Pictures of a ballet dancer in her tutu
Easy dessert, similar to a dump cake
A most delicious side salad or dessert
Boston Cream Cake by KristenDuke.com. This decadent cake is assembled in under 10 minutes
photo 13

Invite a Family over for Dinner Challenge!

I felt so much love and support from my GLOW post last week, thank you!! I also had many people who commented/emailed saying they were going to invite a family over for dinner soon. I guess that post had multiple messages, but it made me so happy to hear this message came out of it, too!  I got a fun idea, and I thought I’d officially encourage everyone out there reading to do the same and invite a family over for dinner!!! How about it, friends?

Invite a Family over for Dinner Challenge

This will be an ongoing challenge that I’d like you all to think about occasionally, but also an immediate challenge to do it by April 30th. If you accept, comment below (it helps to be held accountable) and then I’ll post about MY experience on April 3oth, and you can all comment THEN about your experience, too!  Won’t that be fun?!? We need a quick deadline or we’ll a) forget or b) make excuses not to do it. I’ve even got a little hashtag for you: #invitefamilychallenge You can take a picture of the food you are making, your table setting, or the friends you have over.

Now lets go over a few things…

We shall now discuss the reasons why this might be hard for you to do.

I hear lots from people, so I’ve gathered a lot of really great excuses reasons of why it is HARD to invite a family over for dinner.

reasons I don't invite

  1. My house isn’t cute
  2. My house isn’t clean
  3. I’m not cute
  4. My kids are crazy
  5. I’m not a good cook
  6. I feel awkward in conversation
  7. I don’t know what we’d talk about
  8. Our home is “under construction”
  9. It costs too much
  10. I don’t have time

I’m sure there are lots more (feel free to list them in comments).

For some of these, yes, it can be hard to do this if you are not feeling great about yourself or your home or your kids for that matter. But I think we all realize once we try to forget about these things and JUST DO IT, we are SO glad we did! If you are concerned about cooking, order pizza! Time, the lack of it affect us all…none of us more than the other.

My biggest reason for not doing it as often is generally #2. I want my house to look nice when we have others over, and it takes a good amount of effort. BUT, I know I’ll enjoy it for at least a few days after that, and frankly the house needed it anyway. Sometimes…I’ll invite someone over for dinner because I need to whip my house into shape!

But here are so many great reasons why you SHOULD invite a family over for dinner

reasons I should invite

  1.  It makes your heart HAPPY!
  2.  You get to know people better than surface conversation
  3.  You make a new friend
  4. Your husband makes a new friend
  5.  Your kids make new friends
  6. You teach your kids to make friends with people even if they aren’t similar
  7. Your kids learn to have “break the ice” conversations regularly
  8. You teach your children to reach out to others
  9.  Your spouse learns to make friends with those they might not normally gravitate towards
  10.  You find that you have something in common with someone you might not otherwise have known
  11.  You get to pull out some cute dishes (but you totally don’t have to)
  12.  You might even use that Dining Room table that rarely gets used
  13. You finally make a recipe that you’ve pinned on your Pinterest food board
  14. You have the opportunity to bless the lives of another family because you made the effort to have them over
  15. Your house gets cleaned to tip top shape
  16. Your family gets a nice meal with lots of sides (unless you do pizza and that’s totally ok too)
  17. You challenge yourself to reach outside of your comfort zone
  18. you get to try someone else’s recipe (if they bring a side)
  19. Your home is filled with laughter and friends
  20. You will never regret reaching out to others

I’m sure there are lots more, but really, the good always outweighs the bad in this situation.  There are times when I’ll tell my kids that we are having over a couple without kids, or someone with a baby and my older boys have a little bit of disappointment that there isn’t someone for them to “play” with.  However, I love that it teaches them to adapt and see that it isn’t just those like us, or our age that we can be friends with, but everyone has something we can connect with.  I’ve never heard them complain after the fact because they will often play with the baby, or I encourage them to ask questions to the adults, in order to get them involved.

So here are a few tips I’ve gleaned throughout the years

dinner guest tips

  1. If they offer to bring something, it’s OK to take them up on it! I generally suggest a salad or dessert.
  2. If they don’t offer to bring something, they aren’t being rude, it just doesn’t occur to them!
  3. Ask them if they have allergies to avoid awkwardness later.
  4. Ask them if they have food dislikes. We all have them, and though it can be embarrassing to state them, it’s even more embarrassing to push them to the side of your plate. I hate onions, I let it be known.
  5. If you try a new recipe, make it a fool proof one. I still laugh about the un-cooked meatballs I served my high school first crush and his fiance when I had them over for dinner with my young family. She sweetly asked if she could micro-wave them.
  6. Have conversational questions at the ready (see below)
  7. Sometimes I invite a few hours before (and stress NOT to worry about bringing something) and sometimes it’s a week in advance. Sundays are my go-to days because we generally don’t have activities planned on that day besides morning church.
  8. If you have “house rules” just mention them at the beginning so you don’t stress about their shoes being on the carpet or kids playing in the backyard
  9. Plan on the guests children NOT liking the food you make and you will be pleasantly surprised if they do. Kids are picky and used to their own mothers meals.
  10. If you forget their name, just say, “remind me your name again” I do it all the time.

I’m a conversationalist. It comes naturally to me, and I’ve got the “get to know you” questions down to an art form. My tips for how to have a great conversation stem from a few basic questions, really listening to those questions, and asking tangent questions from those basic questions. Here are my “go to” conversational questions:

5 go to questions

  1. Where were you born?
  2. How many siblings do you have?
  3. Where else have you lived?
  4. Where do you work?
  5. Where have you traveled?

Honestly, the bulk of my conversational questions stem from asking about their family and where they have lived. I am fascinated by life stories. SO many off shoot questions from those. I like to hear about siblings because most people have them, they are a big part of our life, yet they rarely get discussed. I like to hear how many siblings there are, what place people fall in the line up, where do your siblings live now, etc. The living/travel questions can also take on many tangents as well.

If you are still nervous about conversation, make a game out of it. You can the cute dinner conversation cards found online like Family Talk like these I have:

family talk game

{Buy Family Talk on Amazon}

Just skip the lame ones that say “if you were any animal, what would you be?” Or you could even make up your own questions, write them on a paper and put them in a jar to pass around.

I have emphasized inviting NEW people over for dinner to help them acclimatize to a new area, but I also invite over those that I’ve known “sort-of” that I just want to get to know better. Sometimes I invite someone that intimidates me…someone that I want to not intimate me anymore, that I want to get over it. Every once in a while….I’ll invite a good friend. Take a baby step, it doesn’t have to be a BIG step!

So will you accept the challenge? It doesn’t have to be every month, just more often than now, how about that? This is to help inspire you to reach out to others in a different way.

Invite a family over for Dinner Challenge-Square

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I’m doing a one time deadline of April 30th to kickstart the idea and generate discussion, then after that it’s just a random challenge to keep this in your thoughts. I’ll put the button up on my sidebar, and if you want to grab one for your sidebar to remember and help me spread the word via social media, I would love it! Just right click and copy the square image above, grab the link to this post, and mesh them together for your sidebar.

Who’s going to join me????

Leave me a comment now, and tell me you’ll accept the challenge! Then, I want to hear about it on April 30th!!

#invitefamilychallenge

Kristen Duke

Kristen Duke

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Kristen Duke
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Comments

  1. 1

    We have big multi-family dinners at our house at least once a month! Wish I had taken pictures at a recent one so I could join the challenge. Unfortunately I won’t be having another dinner for a couple of weeks due to SNAP. I love the big dinners! We fill all the tables with at LEAST 12 people, sometimes more. It’s so fun to eat good food & chat with friends and family!
    Cindy Jenkins recently posted..Blizzard To SunshineMy Profile

    • 2
      Kristen Duke says:

      That sounds so wonderful, Cindy! I often don’t bring my camera out much at dinners b/c it’s usually people I don’t know as well and feel silly saying, “smile!” But I’ve wanted to…need to just do it!

  2. 3
    Jennifer says:

    Thank you! This was one of my New Years resolutions that I have been putting off. I find it very intimidating for many of the reasons you stated, however I plan on using this to get me started. I’m in!

  3. 5
    Susie Flores-Niño says:

    Love the challenge! I tend to stress out by the idea of having the house clean and planning a special dinner. However, when we do have people over, I find it that the kids LOVE IT! We enjoy it too…but the kids especially! I have a group of lady friends, we each do a brunch once a month. I should extend the invitation for a family dinner with each of them. That would be my baby step. ;)

    • 6
      Kristen Duke says:

      Baby steps totally help, Susie! Getting the house in order can be a stress, so true. Take that baby step!

  4. 7

    I have been so wanting to do this ever since our move. We have a unique situation I think where we have moved back to where we used to live after 5 years. Needless to say, there are new faces around us and I do want to get to know them. I think I’ve used most of the reasons you listed NOT to invite a family. I think “feeling that we will be boring” is my biggest fear. But I guess I just need to get over it and do it. I accept!

    • 8
      Kristen Duke says:

      Yay, you accept! When we moved to a new spot, I gave people a good 2 months to ask us over, and when it didn’t happen, I started inviting familles over and all too often I heard, “You are new, we should have YOU over, but I just didn’t want to sit around and wait for it.”

  5. 11
  6. 13

    I hadn’t read your GLOW post yet, so I had to go read that one first and I loved it! I needed it :) (let’s face, it, we all need those reminders OFTEN!)

    I love this idea of inviting a family to dinner — I recently proposed that we invite a family over for game night — my hubby was maybe 50% on board with that — but I’m working on it! Maybe we’ll even bump it up to dinner time :)

    I have very fond memories of having families over for dinner when I was young – I thought it was just normal to invite people over because we did it so often… But now that I am the hostess, I find that I have all of the excuses (and more) that you listed above!

    Thanks for the push…I know I need to get over myself and just BE FRIENDLY :)

    xoxo love you my dear!!!

    • 14
      Kristen Duke says:

      Game Night works, too! It’s funny, we didn’t do it much as kids, and I hope my kids will carry it on with them…but yes, all of those reasons are very valid reasons and concerns not to do it…but yes, people need to be noticed and cared for and we feel so much better when we are a small part of that!

  7. 15

    What a great challenge. I know we are often too prone to put it off, but I am so much happier when we do have guests for dinner.
    Shaina recently posted..Ricotta Gnocchi: Finding Perfection Within ImperfectionsMy Profile

  8. 17

    What a fun idea Kristen! Pinned this so others can see, lots of great tips too!
    Amanda recently posted..Lemon Bars with Sweet Sour Cream ToppingMy Profile

  9. 19

    This is a great challenge! I have been thinking about asking a new family over for dinner, but haven’t gotten around to actually scheduling it yet. We get together with one family every month for a game night (just started that this year), and that has been wonderful, but I read in The Power of a Praying Wife that we should have at least two couple friends. When I read that, I immediately thought of a family that lives down the road from us. Our kids go to the same school, and we see each other occasionally, but I thought it might be nice to get to know them better. So, thanks for this push in the right direction! :) Not sure if we’ll be able to have them over before April 30th, but I’m making it my goal to get it on the calendar by then.

    • 20
      Kristen Duke says:

      On the calendar is a great idea! I’m so happy to help with that last little push, can’t wait to hear about it!

  10. 21

    Just challenged everyone in my Sunday School class (and sent them a link to your awesome post). Thanks for inspiring all of us.
    Angela@JumpingWithMyFingersCrossed recently posted..Mud Puddles, What I Know For Sure & #iPPPMy Profile

  11. 23

    What a grea post and fun challenge. I read this Friday night and we had a couple over last evening. I needed the reminder to stop and take time to visit with and enjoy our friends and neighbors. Had a wonderful evening…thanks for the fun challenge!

  12. 25

    I have new neighbors that just moved in about a month ago and I haven’t made the commitment to have them over, and after reading your challenge I am excited to invite them to dinner. Thanks this is a wonderful idea!

    • 26
      Kristen Duke says:

      Yay, Carrie, I can’t wait to hear about it!!! New neighbors are the best to get to know–clean slates!

  13. 27

    Wow, those are great tips! We don’t often invite people over for dinner, most of the time this is due to time issues. I think that Americans are a lot more open towards inviting people into their homes that they don’t know well (Germany are a bit shy and not all that good at small talk), so that was a very interesting post for me!
    Anja recently posted..DIY Damask Wall Stencils – Tutorial For Our Craft ChallengeMy Profile

  14. 28

    I love this post! My husband and I like to have families over on Sunday after church for dinner. It’s a great opportunity to know our neighbors, and those we go to church with, and for the kids to meet new people as well. I feel like it is a less casual environment and less threatening (if that even makes sense), where everyone just has to be more themselves, but it’s not a pressure situation. It’s awesome. I’m excited you’re doing this!

  15. 30

    The topic of hospitality has been a favorite of mine for years! People are often amazed at all the guests we have come to our home…and no, I am not a perfect homemaker nor a gourmet cook! I am a mother of boys. But it’s been important to me that my children learn to interact with people of all ages, races, handicapped, etc. Now my children are older, my youngest still a teen, but I am so proud of how they now interact with others! Totally worth all the effort it took on my part! Some suggestions for first timers, it’s ok to order in pizza! Ive also suggested inviting someone lonely over even for popcorn and ice water! I could get carried away…lol…but this is just such an important topic and for those who live by the Bible, it’s actually important to entertain!!

    • 31
      Kristen Duke says:

      Thank you for sharing, I love what you have to say, I can learn from you! I agree, PIZZA is totally do-able, one I don’t do enough! I am hoping my kids will benefit from this into life skills, thanks for sharing your experience. Please, get carried away if you have more tips!

  16. 32

    This sounds awesome! May have to do this a couple of times.

Trackbacks

  1. […] places that other vacuums can’t. I also love to entertain, throw parties, and simply invite families over for dinner on a regular basis. One thing that bugs me to no end, is to have crumbs and pieces of tiny garbage […]

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  3. […] over for dinner this next weekend. Kristen Duke over at Capturing Joy with Kristen Duke is having a Invite a Family over for Dinner Challenge.  I really wanted to do this challenge since we have had new neighbors move in and I […]