WFMW: Entertaining Even When You’re Reluctant

*Updated with Winners* random linky #’s 57,ย Mary the Kay, 152,ย This Sweet Country Life and 244, A Whisk and a Prayer

I’m reluctant about entertaining. My living areas are tiny and my kitchen is small. Plus, there’s the eating part.

I love food, but my cooking is not an art form.

My love for connecting with people forces me to put all that aside and entertain anyway!

That’s why I love Sandy Coughlin’s blog and new book (!) The Reluctant Entertainer. It gives people like me, hope.

She blows every excuse out of the water and encourages and equips you to connect and grow with the people around you. My favorite part of the book (besides all the AMAZING and easy recipes) is Sandy’s 10 Commandments of Hospitality:

Commandment 1

Hospitality is not about you. It’s about making others feel warm and welcome.

Commandment 2

Plan ahead, be organized, and know your recipe. Learn to delegate.

Commandment 3

Set the mood. Keep ambience and the five senses in mind.

Commandment 4

Avoid perfectionism. Put fear aside-it’s a robber of anything good.

Commandment 5

Share conversation. Foster friendships by keeping things real.

Commandment 6

Demonstrated thriftiness. Buying things at cost or learning to pinch pennies makes entertaining affordable on a budget.

Commandment 7

Don’t apologize. It’s okay to make mistakes. Learn to not bring them to light in from of your guests; it robs your guests of relaxation.

Commandment 8

Be creative. Use what you have. Keep things simple.

Commandment 9

Learn from others. Find mentors and learn to find a healthy balance and keep things real.

Commandment 10

Life impact is everything. Experience intimacy and meaning in sharing a meal and gleaning from other’s lives.

Today, just for WFMW participants, I’m giving away three copies of Sandy’s awesome book! She sent me copy and I love it. If you can’t wait, you can buy it here.

Entertaining (even when it’s reluctant), works for me!

What works for you?


  1. 1


    As a perfectionist I’m learning that if I wait to be hospitable when everything in my house is perfect it will never happen. So much is in the eye of the beholder anyway. Thanks for the reminder, and I think I need this book!

  2. 4


    My husband and I both love to have friends over for dinner, drinks, or just to visit. And we want our kids to grow to feel the same way.

    I am so thankful that he has taught me that things do NOT need to be perfect. It’s more important to have the friends over and enjoy the times versus stressing over your house being perfect and missing out on casual, impromptu gatherings. And even for the planned ones, I try to decorate or do something special… but I also try to do that with a dose of reality mixed in.

    I want my house to be the spot where everyone wants to kick back, relax and just have fun. And so far, I think it has been. :)

  3. 6


    These are great tips. I like to entertain but the perfectionist in me always comes out; and, it trying to get everything just so, I forget that it’s all about the connection and having fun. Thanks for the reminder!

    I hope I win one of these books, it looks awesome!

  4. 7

    VickiS says

    This book is exactly what I need and your post too! I have been wanting to entertain and share my home with others. Commandment 10 speaks to me loudly!! Glad to know I’m not the only one with a tiny house issue! :-)

  5. 10


    I am definitely a reluctant hostess. With 2 small children, what works for me is inviting people over for dessert only. Most people with small kids (which is often whom we invite) are relieved not to have to make it through a full meal at another person’s home anyway.

  6. 11


    Hello Kristen…I know it’s been a while since I’ve left a comment…been real busy with redesigning my blog and I have to remind myself that “I wanted to do this”…ugh! But I also wanted to ask about being able to save your posts to my desktop…have you put some sort of security on your blog so that I can’t right click and save the shortcut to my desktop? Maybe you are just not aware if not?
    But anyhow…just love this book and I can so relate to the size of your home…cause my space is so small…but if you are creative and get rid of your expectations then your family/friends will enjoy what ever you do for them.
    Thanks for hosting this party once again and for the fun giveaway. Fondly, Roberta

  7. 17


    The house we have now is set up for entertaining, but we don’t do nearly enough. Unless 1-2 times a year is enough. :)
    I would love the book.
    Thanks, as always, for hosting.

  8. 19


    My grandma always said, “it doesn’t matter if your tea cup is chipped, what matters is that you invite friends in for tea”. Over the years I have discovered that the most important ingredient to a successful party is a relxed hostess. Seriously! My second rule is to always use plastic when hosting Naval aviators. : )

  9. 20


    We love having people over, but I try not to stress about it. Of course, I want the house to be neat-ish and the food to be OK, but the best part is the people. Most of the people we invite are pretty relaxed, and the ones who aren’t, learn from us.

    A few times we’ve ‘entertained’, and that is a pain because the focus is on presentation and impressing rather than on people.

    Great post!

    Annie Kate

  10. 21


    Oh, I’m not very good at entertaining, either. I’m just not that comfortable with it!

    I’m writing these commandments down, and putting them to good use!

  11. 22


    Sounds like a good book. I love the idea of entertaining, just don’t consider myself a good one. Probably need to do it

  12. 24

    Jane says

    I try not to think about my ugly couches, have a couple of go-to recipes, and make sure to serve yummy dessert : )

  13. 25

    Jenn says

    I love to entertain now that I have learned to let go of my idea of perfect. The people are more important than me or my many hangups!

  14. 26


    Very nice post! When I married into my husbands family, I learned that they like to just drop by, and I have to be ready to entertain whether I am ready…or not!!! this is a great post!!

  15. 27


    Oh, I just love these commandments! They’re things I have to continually remind myself of. It has taken some hard internal work to realize hospitality IS NOT about me, and people will be served even if my house is not perfect.

  16. 29

    Beth says

    I’ve worked on getting better at being happy with the life and home I actually have, not the one I pretend to have. Do I really want someone at my home who doesn’t accept it as it really is? This means a little less dusting and a little less putting away, and in the end a much more relaxed hostess in me.

  17. 30

    Jeanna says

    I love to entertain but I tend to have unrealistic expectations sometimes…I have learned over the years to “cut my losses” and just get to the point where I decide that it’s not going to be perfect. Learning to do this has made a huge difference in me being able to enjoy myself while we are entertaining. By the way, I love Sandy’s blog and would love the opportunity to win her book!

  18. 32


    Thanks for this great giveaway! I definitely let little things keep me from entertaining, so I know this book would help me out. I need to remember that simple is ok. I don’t have to be a gourmet chef in order to have someone over. Remembering the purpose of it all is the most important thing.

  19. 33


    It is strange, but after going through the last 4 years on food stamps and such due to husband’s job loss experience, I have become a much more hospitable person. I don’t let my perfectionism rule my life, and I have been able to entertain with less stress. God has definitely used our trial to strengthen my character!!

  20. 34


    Paper plates works for me. It’s so much easier for me to enjoy my company when I don’t have a pile of dishes when they leave. Sometimes it will just be paper plates for dessert, but it helps in the end.

  21. 36

    Vicki K says

    Your opening paragraphs are something I think in my head a lot! Looking forward to getting this book – one way or another ๐Ÿ˜‰

  22. 39

    Kim says

    What great reminders, entertaining seems to be so stressful – when really it doesn’t have to be! I need to reprogram myself now before it is too late!

  23. 43


    I NEED that book. Thanks for a chance. I love to entertain, but am a total wreck before hand and need to get the skill set to make it go more smoothly.

  24. 44

    Cheryl says

    I would love to have people over more but I’m paralyzed by stupid excuses, like my home is too small or I’m a crappy cook. I think this book could give me the confidence boost I need to just do it already.

  25. 46

    elizabethk says

    I am learning to let go and entertain ๐Ÿ˜‰ I too fuss about all that I do not have (space, entertainment for extra children – fine dish ware – on and on) and get overly thinking about all entertaining entails instead of JUST inviting people over. It really is about fostering friendship, and helping people be comfortable. Thanks for the opportunity to win — and if not winning, I am definitely getting this book!

    ๐Ÿ˜€ ek

  26. 49

    Jen Kerr says

    I would love this book! I have turned into a Reluctant Entertainer since having kids and I’m ready to get my feet wet again! Thanks!

  27. 52


    What works for me is CHILLING THE HECK OUT! I’m new to this whole entertaining thing, so when we do have people over, I make sure we are as casual as possible. That way, if something goes wrong…whatever. We’re just hanging out, right? Right.

  28. 53


    I love the tip about not pointing out your “mistakes”. I do that in a self-depricating way, but I never realized it might make people feel uncomfortable. Instead, it would be a better witness to be OK with exactly how things are. Why am I so caught up with being perfect – or at least, being viewed as perfect!?!?!

  29. 54

    Peggy says

    How did you crawl in my head? You are exactly describing my anxiety towards entertaining. I unfortunately have certain friends who do not get invited to my super-casual get togethers because for them, entertaining is a competitive sport. Blech. Thanks for acknowledging the rest of us!

  30. 55

    Carley says

    Sounds like a great book! I like Commandment #1: Hospitality is not about you. I think a lot of women often get caught up in a one-up-manship mentality and spend more time worrying about how they present themselves to others instead of spending time on relationships.

  31. 58


    I would so LOVE a chance at this… I love Sandy and her blog and have felt at home over and over learning from her.

    I love you, too Kristen. Thanks for the opportunity to win one of these books.

  32. 62

    Wendi says

    I am excited about this book. I have been reading about it on her website. Maybe one day I will actually be reading her book in my own hands. Thanks for the chance. :)

  33. 63


    I love to cook and prepare food for people, but I get hung up when it comes to our home “not being clean enough”. I’ve always had a real problem with inviting people into our home when everything wasn’t “just so”, and since it’s rarely “just so”, I know that I’ve missed out on many opportunities. It’s definitely a weakness/character flaw for me that I am trying to work through. The book sounds great. Thank you for the opportunity to win it.

  34. 64

    Shelly in Kansas City says

    I would love to win a copy of Sandy’s book. I’m Queen of Making Excuses to not entertain at our current house.

  35. 66

    Nancy H says

    I am definitely a very, very “Reluctant Entertainer” and always find an excuse to not entertain. I would love to win this book!

  36. 67

    kathy T says

    I think I feel more comfortable entertaining in the summer -summer always seems so relaxed, less formal and everyone just enjoys hanging out-Food is usually cooked on the grill . I need to get over my reluctance of entertaining year round

  37. 68


    Oh a WFMW with a GiveAway that I am dying for… and I don’t have a post to post… I wrote a series on hospitality this year and my hospitality path from being a recluse to having an open home!!! God works in very mysterious ways!!! I am going to link up a past post but it was the first in the series… and it is relevant to the topic!!!

  38. 69


    Hi Kristen, This sounds like the book for me. I really struggle with this area and want to so badly to be hospitable and invite people into my home but I always have an excuse! Would love to win a copy.

  39. 70


    We just had a Ministry Wives class on Hospitality last night! I would love to get this book…I am a very reluctant entertainer simply because I worry too much and my house always get so messy! I have 4 boys that are awesome at dirty-ing up my home and when you any any other children to that mix it can get pretty bad!

  40. 72


    Mine is all about the food! Not so much in the presentation but in it must taste good and there should be plenty of it. I’d love a copy of that book.

  41. 73


    Our house has been a disaster for many years making it impossible to invite people in. That is slowly changing now and I hope to have my family here for Christmas this year! God has been speaking to me about hospitality and my lack of it, so I am working toward being better at this. Thanks for this post!

  42. 74


    She has some good tips. It sounds like an interesting tip. I actaully love to have company (not that my home or cooking or anything else is perfect, but just cause I love people). I was very blessed to grow up in a home where guests were very common and normal. My mom didn’t stress over company and it wasn’t fancy but people enjoyed coming anyway.

  43. 75


    What wonderful tips! We enjoy entertaining a lot in our home. But I often find myself frustrated if things aren’t perfect. My home isn’t perfectly clean and neat. The food isn’t something fancy and perfectly cooked. They hold me back from being able to fully enjoy my guests- which is the real reason I have them over, to enjoy their company!!

  44. 76

    Cindy says

    After working and doing ministry 7 days a week for way too long, I took some time off and turned my house upside down from Memorial Day weekend through July 4 weekend…gleaning, reorganizing, cleaning & reclaiming my home! I now covet my personal time again but still struggle to keep a healthy balance…my goal is to start baking, cooking and entertaining…and host a women’s group in my home, something I have wanted to do for a very long time… :)

  45. 77

    Ana says

    Sandy makes everything seem so simple. In her book she has given us a road map for easy and fearless entertaining. I’m still taking baby steps when it comes to inviting people over but I’m hoping that if I read Sandy’s ten commandments long enough and commit them to memory, they will sink in and I won’t allow the fear of entertaining overpower me.

  46. 79

    linda payne says

    I like to entertain, but I am very reluctant. I just hate the asking. Once I’m in the groove I’m ok, its just getting started. And I have a serious perfection problem. And the tiny house problem.

  47. 80

    Jen Gregar says

    It seems like the art of entertaining has been lost these days, but it doesn’t mean that people don’t long for it to occur. I often find myself bogged down by a lot of different excuses and fears and this book really sounds like it could help. If I don’t win, I definitely will be looking for it at our local library (maybe I will even put a request in for it if they don’t have it as I’m sure it would be a great benefit to others as well!) Thanks!

  48. 83

    Rebecca says

    My home is very small, we homeschool and our house is very lived in so I am always very reluctant to have people over. I am also a perfectionist so that just spells disaster. I would love to win this maybe I could get some tips to overcome my insecurities.

  49. 84

    Jackie says

    I love the Reluctant Entertainer blog site and would love to have a copy of her book…oh, so much to learn but mostly just to step forward and do it….thanks for the great giveaway and the opportunity to win this book

  50. 85

    Tamrah T. says

    I have learned so much over this past year following Reluctant Entertainer! I’m learning how NOT to be reluctant, baby steps, but I’m learning… she’s such an inspiration to me. Thank you for the chance to win her book and learn more ;0)

  51. 86


    I am a procrastinating hostess! I wait til the last minute to send invites, clean the house, plan everything! I am learning a lot through different blogs but getting too many ideas.

  52. 87

    Pam says

    I love to entertain but talk myself out of it because I want everything to be perfect. The book sounds great.

  53. 88


    That sounds like a great book! I totally relate to Commandment 7. We used to have a hole in our dining room ceiling where the bathtub had leaked, and I just could not stop myself from pointing it out to every guest and apologizing for it–whereas if I’d just not mentioned it, they might well not have noticed it!

  54. 89


    It’s perfect time to make some plans for the longer term and it is time to be happy. I have learn this publish and if I may I desire to counsel you few fascinating issues or suggestions. Perhaps you can write subsequent articles referring to this article. I want to read even more issues about it!

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