Last night was my annual ornament party.
I started hosting this party on the principle of ⇢ Invite Her.
I wanted a way for people to eat and drink and talk without pressure and make friends and feel wanted during the holidays.
The holidays suck for a lot of people. It need not suck worse because we see all the fun things we can’t (or worse were not invited to) attend.
I’d have loved to have included a group photo, but we were having too much fun for anyone to remember to take it.
I’d have loved to include a picture of my entry way that had so many pairs of boots you couldn’t see the floor, but we were too busy drinking hot chocolate (& Bailey’s).
Alas, the only picture I have left that conveys how many people were in my house last night is a picture of EVERY SINGLE CUP I OWN dirty.
Every. Single. Cup.
I’m not joking when I tell you I put coffee in a measuring cup this morning because sheer tiredness and laziness.
And I’m not going to take that picture because I refuse to show you a picture of my kitchen that way…even though it’s mostly clean because one of the gals helped me scrub last night.
So instead I’ll just show you the food spread because it was freaking delicious and I poured my heart into that, just like my grandparents taught me.
I invited literally every female in Germany I know, and a handful of ones I didn’t.
I had a girlfriend ask me one time how I make friends. She needed advice on how to meet people.
I didn’t know how to give it because we were already in the military, and making friends in the military is different.
We kind of just look at each other and say, “Well you look showered so you are probably a fine person. Want to be my emergency contact?” This is generally 12 minutes deep into the relationship.
I think I’ve been like, 17 children’s emergency contact in the last five years, and all of those kids parents I knew for less than a day.
We don’t “date” our friends like I remember having to do in the civilian world before we jumped into this lifestyle.
But like the principle of the ornament party, the advice I gave my friend who asked was this –
Invite her to sit and stay.
Invite her to eat and to talk.
Invite her to join.
Invite her whether you know her or not.
Don’t find it weird when she talks or doesn’t talk or over shares or makes weird faces the first time you meet.
Find it human.
Whatever it is she is doing, she has probably put a lot of effort into it, and it’s very likely her best foot forward.
Invite her to be with you. And your people.
Invite her without categorizing or compartmentalizing her.
Invite her without deciding for her if she is a good fit for your friends, or if she can or cannot hang because she has kids, or does this or believes in that, or because she is a perpetually loud or sad or whatever kind of human.
Most of us are doing our best to figure out where we belong, and to whom we belong, and why we belong.
She is too.
She’s probably in a Fight Club you know nothing about. Because the first rule of Fight Club is that we don’t talk about Fight Club.
Invite her out of her Fight Club and into your space.
It’s hard. To be new. To meet people. To grow into ourselves.
It’s hard to do it around people, but my God it’s so much worse to do it alone.
Invite her to do it in your presence.
Most of us are struggling to figure out where we fit, and in that perpetually awkward stage we are still trying to market ourselves to other humans because we need each other.
So invite her. Even if she isn’t your favorite person, invite her. She probably needs a human.
More importantly create an environment where she can feel wanted.
Make her feel wanted when she is sassy or tired, overworked or covered in peanut butter.
Better yet feed her when she arrives.
Giving food fills the belly. Feeling wanted fills the soul.
We all just want to be wanted.
Even when we suck.
And we have all sucked as humans before, and somewhere down the line we will likely suck again.
So invite her.
The pretty one with the perfect Instagram. The overly opinionated one with off the wall ideas. The overworked mom with paste in her hair. The one whose marriage is falling apart and is telling her story on repeat. The one with a hobby you care nothing about. The lonely one who sits in the corner and says nothing.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not promoting we abandon all boundaries in friendships. You still gotta have your safe people.
But invite her so that she can find her place too.
People who have people tend to be better people.
So invite her.
Invite her whether she comes or not.
Invite her over and over again.
Invite her to dirty your glasses and eat your food and leave her shoes on your floor.
Give her so much you are left drinking coffee from a measuring cup.
Just invite her.