Hospitality Hints is a monthly feature on our blog with some helpful hints for being hospitable in everyday life. Our hints may involve inviting people over, but not always! Most of the time, they will be about having a posture of hospitality—welcoming others into our lives.
We’re already in the thick of summer; can you believe it? It seems I just started relishing in the joy of swapping out my boots for sandals, and now I’m flipping my calendar to July. Long, sweet summer days often mean more time spent outside, which means lots of opportunities to interact with your neighbors. Whether you’re taking the dog for a walk, playing in the sprinkler with your kids, or simply taking the trash out, there are lots of easy ways to show love to those who live near you. Here are some of the best tips we got around our office!
- Remember (and use) names. I know it’s not always easy to remember names. But think about this — how special do you feel when somebody you’ve only met once or twice remembers and calls you by your name? It’s a super simple way to show your neighbors love when you say hi in passing. Remembering names of kids and dogs (and who they belong to) is also always helpful! One great way to solidify names in your mind, and always have it on hand if you forget, is…
- Exchange numbers. Asking for your neighbor’s cell number and giving them yours is a great step to being able to tangibly show love later. Make sure they know you’re available if they need anything—borrowing a ladder, housesitting when they’re out of town, or a playdate with your kids.
- Ask them for help. Seems weird, right? Now, we’re not suggesting you invite them over to help you clean your house or mow your lawn. But asking for a cup of sugar, a recommendation for a plumber, or how they keep their flowers blooming for so long are all great ways to have simple interaction with your neighbors. Text, call, or just go chat when you see them outside.
- Don’t rush. It’s so easy to get caught up in our daily agendas, rushing from one thing to the next. I’ve noticed that a lot of times when I find myself going a million miles an hour, it’s usually a self-imposed time crunch that’s keeping me from slowing down. When you run into a neighbor who has a tendency to chat for just a little bit too long, practice hospitality by listening for longer than you naturally want to. I’ll be honest: this is a tough one for me to live out. But I so appreciate the people who I see putting this into practice. Let’s give it a try!
- Follow up. Your neighbor told you the in-laws are coming to town, her son is going to have a tonsillectomy, or they’re in the market for a new car. Next time you pass them, ask them about it. If it’s something that warrants a card, pop a note in the mail. Remembering conversations and asking about them later is an intentional way to have a posture of hospitality.
- Join your neighborhood online community. A lot of neighborhoods have pages on Nextdoor.com or Facebook as an easy way to communicate with those who live in close proximity. This is helpful for community news, helping find lost dogs, or even sharing extra vegetables from your garden!
- Visit elderly neighbors. Gather the kids and bring cookies to Mrs. Smith down the road. Chances are she’ll love the opportunity to interact with your adorable kiddos, and it’s a great way to set an example to your kids of what it looks like to show hospitality in your community.
We hope that these tips help you get started (or continue!) practicing hospitality with your neighbors!
Do you have more tips? Any stories of showing love or being shown love by those who live near you? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Heather Warfield is an optimist, coffee lover, and guacamole enthusiast from Michigan who currently plants her feet in the sweet, sweet south. Her favorite things include, but are not limited to: lakes, trees, sunshine, good talks, fair trade chocolate, new experiences, and people who think she’s funny.