairly quiet(like me) then we will run out of things to say, so maybe invite a couple of chatterboxes and the conversation won't dry up.

Ok, will have to give it a go and come back to you ... [scared emoticon]

thegreatscooscreamy Mon 03-Nov-08 17:14:56

Yes..atta girl..let us know how you get on..

What I used to do BTW, is think of about 6 things I could start a conversation about before the person came round.They were my fall back if the natural conversation dried up..(ie things in the news, ask for advice about something-most people love being asked for advice as it makes them feel wise smile,an offer I saw in a local shop that the person might be interested in etc)

Good luck..think of me if you make vile coffee grin

BlueCowWonders Mon 03-Nov-08 17:37:55

Just back.

Just to say, being invited to anyone's house is a real treat for me, probably cos I'm nosey, but I certainly wouldn't turn my nose up at mess or lousy coffee - and if you serve biscuits as well I'd be in heaven.
So the main thing is just ask them around
(and ask me too - I'm always available for coffee!) grin

Lio Tue 04-Nov-08 12:10:23

Ra ra ra, Twitcher, you can do it, etc. Screw your courage to the sticking place, but don't go any further down the Lady Macbeth route than that – her hostessing skills were appalling.

catsmother Tue 04-Nov-08 13:27:25

Ha ..... this is rather ironic because I get all wound up about inviting people round my house (always have done, because I've always lived in homes I don't like for one reason or another, and because I don't like them I think other people might sneer - or something stupid like that) but who should have been round my house last night but Lio herself - the new MN doyenne of happy hostessing it would seem !

..... and as she's anonymous I'm sure she won't mind me saying that she had to endure using the loo with the broken flush and the hideous "Wind in the Willows" wallpaper (oh the shame) left by the previous occupants, and hordes of wet cats too.

So far as I can tell she didn't mind ......

Seriously, I think "hostessing" is one of those things where you simply have to bite the bullet sooner or later and just do it or else you never will. It doesn't really matter if you've inherited (and can't afford to replace) naff decor, or lots of clutter, or if you can't cook, or if you're nervous about keeping the conversation going because although I worry about that sort of thing regarding visitors to my home, when I'm invited round someone else's I don't think about that stuff in regard to them at all and am simply happy to have been liked enough to have been asked ! I honestly don't notice other people's mess ...... so long as you're not sitting in actual dirt, or confronted with a revolting toilet, I couldn't care less.

I bet if you do suggest a mums' coffee morning everyone will be really pleased about it.

Lio Tue 04-Nov-08 14:03:42

Ha ha, didn't bother me in the slightest that your loo has a broken flush, catsmother. And because I have no sense of style I liked the Wind in the Willows paper grin

And such a good point for you, Twitcher: do you ever worry about these things if you are going to someone else's house?

My house has poky rooms with toys all over the place, uncomfortable chairs in the kitchen, terrible lighting, drafts, a hopeless garden and I'm not a great cook. But my friends still like me, and they manage to put up with all of the above simply for the privilege of making their own cup of tea in my half-finished kitchen.

Twitcher, if you live in North Herts you're welcome to come and observe for yourself.

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