I had it all planned. When the guests would arrive, how I wanted my heart to feel when they got here, and what I needed to do beforehand. Determined not to become the “frazzled friend” that comes out in me when I host a gathering at my house, I banned myself from Pinterest and my desire for perfect.
I wrote out a timeline and asked a friend if she’d help me host a little girlfriend get-together. Together we would be prepared. Simple appetizers and decor. A few pretty touches. We would get everything ready early, with time to spare and room to breathe. Imagining myself calm and happy when friends arrived, I’d be waiting at the front door ready greet each person.
But all my well-intended plans didn’t go as planned.
A crisis at work kept my husband from helping me get the house clean. Traffic was horrible and my co-host friend got stuck on the other side of town, unable to come early to help me with setup. I was on my own, with three hungry kids piling into the kitchen asking when dad would be home to take them out for pizza.
I was not calm. I was not happy. Things weren’t getting done and I felt myself coming undone.
The kitchen was a mess. Food wasn’t ready. And just as friends started arriving, my son told me our computer wasn’t compatible with our television, which meant streaming videos (a highly anticipated part of our evening) wasn’t going to work.
Deep disappointment and a slight sense of panic came crashing over me. Why do I even try?
In her new book, “Never Unfriended” my friend Lisa-Jo Baker shares how “no one can make us quite as unsure about ourselves as another woman.” Ugggh. I hate that it’s true, but it was for me that night.
I wanted to have friends over, but insecurities tangled up inside me had convinced my heart I needed to be perfect and created the perfect setting and food so that my friends would want to be there, and maybe want to come back. How crazy is that? But it fell so real and true at the time.
The struggle is real, and I adore Lisa-Jo for writing a whole chapter about creating imperfect times and spaces together, because I needed to read it. She reminds us not to wait for our lives and houses to be perfect, because if we do, we might never let anyone come through the door.
Thankfully I took a deep breath and decided to let my “far-from-perfect” reality crash the party that night, and I learned two beautiful frienship truths:
- Being present always trumps being perfect. The most important part of gathering some friends that night was to be “with” them. To be present. To create a place to connect and share our hearts, our stories, our lives. That was still possible.
- Letting friends see my imperfections may be the best gift I can give them. Having a house, food and plans that appear like we have it all-together is not always inspiring; it can be intimidating. As women it’s easy to compare ourselves, our homes, and our party-hosting skills and feel less-than. Maybe someone needed to see how not-all-together I really am. That night, they go to!
Everything didn’t go exactly as planned, but what mattered most did. I got to enjoy my friends and they got to enjoy me, and each other. In the end, that’s all that mattered. And before everyone headed home at midnight, we talked about our next get-together. I even offered to host again – as long as they didn’t mind my house being a mess and me possibly being a lil bit frazzled.
In a world where women can unfriend each other with the swipe of a finger, my friend Lisa-Jo Baker is convinced that choosing instead to believe the best about our friends — is a radical gift.
Starting with the example of the most faithful friend who ever lived—Jesus—in her new book – Never Unfriended – Lisa-Jo offers a beautiful, authentic, real-life step-by-step guide to friendships you can trust. It answers the questions that lurk under the surface of every friendship—What are we afraid of? What can’t we change? And where do we start?—with personal stories and practical tips to help you make the friends, and be the friend, you always wish you’d had.
Join the inCourage Never Unfriended Book Club! Starting April 25, we’ll share a Facebook Live video at 9 p.m. ET (8pm CT/6 pm PT) every Tuesday. Here’s the schedule of who will be joining us as we unpack the book, Never Unfriended:
- April 25 – Ann Voskamp
- May 2 – Holley Gerth
- May 9 – Annie Downs
- May 16 – Crystal Paine
- May 23 – Chrystal Evans Hurst
- May 30 – Jamie Ivey
You guys, this is gonna be so so good! These women are fun and funny and smart and the dearest most incredible kinds of friends. It’s completely free to join this book club, all you need is a copy of Never Unfriended book and sign up here so inCourage can add you to the private Facebook group (where the weekly videos and other encouragement will be shared throughout each week)!