About the Author

Sandy Coughlin is a wife & mom to three active teenagers, & author of The Reluctant Entertainer (Bethany House 2010). Based upon her inspiring blog, the book helps restore the lost art of hospitality and in the process helps women break free from isolation and into connection and deeper relationships...

(in)side DaySpring: things we love
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(in)side DaySpring:
things we love
& you will too!
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Reader Interactions


  1. So in my family, my DH and I happen to have the biggest home. My late-stepmother and I talked and worked out who would do what holidays. When my sister moved to the area we shared how we had been doing things and invited her to “take” which ever holiday she wanted. She chose none (scrooge for a hubby). I continued to have Thanksgiving, Christmas and the majority of family birthday parties at my home. Whenever there was long-distance family visiting, I made sure to invite all the local family. We always tried to make everyone feel welcome. For Thanksgiving, everybody brought something, and we were careful to keep budgets in mind when requesting specific dishes.

    A month after my step-mother passed away, my older brother came to visit. My father specifically mentioned he did not want “mass chaos” which I interpreted to mean my nephew’s little girls (they were a little wild and uncontrolled back then). So I agonized over how to handle the situation and in the end called my sister and invited her, but not her son or his kids.

    She was very upset, even though she told me I had every right to invite whomever I wanted to my house. We have pretty much been estranged since then (almost 3 years). I told her I didn’t think it was fair for her to be upset for the One time I didn’t invite the family, when in the 5 years she lived here she only had us over for dinner ONCE. Didn’t matter, I am still the bad guy. Was there a better way I could have handled this situation?

    Anyway, thanks for reading my story!

    • Hi Jen, I think you handled it fine and maturely. It’s interesting when we are the hospitable ones, we still get “zinged.” The mature thing is to move on, create the memories in your home that you want to make for your family, and continue to reach out to others. We won’t always please everyone. Thanks for sharing your story!

  2. How timely!! Thank you for sharing!!
    My husband worked in upper management for a company for 19 years, and was never once invited to the company party that all the others were invited to. Although he said it didn’t bother him, it bothered me. A LOT. One time I was told it was because of the dept. that he worked in…they were never included…yet they were depended on for keeping the business running smoothly, and if not for them their profits would not have been nearly as high.
    In later years, empty nesting, we discovered the joy of making friendships with international students, college age kids that left their home country, and homes, to attend college here. They were always wanting to experience the culture, and make new friends, and often they longed for “parents” in their life here. It was an easy way to welcome strangers to our home, and encourage people we did know to come and influence these students’ lives.
    Now that we’ve moved (hubby has a new job – and yes, we did get invited to the party, but couldn’t attend this year) we are looking for new ways to build friendships and “practice hospitality” in our new community. It will take time, but I know that He has a plan, and we just need to remain faithful and trust Him in it…
    Christmas Blessings…

    • Hi, Marina. Sometimes it’s the painful situations that make us take a “new” path and teach us and help us grow. I love your hospitable spirit. I bet you’re going to have some amazing experiences ahead … Thanks for sharing!

  3. Sure, it’s happened to us. A family in our church had a big block party and practically announced in Sunday School how the entire congregation was there. But we weren’t invited. We were new so I wasn’t expecting to be invited to every church member’s party, but I thought it was a bit rude to talk about it like that.

    What I took from that (and other similar situations) is that while a party is a party, it’s also sort of a private event. If there are invites, you shouldn’t broadcast it in places where some may not have been invited.

  4. I try to follow your mantra…and advice other’s the same…..make your own party! Each Christmas we do a “Tree Tour/Progressive Dinner” . I thought of this idea one year and invited two friends, and it became one of our favorite nights of the season. Some of our mutual friends wanted in on this SO badly, that the next year I encouraged them to have their own, but caved and told them they could ALL finish at my house for dessert. It just wasn’t at all what I wanted. Our peaceful little 3 family event turned chaotic. I told them all in the new year that it was a one time thing and encouraged them to do their own tree tours. We’ve continued on with ours and I am looking forward to it once again this year. You just can’t invite everyone, to, everything. Plus I believe that we need to host things and invite people TO get invited. Feeling left out…start planning something!

  5. I just (sorta) had the opposite situation. I had a large Thanksgiving Dinner Party and there were so many people to invite, but so little space. In the end, I ended up cramming more people in, in order not to create the whole “why wasn’t I invited” situation, because I definitely know how it feels to NOT be invited. Thanks for the post!

  6. I know the feeling of not being invited. I’m 40 now but it goes back to my childhood. My parents were divorced and at Christmas and Thanksgiving when my sister and I were to go to our Dad’s house it had to be planned around my Step-Mothers plans. We could not go onThanksgving Day because that was ‘her’ family’s day. We could not go on Christmas Eve because it was ‘her’ family’s event (big gift exchanged from names drawn on Thanksgiving). On Christmas Day we could never go before lunch time because her girls were home and we could come after they left for their Father’s. I have been estranged from both of my parents for 12 years now. My ex-husband and I lived a 24 hour drive from his family so no holidays spent with them. This year my children were with their Father onThanksgiving day. I am a quiet person, I was raised to never ask to invite yourself to a party. But I knew I could not sit home alone but the invites were not there. I have good friends but not all know the hurt inside of me these days about a lot of things. So I asked my friend at church if I could come to her home with her family and she was so happy to have me come over! It was a great day! The day after Thanksgiving I had my kids back and we invited my best friends and their kids (my kids best friends) to our house and I cooked a big traditional Thanksgiving! We had a wonderful day of laughter, fellowship and eating! It didn’t matter the day it happened it just matters that it happened!

    • Hi, Lisa. Good for you for “creating your own happiness.” Really, too many of us sit back and complain and feel hurt, instead of taking responsibility and moving ahead. Amazing how pain from a childhood can affect us as adults. It’s what we do with the pain (forgiveness) that changes us. Thank you for sharing your story!

  7. When I was growing up, kids didn’t have to hand out birthday party invites to the entire class but usually when a party was being thrown, only a handful of kids would be invited anyway. In 4th grade, my best friend and I had a falling out and for her birthday party, she invited the entire class – except for me. It’s the one and only time I’ve been left off the guest list of a party and I felt terrible. I’m very aware of who I invite on parties now, being careful not to exclude anyone!

    • Hi, Lisa. I still find it hard to “not exclude anyone,” because you can’t invite everyone LOL! But I hear what you are saying. It’s too bad that the Mother (in 4th grade) didn’t step in and guide her daughter. Thanks for sharing your story! 🙂

  8. yup, i think we all have at some point. i do understand that there is always a limit, but really, why not me? usually i can let it slide pretty easily without being bothered by it. plus, usually i don’t need one more thing to do or one more thing to go to, but it’s always nice when someone wants you to come and makes the effort to invite you.

  9. Great topic! I think everyone has been in that situation before, either the one not invited or the hostess who just can’t invite everyone (or sometimes overlooked someone accidently…this happens too). I think the key is in how we “handle” those situations. For instance, if you throw a party and you know you can’t invite everyone, but find yourself in a place where people you couldn’t invite are (say your Sunday school class) do your best to keep the fact low key. You might say something to the effect, “I’m so glad you enjoyed it” and then move on quickly. I’ve also come to realize that things change as we get older and our circumstances change. For instance, the cul-de-sac behind us used to include us in their holiday gatherings as our girls played with some of those children. Well, as the girls got older and involved with other friends, we didn’t see them as much and hence, didn’t get invited. And, while a lot of our neighbors and friends are our age, their children are younger. We started our family earlier than they did. We’ve excepted those changes and moved on.

    • I love your advice and story. It’s true that our lives change and situations and invites change. I try to rotate different people through different parties that we have in our home. And being tactful about talking about a party in front of others is so important. The older we are, hopefully the wiser we become!

  10. My first taste as an adult and feeling left out of a party was when I wasn’t invited to certain weddings. After planning my own, I am finally able to put things into perspective that not everyone can make it on the guest list. I apply this to regular parties, not just weddings.

    • Hi, Paige. I love your mature attitude. Being a party-planner myself, you do have to put limits on size. This time of year I also think about Christmas cards. Do you really send them out to every single person that you know, or do you have to put limits (postage is not cheap) on how many to send? Again, I think we need to open our homes and create wonderful memories for our children, even if we miss other parties. 🙂

  11. A thorny issue. We like to do a very informal holiday brunch/open house and can accomodate more people that way. Most just stop by for a short while so with some coming and some going it makes having lots of folks in a small house work.

    As an adult I really don’t have a problem with inviting or being invited. I do worry about the issue with kids tho. They are so sensitive and a “hurt” can seemingly last a lifetime.


    • Hi, Darla. Since a young age, I’ve always told my kids that they would not be invited to every party. And that sometimes it would hurt. And believe me, there were many parties they were not invited to. I think it’s our job as parents to be good role-models with this touchy subject, to let the kid “feel” the pain, but then to guide them on. Thank you for sharing. It is a thorny issue at times! 🙂

  12. Whenever friends of ours get together without us, I feel left out. Even if I know full well that I am busy when they are getting together, I still want to be included. It really does come down to wanting to feel important. I want to be everyone’s best friend and the reality that I cannot possibility be that to everyone or can that happen in return is one God is teaching me this year. While it is freeing and helps in the relationships that matter most, it is still painful to be left out.

    • Hi, Tristi. I’ve also learned that lesson (or continue to) and totally agree. We all want to be loved! I remember a season in my life where being left out caused jealousy and resentment inside of me. I really had to pray through that season and it was not easy. I finally was able to move on. Now that season is a milestone in my life. I remember the pain. I remember the forgiveness. I remember the freedom. I remember the growth. Thank you for sharing!

  13. Been there…too many times. Right now we have a situation in our church where the Pastor has invited the deacons and staff with their spouses to his house for a party. He keeps announcing it in church. There are only 5 couples, so why can’t he and his wife get the information to them at another time instead of announcing it to everyone?

  14. Ha- we’ve had this discussion in recent months! We’ve been the ones inviting and inviting and it’s been a little discouraging at times that others don’t seem to extend any invites. We had to stop and make sure we were not inviting with the motive of reciprocity, but truly wanting to minister. And even though we’re pretty confident that our motives were pure, it still stings a little when you think, “Is there something wrong with us that people don’t want to build a relationship with us?” Age doesn’t bar us from those types of feelings, does it!?

    • Hi, Tara. I know you are so hospitable and I’ve been blessed by reading your stories on my blog for years now. I’ve had discussions with friends who reach out, but the reciprocation rarely happens. I love how you stepped back and re-evaluated your motives. So important. I’ve written about the fears (joy busters) that women have, and reasons why we don’t practice hospitality (in my new book). I’m pretty those fears sneak into our lives, and that’s why we don’t reciprocate. You are right, age does not change the feelings that we have. Thanks for sharing, girl!

  15. Hmmmm, I don’t think I can recall a specific event I was excluded from…but I know what it’s like to be excluded on a regular basis my a group of people. (Actually, by one person who influences others.) I have to pray on a very regular basis that hate and bitterness don’t take root in my heart; that’s the only effective way to deal with it that I’ve found!

    I love to feed people though, and since my apartment is fairly small, I fill that need by bringing treats to work whenever I can!

    • Hi, Dawn. I think your last line says it all. You’re basically taking your disappointments and turning them for good by reaching out to others. I love it! Thanks for sharing.

  16. I can’t think of a specific instance where I have felt slighted, but I often worry about causing others to feel that way. Because my husband is a pastor, we have many friends through our church as well as other circles. We have a small home, and there is no way that we can invite everyone when we want to have a dinner, so we try our best to be open and sensitive to the feelings of others. I think that because of this, we are less sensitive when we are the ones who aren’t invited. We know that we generally shouldn’t be offended, and I think in some way that helps us to feel less guilty when we can’t invite everyone.

    • Crystal, this is excellent advice for all readers today:

      We know that we generally shouldn’t be offended, and I think in some way that helps us to feel less guilty when we can’t invite everyone.

      We cannot always please everyone. Or invite everyone! Thanks for sharing your story!

  17. My heart goes out to the many that can relate to your post Sandy.
    We all have stories that have left us hurt… that have hindered us from entertaining with open arms. Thank you for putting this subject out there… because your advise to open up their homes to others is going to open up their hearts and begin the healing process.
    And I would LOVE to get my hands on your book! ha
    Happy Holidays Sandy!

  18. A side issue that connects with this….inviting people by writing on their FACEBOOK wall, forgetting this will appear in the news feed of other FB friends. A lot of “left-outedness” is generated by this. Someone writes, “Hey, when can we get together?” and the other writes “How’s Wednesday?”, “Where and what time is good for you?”, etc. and really this would be better in a direct message to the person.

    • Especially if it’s a family event that “everyone” is invited to, but one person got forgotten.

      We do much more inviting than being invited. Most of the time, I don’t care where we get together with people, but just that we do it. I do get left out because we are newish (3 yrs) to town and because my hubby is a pastor.

  19. I can relate to this. I’ve had my feelings hurt at times. Yet, I know the party is the givers to invite as they please. I have the same opportunities as they do. Thank you for the encouragement to get out there and invite others to MY home. I’d love to have your book to read. Thanks!

    • Oh, such good, wise words …

      “The party is the givers to invite as they please. I have the same opportunities as they do.”

      Sometimes we get too wrapped up in ourselves, and our feelings. Both joy stealers of creating our own wonderful memories. Thanks for sharing, Southern Gal!

  20. I have come to a place in life where I am much more content when I don’t get invited than I used to be. But I still feel the hurt when others go over and over the event in front of those who were not a part. It had has made me much more careful about how I handle these types of situations.

    I feel blessed just to spend time with my family – everything else on top of that is just sprinkles 🙂

    • Erin, I love your maturity.

      “content when I don’t get invited” …

      I’m much more content now, too. I don’t feel I have to be invited to every party (and I am not!)

      Thanks for sharing!

  21. A few years ago, a friend started cutting me out of her life. It was pretty clear last year when New Year’s Eve rolled around and she and her new husband hosted a party, that we were no longer a part of “the group.” Literally every person we had been close to in college was invited to their party — except for us. I wouldn’t be honest if I said that it doesn’t *still* sting. She was a bridesmaid at my wedding (less than two years ago) and I am still having trouble figuring this out.

    So I am in the middle here. Yes, I have been hurt. No, I haven’t used my hurt for good. I’m trying to learn what to do with it.

    • Elizabeth, thanks for sharing your sensitive story and I’m sorry for your pain. I can feel it through your words! We’ve had a NYE party for years now, and so I don’t get “stuck” with a tradition that cannot change, I’ve rotated some couples in and out. Each year I invite new people. I also encourage other’s to start their own NYE traditions. This year we are not going to have our party, instead we were invited to one. I’m just saying this to possibly help you to think about “how” you can move through the pain and create some new wonderful memories for your family. Feel free to email me, I’d love to help you further. 🙂

  22. I’ve been hurt. At my church there have been a lot of parties for “The Senior Class” or “All The Senior Girls.” I am a senior girl and have not been invited to any of them except for one that my best friend was hosting unless you also count the one someone was asked me if I was excited for the party not realizing that I hadn’t actually been invited (needless to say I did not show for that one). I did try to have party once, but only my best friend showed up.

  23. I have a different situation – I am often the invitee, but rarely the inviter.

    I view my home as my family’s private sanctuary from the world. I have tremendous difficulty in inviting others into that safe space. I almost feel a sense of violation, a great exposure, when I have company over. I can’t relax and I constantly feel judged.

    I am trying to understand why I feel this way, and it has been a difficult (and reluctant at times) journey.

    It’s ironic – some of my favorite memories have been at gatherings at others’ homes. I want to be able to impart those special memories in mine. Perhaps taking a look at your book will impart on me some tips on how I can open my home to others.

    • Hi, Christina. I think you will be blessed by reading my book. You can also email me if you’d like to talk further about this.

      One thing I mention in my book about entertaining is this: Are we having others in to our home to impress them, or to bless them? Giving of myself to others, by inviting them in, takes my mind off of myself. Being able to forge new relationships has become one of the greatest gifts in life. It also teaches my kids about hospitality, so when they grow up and have their own families, they will know how to reach out. Again, taking their minds off of themselves and giving to others. It’s cyclical.

      Thank you again for sharing your story.

    • Christina, I used to feel exactly the same way, there were times when I didn’t even want to answer the door, suspecting that it was a friend or relative that just happened to drop by. Whenever someone visited us, I used to think all the time, why aren’t you in your own home? You have a home don’t you? 🙂
      These feelings passed over time, when I started caring more about my home and inviting people that I really liked, not just the ones I had to. But I think the biggest change was when I actually started liking myself. Working on that will sure help.
      And when I wanted to start entertaining, RE was a tremendous help!

  24. Years ago I entertained all the time and now with a smaller house and being hours away from family it’s just not happening as much. Everyone acts too busy to be bothered anymore. So tired of the whole social media environment where people can’t even pick up the phone anymore. Don’t even get me started on texting…people are so disconnected these days and yet they think they are in the middle of it all because they get a lot of text messages. So sad…really! So we concentrated on getting together with family once a month and enjoying them while we can be together.

    • Hi, Roberta. You hit a “hot” subject here. I think because of social media, we have to force ourselves even more to have “real” relationships. (Not through FB, texting, email, etc.) Thanks for bringing this up — I think many can relate! 🙂

  25. Thank you for your reminder that we need to teach our children to get over the disappointment quickly. As adults we can feel that rejection just like a middle school student… Your book sounds great. I’ve been learning the difference between “entertaining” and hospitality.
    It is our first year in a new state so we can’t have our annual Christmas open house with all our friends (some years it was BIG-100!) It was such a special tradition that I’m contemplating having a small open house for our neighbors and new church friends but I wonder if anyone would come. I’d better decide soon!

  26. I have often felt “left out” and have definitely taken it personally at times, “no body likes me, everybody hates me guess I’ll go eat worms” adult moments.
    I think I am learning not to take it so personally anymore and how to do some of my own reaching out. The key for me is to make sure I’m not rejecting someone just because I at some point felt rejected.

  27. I have had my feeling hurt a time or two by not being invited to a friends for dinner, however I always think back to my own dinner parties. I want to invite everyone, however it is just not possible! I like to think that I was on the extended list and they just weren’t able to invite everyone, but for sure will be on the next dinner roster!

  28. I have been in this place recently. I was invited out to lunch, the group changed locations and never told me, and my friend didn’t receive my text until after lunch. It was hurtful and I certainly felt like an outsider at that moment. I am a hesitant entertainer so I would be very interested in reading your book. Thanks for the encouragement today!

    • Hi, Hannah. That would hurt. I’m hoping it was a large group and that it was an honest mistake by your friends. Thank you for sharing! The book is perfect for “hesitant” entertainers! 🙂

  29. I’ve been hurt by the lack of invitation – for sure! In our society, it seems so hard to really connect with others, so I do try to open my home and invite others. Sometimes then I’m hurt by who DOESN’T come! Oh I’m depraved!

    Thank you for sharing and I would really LOVE your book!

    • Hi, Missy. We’ve all had to decline a party, haven’t we? I think it’s good to get a number of people in your mind, of how many you want to attend. As people say yes or no, keep inviting until you get that number. Make the party what you want it to be and not a bummer because people can’t come (if that makes sense). Great comment and thanks for sharing!

  30. TOTALLY, I am on the OUTS right now, a group of people i wanted to be in the clique with totally rejected me, and i am not invited, it hurts but some of it is my fault. So what can I do, i wasn’t told or taught so now i’m feeling like the outcast. well i AM the outcase, there was a season i was included, but because i am different and not a part of the clique i am usually feeling left out, I will try to take your advice, but sometimes i do wonder if it’s worth all the time and effort, their definately seems to b an IN crowd even in the church world and certain expectations that have to be met, the whole come as you are sometimes doesn’t seem to fly. so I will try to have a party of my own with my fellow outcasts, thanks.

    • Church can bring a sense of pain to many, when in reality it should be a place of healing. Funny how that works. I like how you take responsibility here: Some of it is my fault. Do you know how life would be different for so many if we’d take a look at how we’re doing relationships? I hope you take my advice and email me and let me know how it goes! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  31. We’ve recently started being more intentional about opening up our home and hosting gatherings, but I’ve run into the “space” issue. I struggle with not being able to invite everyone I’d like to include, but the numbers start to add up very quickly. Thanks for the reminder this holiday season!

    • Hi, Ashley. And you don’t have to invite “everyone.” LOL! I certainly can’t either. Start small — 3-4 people. Sometimes those are the most intimate times when you have a smaller party. Enjoy! 🙂

  32. Last year, after months of praying about a situation with some of the ladies at our church, I brought a few issues to the table. It wasn’t pretty, and as I suspected (and prayed about) some of the women were offended and judgemental. And as a result I was completely left out of church functions.My family was not even invited to the Christmas Party, which I had planned and was a part of in previous years. I was dumbfounded by the way I (and my husband and children) were treated , and as a result we ended up switching churches. It was a hard season in my life. But one that the Lord layed on my heart to try to resolve. It made me a much stonger Christian, and in the end the choices I made were the best ones for me and my family. But the hurt of not being included will resonate with me for awhile. Although I have forgiven them as well as myself, there are still remnants of heartache.

    • Even though we forgive, you are right … there are remnants of heartache. I admire how your family moved on and you grew from the experience. Now you are a wiser woman and can share with others. Standing up for what is right is not easy. Being pleasers will get us no where, either. Thank you for sharing your story (and a lesson of forgiveness). I hope it resonates with others, Liz! 🙂

  33. Great topic. I have felt both sides on this issue. As a mom of three kids, we’ve of course, had to set limits on birthday parties, and I always feel bad about leaving someone out. When we moved to a small town not knowing anyone here, we often felt on the outside. People don’t try to exclude, but they already have their groups of friends or relatives they hang out with. I love your reminder to “create your own party”. It really does come down to us – we can be the hospitable one, instead of waiting for it to come to us. After many years, I’m still working on that one!

    • Same kind of situtation here – three kids, new in town – and I love to have people over, but when I’ve invited and invited and planned and no one comes, that’s really disappointing, I’ve tried different events – dinner, lunch, brunch, playdates …

    • I hear all the time that when you move to a new town, it’s tough. Thanks for sharing and being authentic with readers. I have lived in the same town for almost 50 years. I’d love to hear other women’s advice on this topic 🙂 Email me and tell me how it goes if you “create your own party!” :))

  34. ‘Tis the season to be left out, fa la la la la! I think we’ve all been there, on both sides of the fence. What I loved was when you wrote about the BIG party we’re all invited to – that’s perspective!

  35. Also, due to certain factors, i have been shut out from things kind of like the lepers in the bible, i remember attending a church really where it was very inclusive, but not everything. So I mean I learned how to get along with the others on the outs, i guess the thing is to go back to God and have a party of your own, He said He invited the blind and lame to the party so sometimes it isn’t about you. Thanks, love to read the book, need the advice.

  36. Great topic, Sandy. I too have felt “left out” at one time or another in my life – it’s painful, but God’s grace has brought me through each and every time. I’ve learned to not only initiate invitations, but to also reach out to my community via volunteer work. It’s sad how many people around us are alone and hurting – we can make a difference in their lives. We may be “forgotten” or “cast aside” by people in our lives, but we don’t need to wallow in our pain. Instead, we can reach out to others who are experiencing what we have felt and help bring the love of Christ into their lives.

  37. Thanks for this message. I have been hurt so many times, it can’t be counted. When I’m really down, I think it is permanent punishment for what happened when I was in first grade, yet I know that is ridiculous. I have tried to overcome that feeling – knowing that it is over-reaction on my part, that many times I turn down big party invitations because I have trouble handling the people/noise, and many times, it’s just an economic decision. It’s still tough when you want to be a part of a group. And I cry for those who get hurt as well.

    I understand that severe hurt that being un-invited causes. My very first birthday party, age 7 – first grade, I was forced to un-invite ONE person because we really had no money and the “party” was over-extended already. That situation is burned permanently in my mind and heart. The extreme pain of the other person, my pain and humiliation, and how I was the one to have to make and announce the decision. To this day, I think of that one person and cry, and ask God to bless her and forgive me. Because of having gone through this, I am over-sensitive….and the extremely few times that I have been able to host a party, I never set people limits. Ever.

    The greatest compliment I ever had on a “party” happened when I (very relunctantly) hosted a theatre cast party at my small house. About 25 college age students and some adults came (an all day and into the evening). When they finally left, one turned to me and said that my house was “comfortable and felt like home.”

  38. Having often been The New One I would wait for the invitations from those well established there (wherever there was), so that we could get to know one another- being The New One. Rarely did they come. Instead I found myself doing the inviting and carefully watching out for other newbies that were being left out. As a counselor, I think this book might be very helpful to share with other gals feeling left out, or maybe needing to realize that there ARE ladies being left out? :o)

  39. I’ve been on both sides before, but the party I remember most was one I hosted. Our house is small so I invited a few friends from church, but I also invited my brother and his wife. I had no idea it would create a problem with my other sibling who is married with two small children, plus they were out of town at the time of the party. I felt like such the bad guy! I’ve learned my lesson!!

  40. Great post. Part of the reason I don’t host a gathering is because I don’t want to exclude anyone. Once the invite list becomes too large I give up the idea completely.

  41. We go to a (very)small church and having some sort of party can sometimes be awkward. There are some whose idea of fellowship and entertaining is having everyone piled into their house one night a year and they talk about how much entertaining they do. We go, but sometimes we leave feeling like it was just a night of superficial talk (not to mention the many interruptions to resolve kids behaviour 🙂 We choose to have smaller groups and get to know people better but I find I have to seek the one’s I want to invite out privately to ask them in case others overhear and get offended they weren’t asked. We also have 4 college kids come for dinner every Wednesday night before our Bible Study. That is one of my most favorite meals. I love listening to their stories, hearing how their week is going and finding out if they have any needs that we can help them with. Like you’ve said many times, entertaining isn’t about how big your house is, how many you have over at one time, but about sharing what God has given you and being a mutual blessing and encouragement to each other. Thanks for bringing up all this topics and opening them up for comment. I love your posts and reading the comments too.
    Have a blessed holiday season.

  42. Well, I can actually think of more than one ocassion we felt we should have been invited. The one that stung the most was when the event and lack of invitation was within the family!! But, what I learned from it, was this – I was not aware of the ins and outs of the atmosphere or intention of the get together. And, actually, it was a difficult time for my husband and kids – we were in recovery mode from a severe health issue – perhaps they didn’t invite because they knew we would come even if it was a bit of a stretch for us. Who knows – who cares?!!! It really doesn’t matter. When I stepped out of myself, I could accept that their event had nothing to do with their relationship with me – unless I allowed it to be.
    I think the topic is a great one – and one that we need to take to our children. So often we advise our kids but don’t really give them the verbage to deal with it or real life examples of how we dealt with it – correctly or not!

  43. What a great post. It is so TRUE!! We have been on all sides of the coin. Sometimes we find that as leaders, we don’t get invited to as much, or other times we are invited to several things (especially New Years) and it’s hard to say no without someone feeling bad because we went somewhere else. Our girls have sometimes discovered that while they have many friends, they aren’t always invited to things. I venture to guess that one reason is that when you hold to higher standards people don’t want to feel awkward.

    When not invited, it does hurt a bit but we must get over it and like you said, plan something else but also realize that not everyone can be invited to EVERYthing.

    We’ve had many talks with our girls about not feeling guilty when they can’t invite ALL their friends to their parties.

    I have many times invited my dad and sisters family to holidays but they have never come, nor have we really been invited there. I’ve learned to become okay with that.

    On another spectrum, we recently decided to begin transitioning another couple (some of our youth leaders) into the role of youth pastors that we now hold, with us kind of remaining the Mama and Papa. While we don’t hold this position tightly, we have discovered a certain “feeling” at the transition. It’s odd and we have to continually walk through these feelings and not let them affect our “value”. What we “do” isn’t who we are.

  44. Oh yes, it has happened several times in the past year and while my first inclination is to feel hurt, afterall I am only human, I had to really ask myself and pray for discernment in the situation. I had been apart of a mom’s group for about 5 yrs and while I had enjoyed my time, I still had reservations and trust issues and have felt a large tugging at my heart to move on. See God has been moving in my life in a big way over the past year and transforming me and I needed desperately to be in communion with other christian women, which this group was not. I still feel my presence in the group is good thing, to be a influence possibly, but as far as deep connections my heart is leading me elsewhere. So I began pulling away, turning down invitations and such. Instead of being hurt I feel it is the natural progression of things and I am happy that God has made this transition out of the group very smooth for me, and am thankful for the new friendships and relationships he has placed in my path, most importantly the relationship I have with HIM. Now the parties/bible studies/small group gatherings I attend and host are plentiful and I am FEED by so much more than food. For that I am grateful.

  45. We’ve all been there. Tough, though. Good lesson to learn when we are young. Serves us for a lifetime.

  46. When we surrender our expectations of others, how they should act and how they should treat us, we are free. Laying all my expectations at His Feet allows me to not be offended. It allows me to look only into His Face.

  47. I have TOTALLY been there…on both sides of the coin. I have been the one who sit at home because I was not invited, and I have been the one who has lived with the knowledge that I was hurting someone I truly enjoyed because they could not be on the “inside,” as there was simply not space.

    One Christmas, I took the bull by the horns and hostessed a Christmas open house. I did it that way because I had a tiny, tiny space, and I could not fit all the folks I loved in the apartment at the same time. I had stations, and I mean to tell you, we used every square inch of that tiny place!! It is one of my most cherished Christmas memories. I got to fix food for those I loved, I had a little keepsake to send with them, and at the end of the night, those with energy went caroling by candlelight. I am grinning recounting the different vignettes in my head…the kids back in my bedroom with the movie station, where Frosty was playing. The kids up at the tree, looking at the ornaments. The family and friends that drove down from my home town. My mom’s best friend getting to be there, because she lived in the same city. And the colliding of all my worlds. Know what? Everybody played well together. And because it was an open house forum, no one felt hurt. I ended up getting to see almost everyone I loved, and my heart is STILL full. Totally worth it.

  48. You post really hit home for me. I love facebook and the connections it has allowed me to keep through long distances. But you also end up knowing more than you want to know. After seeing the posts of mutual “mommy” friends and the activities and parties they have together I became depressed. After a day of pouting I realized these activities were ones I would never enjoy so it wasn’t that I wanted to be invited but I was jealous of the closeness they had developed. So I got over my self pity and have set up a game night for those of us that don’t get out as much.

    Here’s hoping it goes well and thanks for reaffirming what I’ve learned.

  49. This is perfect for me right now! My husband and I are in the midst of buying a house, and my in-laws are feeling slighted by our small holiday plans. I hate that this has happened, but I know next year at Christmas we will be able to go really big!

  50. I have to say – very gratefully! – that I don’t remember this being a problem. I do remember inviting a friend and her family for supper, and finding out her mom wondered why we had never had her for a meal. I allow feelings of intimidation to keep me from sharing hospitality with those who might be “under-impressed.” We’ve been living in a tiny house the last two years, and I’ve struggled with showing hospitality beyond my immediate family. Perhaps I haven’t hurt anyone’s feelings…but we haven’t made opportunities to build relationships with people in our new location. And that has hurt us. I miss being able to extend open invitations to everyone who wants to show up, hang out, and eat.

  51. I am a reluctant entertainer. I am not good at it! I have tried to have people over and I always feel like I am running around cooking, cleaning up and so I do not get to visit much. I am sure there is a better way. I think about having friends and nieghbors over and then I get nervous and worried I will fail. Silly, I know, but there it is:)

  52. I just battled with this yesterday. I was at a Deacons’ wives meeting. I am the Music Minister’s wife and don’t really “fit in” with the elder deacons wives (though they have become like 2nd mamas). Of the 2 younger wives, I had become close with one last year, till she became friends with the other young wife. I was not put off by this and tried to continue the friendship, yet I am continually left out. It was rough to hear everything they had done together recently, hear how close their kids were, and hear what they have planned soon. I prayed last night, asking God to help me with a friend. But He kept reminding me that I need only lean on Him. He is the one I should share my joys, frustrations, secrets, blessings with. I’ll keep praying about a friend, but keep relying on God.

  53. My birthday is December 17. Anyone who has a birthday this time of year can tell you that it’s awful to plan a birthday party this close to Christmas. Everyone always has other plans, and in my case, most friends from college are trying to survive finals and plan to go home as soon as they’re finished. Most of my friends will be gone again this year, but I’m planning my own party this year. I sent out a survey to the friends I want at the party, and based on how many reply, I will either cook for them, or we’ll go out to eat. So far, five people are definitely coming, and two people might come based on hunting/work schedules. I’m honestly excited to have five people since last year only three people came. I’m also excited for the chance to cook for my friends. I really enjoy cooking when it’s for other people, and I’m looking forward it.

  54. love having people just drop in or planning for a crowd. You have some really great ideas and I would love to have a book to go by….doing cute little things to make the place look special. I’d love an idea on when a girlfriend drops by for coffee and doing something special just for us to feel girly. Thanks for the ideas.

  55. One year, when our children were quite young, we were invited to a New Year’s Eve party. We declined knowing it was not a kids party, and that we would have nobody to care for our kids. We were never invited to another party. They even spoke about the party’s in front of us – I guess making the assumption that we again wouldn’t be interested. It felt very strange. We, however, have made traditions with our children at home that have been very special.

    Love the sensitive thoughts that you have shared here Sandy! I guess we DID learn to make our own party!

  56. Interesting subject but not one I remember specific incidents of not being included. It does hurt, though, for yourself or your kids. As a pastor’s wife for many years, we had several occasions where people would ask if we liked certain foods or items, saying they were bringing them to us and then never seeing them. Learned to let it go and hopefully never do the same thing to other people!

  57. We (read I) invariably crave being part of the circle – the inside part. The outside can be lonely. It’s good of you to remind us that it isn’t all personal. That sometimes the size of the circle has to be restricted.

    And that there is one considerably expansive circle that fits all. I’ll be spending Christmas alone this year. I’ll go out, deliver toys, a shelter, see family at their homes, but mostly it’ll be alone – but not alone. It’s His birthday, I’ll spend it with him. I’m almost never reluctant about that.

    Thank you Sandy

  58. Isn’t it funny? This seems like something we should have learned to deal with in high school or in some other awkward time in our life, and yet being left always hurts.

  59. Not to make light of what is really an important message, but this reminds me of one of my favorite sayings — When you are getting run out of town, get in front and make it look like a parade!

  60. I’ve had people over enough to know that it’s impossible to invite everyone! So I try to remind myself of this when I start feeling bad that I didn’t get invited to something. Thanks for the giveaway!

  61. These have been great to read, as I have a wedding quickly approaching. There is definitely a cut-off point for inviting guests which is so hard. We were originally going to do an incredibly small wedding as not to hurt people, but instead we decided to up the list drastically because we wanted all friends and family to be involved. Unfortunately I know that there will be that one college friend or distant family member that cannot be invited and will be upset, but reading this post made me realize as long as I am being fair and putting thought into our guest list I cannot go wrong. Things like hurt feelings unfortunately happen and we must just try our very hardest to avoid the situation if possible. Thank you!

  62. Hi. Thank you for the article. It’s been a hard 5 years for us. When you move in your 30’s everyone seems to be set with their own life and no room for the “newbies” So we focus on trying to be a welcoming house and inviting people over on a regular basis. We still don’t get invited many places and the holidays and other times can be lonely occasionally. But, when we do invite people over (Which is often) 99% of the people come. We’ve had more than 50 at one time…And we do not have a big house! I think people have lost the wisdom our grandparents had, it’s not about being invited it’s about serving others. So when I get hurt that we or our daughter wasn’t included “again” I say—not me, but you Lord, How can I serve you?

  63. I think the part that stings with invites….is that so many times not being invited confirms that the person really doesn’t like you.
    And it hurts! 🙁

    Not always, I know. But sometimes…
    People are fickle and clique-ish. I like your advice…..start your own party. What man may have meant for negatve, God always means for good.
    Oh and learn a lesson…..treat people how you want to be treated.

  64. Thanks for the wonderful, simple advice, Sandy.

    I know one thing! –I am exicted to meet all of you ladies in the party, in the sky. 🙂

  65. I have struggled for years with the fear that people won’t like me if they really know the REAL me. God has recently really helped me release that fear. I realize though, as I read this post, that I had a memory of back in 7th grade when I was stuggling with my dysfucntional home, of having a party and inviting all the girls in my 7th grade class. Most of them made up excuses as to why they could not come, although a few of my close friends did. What hurt was finding out that one of the *popular* girls had a slumber party that same night and most of them went to her party instead. I wish I could go back and give that 12 year old girl a hug and tell her that none of those people will matter in her life anyway!

  66. Yes, I’ve been excluded a number of times from parties and gatherings and been hurt by it every time. One of the more memorable times was when I was in 8th grade. One of my “friends” was having people over for dinner and pictures before our big 8th grade dance (sort of like the middle school version of prom), but I was told, in front of everyone mind you, that I couldn’t come because I didn’t have a date and it was a “couples thing”. Wow. Talk about hurtful. Not only did I feel bad because no boy had asked me to the dance, but now I felt bad because it excluded me from a party. Because I was so upset, my mom came up with the idea of having our own party and I invited anyone who wanted to come, dates or no dates. We had a great time and my mom made us feel really special with a special place for pictures and lots of grown up finger foods. Everyone talked about my party and some of the girls who wen to the other party expressed that my party sounded like way more fun than theirs and that they wished they could have come to mine.

    I’m so blessed to have a mother who say that hurtfulness and did the best she could to fix it. It didn’t make the pain go away, but it did help. I hope that when I have daughters, I can raise them to be respectful of other people’s feelings, and I hope I will be able to recognize when they get hurt and be able to repair it in the best way possible.

    I recently wrote a few posts on bullying and exclusion is just another form of bullying. I’m going to link this post up to my weekly roundup because I think it will have some meaning to many of my readers.

  67. Yesterday. Last week I sent an invite to some friends to join me for a local theater Christmas program. I am single and have not made any friends (in the 18months) since I moved here so I had decided to once again reach out in an attempt to start to build some friendships. A good number of the people already had tickets for Friday (and had not invited me to join them). Two couples seemed really interested but when neither had let me know by Sunday morning that they were going, I felt sad and ended up cancelling my ticket and staying home. Then I got an email from one of the husbands that they were all at the show and where was I and they were really enjoying the show. Did I misunderstand? I don’t think so. Ouch.

  68. Oh, girl, I love-love-crazy-love your book. It’s been on my coffee table ever since I got it and read it. So beautiful. I don’t need to be entered in the giveaway, of course, just wanted to give you a little shout out and tell everyone–if you don’t win this book go buy it for you and everyone you love!!

  69. Thanks for sharing so candidly! Yes I can relate. I’ve learned to use that hurt for good as you’ve done & do as many inclusive things as possible, not personalizing those things that aren’t meant to be.

  70. There have been many times where our family has not been invited somewhere, where I know many of our friends HAVE been invited. We have a tendency to really feel left out at times, feeling that we don’t exactly “fit in”, and it DOES get discouraging at times….in fact MOST of the time. But we can’t let those “rejections” shape who we are in Christ. I am painfully still learning this. I know that I have left people out, who may have thought they were going to get an invite from us, but it can’t be helped…not from us, and not from those who don’t invite us. I’m learning to be ok with it. And like you, we are choosing now to invite others to OUR home, instead of always expecting to be included in others’ plans.

  71. I have been in your shoes of wondering why we weren’t invited, and have graciously learned to let go and move on. It doesn’t help anyone to mope around about it. I agree – if you’re not invited to something, have your own party and invite others into your home. And thank you for your giveaway – I have lots to learn.

  72. Hi Sandy! I saw your book tweeted across my Twitter stream and on Tammy Maltby’s Facebook. And now here, on (In)Courage! What a perfect title of a book — perfect for this season when the spotlight’s on get togethers! Thank you for your encouragement when we’re on the “outs”. No matter how big girl we get, it still stings when we’re not on the list. Wonderful reminder to keep our hearts open by keeping the doors to our homes open to new friends in different seasons.

  73. I can surely understand that hurt…I think we have all experienced it from time to time. My friend always told me to “Keep on Keeping on” and not to focus on the hurt feelings as that doesn’t help at all. Be gracious with others……Thanks for your post…very needed especially at this time of the year!

  74. The house I grew up in had a large hill in front of it. I used to sit on this hill and watch the kids across the street play. I wanted to be a part of that so badly. My mother had to teach me to walk over and simply invite myself. It happened naturally and I don’t think anyone ever meant not to invite me. I learned a lot about simply joining in any activity at a young age. It still hurts to hear about gatherings after the fact where invitations were necessary and we didn’t receive one. There is a comfort and security in stopping to understand why this might have happened, and there is a peace in not needing to be a part of every group. Having real friends of quality who will always include you is better than having tons of acquaintances who don’t make the effort to keep others in their lives over time. Reaching out is always better than retreating into ourselves.

  75. I don’t think anyone enjoys being left out. And while we get less upset with it as we age, it still hurts to be # 11 on a guest list of 10. When I take the high road, I am find peace and a serendipity along the way. Thank you for the reminder – and may we all be more considerate – and if you’re feeling left out….throw your own party! And invite others who feel the sting of not being invited. Great friendships can emerge along the way!

  76. It happens to all of us, the feeling of being left out of a party, whether at Christmas or a birthday. I remember one time in particular finding out some friends of mine got together and went away for the weekend… it sounded like so much fun as I remembered in times past being with these ladies and the laughter and fun and longed to be there. Then I remembered they still loved me, more importantly, my Lord still loved me and no matter what He would always include me in His plans and I would always belong to Him.

  77. My feelings were not hurt by not being “invited” to a particular party. But not being invited to friends homes for dinner in general.

    Our family went through a great tragedy a year ago:

    After a year of living over seas we had to return to the United States suddenly….We expected to be held and cared for by our family and friends.

    Instead we were ignored and it was painful. Nobody invited us to dinner. The stares in the church hallway were unbearable.

    After about six months of this. Our family decided to begin extending invitations to others. To invite others to dinner in our home. We longed for community so we decided to build it.

    It was a blessing to have friends in our home. To grow new relationships and to do what we had wanted others to do for us.

    Just yesterday at church a friend stopped us and shared his story of divorce and pain with us. He told us how utterly lonely he was. How he missed dinnertime, how he had not been invited to homes.

    We’re all just waiting for someone to ask us in. And often it’s not an outright rejection. In our case we’ve found it’s a not knowing how to walk with someone through suffering. We pray grace to be able to be for others what we longed for. To share the Father’s love over a meal and laughter.

    To join His table and taste and see that HE is good.

  78. I’ve had hurt feeling by not being included in an invitation to ‘the party’, but then I realized it wasn’t something I wanted to go to anyway…not a place for a Christian to be 🙂 But it still hurt my feelings not to be asked

  79. Hi Sandy,

    I love your blog and would love to have a copy of your new book! What a great topic! Matters of the heart are a thing that we can all relate to- on one level or another.

    Ive walked through some incredibly hurtful things with friendships and after a while of “more of the same” type of thing, I just began to pray for divine friendships. For the girlfriends whom God has ordained for me to have, to come forth so to speak. I prayed that He would begin to highlight them to me and He did. I have a very big family and really only have time for life giving friendships- which is what He has intended for each of us all along.

    Many Blessings to you and may He continue to richly bless you!

  80. I can’t remember off the top of my head a time when I’ve been hurt because of being excluded. My husband is a pastor and we just moved to a new ministry in November. We feel that the pastor’s home should be open to the people (within reason, of course), and we are slowly moving down the list of members to have over for a one-on-one time of fellowship. My biggest fear is that we won’t get to someone fast enough and **they** will feel left out, which we don’t intend. It just takes time. The good thing is we’re having a holiday open house for everyone to drop in and stay as long as they want, so no one will be left out of that!

    • I had to smile when I read this. Our pastor and wife have been here for 8 years. They have invited a few people over at a time for dinner to get to know them better. My husband has served as deacon for well over 15 years and we are both very involved in church ministry. We just got our first invite to their home for dinner this year. I really didn’t give it much thought. I figured they they knew us so well and that they wanted to invite those they don’t know that well.

  81. We’ve only felt excluded more on the fact that many friends and family live miles, days away. I agree with the idea to make others welcome in your home and host a party yourself. it’s worked on SO many occasions! So much so that our neighbors almost can be called not just friends but family, too. YES, we count our blessings! And, if there’s a time we aren’t invited to their parties, the reason need not be shared…no hurt feelings.

  82. Could not agree more sweet friend…the more you *give* the more you *get*. And that includes invitations to parties and making the decision to reach out rather than sitting back with arms folded & waiting! 🙂 -xo

  83. When my son got married 10yrs ago my daughter in-law let me know that Christmas eve is always at her Dad’s and Christmas day is always at her moms and that was not going to change , but I could have the day after Christmas. Not once were we asked to join either of these celebrations although we all live within 15 minutes of each other. I will be honest, it hurts not being with them and our grandchildren. I feel like we get the leftovers. I have kept quiet and I don’t know if this is good. This year my daughter inlaw informed me, we get to spend Christmas with them. She and her mom had a fight and they have not spoken in almost a year. While I look forward to being with them at Christmas, I hate that is because they are not speaking to each other.
    It is so said and I am finding it hard to be happy that I get Christmas this year.

  84. What wisdom! This is such a great thing to write a post about, even though sometimes getting invited to a party seems like a trivial thing to be upset over. I’ve definitely been in the same boat, hurt that I wasn’t invited.
    But, in the end it really doesn’t matter. I liked your advice to start your own party!

  85. We are often not invited “to the party” because of our large family (we have 10 children, all still living at home, and now adding in a fiancée and two boyfriends). I’ve grown thru the hurts from it, and try to do more in our home because “what’s a few more?” 🙂

    I would love to be encouraged more by your book! (And I also do book reviews, and would love to do a review as well).

  86. What a great post today. The sting hurts and times we take things personally that never were meant to be. I love the advice to start your own party. Too many times we are upset about not getting invited, yet we have not invited ourselves. Life is too short, we need to move on and look for the good in life. So lets all find the time to make a party and invite others. 🙂

  87. Oh, yes..I have been hurt badly by not being invited to a get together by my own family.. BUT, I didn’t let me become angry or bitter, instead the next week or two I invited ALL of my family over to my house and made myself a part of them, even if they choose not to make me part of them when they gather. IT was very healing allowing God to let me serve them even through my hurt,

  88. My situation is actually a little different- I married into and have maintained with my own kids a very close, fun family. We enjoy getting together and do, often. My family of origin, on the other hand, is not the same: parents divorced after years of an unhealthy marriage, 1 sister whom I did not grow close to till we were grown; her children have issues of their own– I would love to have the big get-togethers like we do on my in-laws’ side, but they don’t come. Getting together- at least all at once– is not a priority for any of them. I’ve had to get over being mad, and just accept the “serendipity” when I do get to see any of them.

    • I thank God for my husband’s family, which is very close. I only have a sister left and she has always been detached from the family. All though she only lives one hour away, I have only seen her twice in the last 13 yrs. I keep inviting her over and she declines. I’ll keep trying, but I’m not going to let it get me down. Who knows, I might be surprised one day when she accepts the invite.

  89. Story of my life.

    In spite of me always opening up our home and lives, it never gets reciprocated. We are never invited. *sigh* Oh, well. I keep doing it. It gets tiring to never get included, but whaddya gonna do, right?

  90. i’m not usually in situations where there are formal invitations that i get “left out of”. my situation is that i often feel like i’m “on the outside” of the groups i happen to be in. i don’t know if it is b/c i have moved a lot, live far from most of my family or what it is specifically. i just know that i often feel like an outsider in many situations.
    when i feel that way…and would just like to hide out in a corner…i look around and see if there is someone who may be in the same boat i am.
    rarely have i noticed everyone in the room happily involved in a conversation. so i move on over and start talking to the lonely person. it is usually more enjoyable for me than it is for them i’m sure. if i can get them talking about their life, it is usually VERY interesting! some really great friendships have started from this simple act of reaching out to a lonely person. it is definitely an act of hospitality–making them feel at home.

  91. I have a story that has been my life since I was born. I am a twin and I am the twin that was always the third wheel. My parents made sure that where ever my twin went I would also be going. In later years as an adult I would travel home for christmas with my children and husband. We would arrive in time for christmas eve dinner and then we would get the children ready for bed. Now in our growing up years we had neighbors who we did parties with and when we had children things changed. Since my husband and 2 children lived 2 hours away we didn’t get invited to holiday parties. My mother tried to hide these get together by suggesting we come home later on christmas eve and by then the neighbors and my sister and her family and my parents would have a little party together with the neighbors. This was very painful and still don’t understand why were excluded (no invite). To this day it still happens and my oldest child is 14. I did change our attendance to my families christmas ritual and we spend christmas eve at our house and have a great time with special meal and attend church service together.

  92. This is a great lesson around the holidays. Sadly, I am quite guilty of feeling left out. I’m estranged from my family and get very depressed around the holidays when I would love to spend time with my makeshift family of friends, but they are busy with kids, husbands, and their own extended family gatherings. This is a good reminder that instead of my usual wallowing about being alone on the holidays I should try to find something on my own to do.

  93. As a teenager and a young adult I did get left out of a lot of fun gatherings because my family and I took a more conservative stand than others. Although it was not our practice to judge other people’s standards, we were often judged and left out because of ours. When I was younger it was very hurtful, but the Lord directs our paths and He has taught me so much. I am now consistently in a leadership position which allows me to handle things differently. It is a pleasure to value others for who they are and not for how I feel about the way they do things.

  94. I have had that happen to me. It stings as an adult, and I have tried to be sensitive to others feelings about this subject. The hardest time I had was when a particular aquaintance seemed to always want me to know when I wasn’t invited and that really hurt. Last year I had a group of ladies in monthly that don’t get invited out often with the intention of all of us beginning to be the ones that do the inviting, and not just waiting on the invitation. Out house is full of dust and piles right now for renovation in the kitchen, but looking forward to the new year and having friends in on a regular basis. Jackie

  95. I agree that we can all probably relate to not being invited. I want to start having people over, but finances are REALLY tight. So, I thought that instead of having people over for a dinner, we could just do dessert. But, my husband is a diabetic and I am trying to lose weight. Any suggestions?


    • What about healthy hors d’oeuvres? Perhaps a vegetable tray, fruit salad, etc.? Or, if you did want to have an actual dinner, you could have a potluck. My friends and I have often done that to save on expenses.

  96. I agree feelings can get hurt. I have been at the opposite end of the party issue. My husband threw me a recent milestone party *my 5oth* and one of my best friends decided the day before not to come because she felt bad her boyfriend had to drive 5 hours out of town and didn’t want him to drive alone (this was his job). And he had done this numerous times. She had committed to bringing a food item to the party (my husb never threw a party before so he was doing this by himself everyone was offering to help w/food so he was thrilled people were volunteering). He told me that he was throwing me this party only due to me saying how excited I was to celebrate my birthday and what were we going to do just shortly before the party. I ended up making the food item she was to bring. But still feel l would never had missed this birthday celebration for her or anyone of my best friends to help to help my spouse make a work drive. My husband would never have let me pass up my best friends party to go w/him and would have insisted I attend the party. I just don’t get it. I have come to realize other’s just don’t value friendship as I do. My other best friends and close friends attended and I had a wonderful evening. (she did know that I knew about the party the day she told my hubby she wasn’t going to attend cause my husb told her). I clld her soon after to talk to her about coming and she just felt my party was not as important. Yes I was hurt. I know our relationship is not the same. Oh and she made plans w/me a few months later when her b/f was going out to town to come over and eat, it was just the two of us since my hubb was at work and she never called nor showed up. Just saying it takes a special person to be a “best’ friend some just don’t know the meaning anymore.

  97. It has happened to me, especially now that I moved to a new country and people I’d like to get to know better already know eachother well and arrange gatherings together.
    But I tried to look at the bright side and enjoy it when they invited me on various occasions, never complained that I was not invited to this and that event. I invited them over to our house and gave them the chance to get to know us. I think it’s getting better, the invitations are increasing in number. But it sure does hurt when you find out when you’re left out…

  98. Love your advice! I work with children and often kids’ sit and talk about who’s invited to their party and the ones who aren’t feel left out. We generally encourage them that it’s not okay to discuss who they invited but maybe instead of avoiding the issue we should advise them the same. Have your own party! And move on! That way they will feel positive and know they are special regardless of not being invited. Thanks for bringing up a delicate subject!

  99. Having moved to a new community 10 years ago, I have felt on the out many times wondering why don’t we get invited over. So God has been working on me …..What do you do…..Create your own party. Many people who have never moved don’t understand how hard it is to create new friendships . He is trying to grow my gift of hospitality. We do not live close by family , The people in my church and my community are my family. There are many people who would love to be invited over for a night of fellowship ……..Open your home and share the love! Janita

  100. I don’t feel slighted when I’m “uninvited” to parties and/or special events because I’ve grown tougher skin over the years. I realize sometimes there may be special circumstances that prevent me from being invited (limited number of ppl invited, maybe I won’t fit in with the party guests, etc…) or maybe they just don’t want to invite me. I never want some to feel obligated to invite me as I never want to feel obligated to invite someone who may not fit into the particular party/event I’m throwing.

    It is harder for me to explain this to my children who do take it personally when they’re not included in a friend’s party plans. They don’t understand the dynamics of the world yet and it will probably take some time for them to understand and stop getting their feeling hurt.

  101. Yes, I’ve seen the cars at a neighbors and wondered why we weren’t invited, but I know the tables have sometimes been turned and they’ve seen cars at my house and they weren’t invited. I’ve got a decent sized home, but I could never invite everyone I know at the same time. It’s been more hurtful to hear a that a friend hosted several and we weren’t included, but I try to remind myself that sometimes there are reasons totally unrelated to the way they feel about me that we weren’t included. Then I have to leave it in God’s hands and trust Him. I love the idea of just having your own party. I love having folks over. Your book sounds wonderful!

  102. when i was younger, i can remember getting my feelings hurt by not being included but also one time i had a party and hardly anyone came. today, i’m stronger than those experiences and have learned to come to terms with the fact that though i may not be the most popular, i am beautiful in the Lord’s eyes and that there’s more to life than popularity.

  103. I had an unfortunate event earlier this year. I had a birthday party for my three year old son. I specifically invited only his friends and not those of his older brother as they seem to take over and it becomes about them. One mother was quite upset that her son was not invited. I had another friend offer her babysitting while she brought her other child to the party, and I offered to wrap a piece of cake up for him for his sibling to take to him. I didn’t want to cave in as I don’t want my son caught up in middle child syndrome, where everything is about the older or younger sibling. It was uncomfortable for a while, but we have worked things out.

  104. So many emotions here. It solidifies the fact that people long for connection with others and for a sense of belonging. I wish I could throw a big party and invite all of you over this weekend!

  105. It’s hard to choose what to comment on. I’ve been on both sides of the issue in the past: not being invited to parties, and giving up on hosting parties for fear of offending friends I could not invite. Reading your blog hasade me realize that those connections with others are important for my family and I should not shy away from them for fear. Thanks for the encouragement to reach out.

  106. I think Facebook is the worst. Ignorance is bliss, so if I don’t know I wasn’t invited… I’m fine. But when I see pictures on Facebook, and every other young married couple from our congregation was invited to a get-together except for us… That hurt. The truth is, though, as I begin to entertain more, sometimes gatherings have to be small, and now that we’re getting older, there’s no requirement to invite everyone. It’s okay to extend invitations purposefully, and sometimes people will get left off the list. My husband and I, though, do try to invite people we might not normally. We want our home to be a place of comfort for friends AND acquaintances or even strangers. I hope we can try to meet that goal.

  107. It’s a hard thing–I help out with the youth group girls at my church. Just this past Sunday, I brought lunch for them and we had a Christmas activity. My feelings were hurt when one of the girls decided that Taco Bell with a friend was better than hanging out with everyone else–and me. I need to let that rejection go!!

  108. I was reading your post and reflected back to my 2nd daughters 2nd birthday. We lived in a town since that August and had church/ daycare friends. I had made plans for her party and no one showed up. Both Grandmothers that year had severe health issues so no family came to the party either. I was heart broken for my daughter. I remember trying hard not to cry as my husband, oldest daughter and I sang to her. We made the best of her day. I can look back to knowing that she wasn’t old enough to remember. I also know that we as a family made the most of the day so it was memorable.

  109. I’ve been studying abroad in Chile this semester and my parents, sister and boyfriend came to visit me over Thanksgiving week. I remember my mom and sister talking about how even though the family knew they weren’t going to make it, that they didn’t get an invite to the Thanksgiving dinner with my family, or to a bridal shower that was happening over the weekend. They knew that the invite would have been extended if their plans weren’t already known, but it still hurt them that they didn’t receive that phone call. It teaches me the lesson to invite people I would normally invite, even though I know they have something going on.

  110. My mother in law used to host a family dinner every other Sunday for 7 adults and 2 kids. As our families have grown (now 7 adults and 9 kids) she moved to once a month. We all look forward to her wonderful French/Vietnamese cooking. Unfortunately, the food was often bitter sweet going down. She would often complain about how much work it is to cook all day for us. I quickly realized that other than the once a month dinners and seeing each other briefly at church on Sunday, we never spent anytime together. I think she was feeling neglected and unappreciated. We have tried to change this by making the effort to invite her to join us more often, even when she says no, I know she appreciates being included. I think it’s easy to forget that parents, especially MIL’s, miss being included in their childrens day to day lives.

    I would love a copy of your book!! Thank you for giving 2 copies away. I also love free.

  111. It is so easy to forget how important it really is to open our homes and our hearts to others. Of course, it is easy to want others to do it for us. :-0 An older woman once encouraged me to be more hospitable and to share what God has given to me and never apologize even if my home is small and simple. I wish for more people like her in my life, thank you for this post and for being one of those encouragers.

  112. I guess I’m odd but the invites that bother me are the ones that I can not attend because I live to far away to be there for the daily events. It makes me sad be we cant drive 300 miles for every birthday or get together. So my family makes a big event when we are home and the entire family gets together………..Would love a copy of your book.

  113. I’ve been hurt when I’ve thrown a party for important life events, and those invited never even respond to say they aren’t coming, and don’t show up. Or, they dismiss it by saying something that I perceive as everyday and trivial is more important to them. Parties take planning and money. It does hurt when people won’t come to your event and celebrate with you. I remember the parable Jesus told of the King who prepared a banquet for loved ones, but they were too busy to attend. Luckily, for me I was one of those on the wayside who got invited to the banquet when the honored guests weren’t interested. We do have One who can relate very well to all our little hurts and rejections.

  114. We were living far away from home while my husband attended grad school and it seemed that all of the other student families were constantly getting together for dinners and game nights on the weekends. I felt so lonely and excluded because we were never included. Finally, when I was alone with a few of the other wives, I just shared my hurt and lack of understanding of the situation and asked what was wrong with us that we were never included. It came down to a few things–they were getting together with families from their own geographic areas–they already had relationships with these families and would continue to be with them after everyone returned home, so they were nurturing those relationships. And the second factor was the size of our family. We have three children and most of the other families had none or maybe one child and they felt like inviting our family would be overwhelming and difficult. Both of these reasons made sense intellectually. I understood, but it was still really difficult to face. So I vowed at that point to have special compassion for people with large families (not that ours is particularly large) and for people who didn’t fit into a tidy little category. It hurts being left out for reasons that we should normally be proud–we love our children and our home state. I did eventually begin to invite people into our home and make our own fun. We especially reached out to some of the single students who craved a home cooked meal. Hospitality has just always been such a struggle for me. I think I really need to read your book!

  115. We give pretty frequent dinner parties. We always over invite and at times have had to figure out to get everyone around the table. We also give cookie decorating parties at Halloween, Christmas, and Valentines which I over invite even more, thinking we have more room for something that is not sit down. This is how I try to juggle the invitation piece, hoping I do not hurt feelings but knowing it is possible.

    What I find a bit more interesting is how every one enjoys what we do but we rarely get invited to any events. I really think this is due to most people are uncomfortable entertaining. The nuts and bolts (how do you invite, how do I cook for 15, how do I decorate…..). I keep it very simple and no one seems to mind. And if someone asks if they can bring something, I always find something they can bring. We have had the best dinners over homemade macaroni and cheese with salad, bread, and hot apple crisp. Lots of laughter and good conversation. That simple is all that is needed. Nothing more.

  116. I don’t recall reading this topic on the web in 5 years…thanks for opening it up, Sandy.

  117. I’ve tried to turn this attitude around in my life in the past 6 months or so. I’m the quiet gal at the back of the church who’s been there for so long that you think she knows everyone. But it just isn’t true. Too many times I’ve felt hurt over sitting at home while everyone else is out. So this year I decided it was time for a change. My house was going to be open. I was going to reach out (so hard for my personality). And my kitchen was going to be full. I keep a few select items in my pantry to whip together company meals and I keep my heart open to inviting others. While I still have a long way to go and it’s still very hard, each day is a new opportunity.

  118. Yes, I have feel this sting before, but I really try not to dwell on it. I’m really learning that each relationship is going to look different for different people. Connections are different – not necessarily bad, just different.

    I am not going to have the exact same connection with SusieQ as SallyJ has with her. That’s not to say that relationships cannot go deeper, of course. They can!

    But, a great way to turn that “sting” around, is to invite a party over — make the dinner party your own “special” party and invite those connections – and perhaps even a connection you would love to go deeper with.

  119. Lovely post that is so inspiring – good lesson and I appreciate you sharing! Would love a copy of your beautiful book, Sandy! Thanks! Happy Holidays!

  120. wow! This was just what I needed to read today –

    Thank you for reminding me about the invitation that is most important and the party I definitely want to be at!!

    Blessings ~

  121. This has happened to me this week and I really struggled with my emotions. I felt like the left out child. I don’t know if anyone has mentioned this, but social networking really gives this topic a new face. I happened to see a party on Facebook where several of the mom’s in my daughter’s class were invited to a party at the teacher’s house (well, it was two teachers throwing the party together). And they put the pictures on Facebook that evening. I was torn between mad (thinking it was unprofessional) to hurt (why were all the moms not invited)?
    I managed to turn my focus on the relationships that mean alot to me. My husband and I do like to enterain and we do get invited to parties, gatherings, etc. I guess just feel like it is a public snub!

    I would love to your read book and help others who struggle with this topic:)

  122. My wife does not like to entertain in our home. She said it makes her nervous and she feels like she has to take care of everone while they are here. I love to be around people laughing, playing games, telling stories and just plain having fun. My needs and hers are so far apart in this area i grew up in a large family and there were people around all the time and I loved it, she grew up in a small family and lived out in the sticks so not much company. I have tried to get her to see that we have fun together but i want us to develop life long friendships and not entertaining in our home makes it very hard to do. We have a nice home in the country lots of room to PLAY. She has no desire to have any parties and only reluctantly had my 50th this year. We had about 50 people around coming and going it was great, she said “never again”. I don’t know what to do to fulfill my need to socialize while not making her a nervous wreck. I don’t want to just socialize with men i like the mix and the fun that goes with it. I have had people say jjust have a guy party but that is not what I want for us. Friends are what makes life worth living they bring fresh air. sunshine, laughter, warmth, coziness and love. They make our house a real home when they come and fill it up. That is what I pray for everyday FRIENDS.

  123. We are a family of two adults and 6 kids… we very rarely get invited anywhere for dinner. Which kinda (really) sucks and hurts a little (a lot). We used to invite people over fairly regularly (not the last two years… quite literally no more room!) and we hope to again as of this weekend when we move into a larger house (‘orphan’ christmas party this year!)… but wow it stings when we hear of the dinners people go to, or whatever. I used to think people are overwhelmed by the amount of us, but a couple came to our church for a year with 11 kids, and they often were invited to peoples houses. Of course, those kids are the most gorgeous, quiet, beautifully behaved childen (no snark, I love them all dearly) and mine… aren’t. not that they’re wild or anything, but we have our issues (autism etc).

    Good grief this sounds like a pity party! ha. I think I’m trying to talk it out.

  124. Sandy, I so love all of your advice, and this was especially helpful. My family and I moved about a year ago to a new town. Although we have good friends and some family in the area, I miss being ‘invited’ like before. We had lived in our previous town for 16 years and established so many great friendships, I never really felt ‘left out’ like I sometimes do now. I agree with your suggestion and will really try in the new year to invite others in and start the party in our home. Thank you truly!

  125. My husband is one of four brothers , who sadly, have grown apart through the years. The distance is sharpened by the other three sisters-in-law having an intense dislike for the boys’ father and stepmother…for years, in an attempt to hold this family together by some small thread, we have been opening our home for a Christmas meal (provided completely by us-joyfully so 🙂 ) which has only been attended by the one brother and the boys’ father, step-mom and our family…we haven’t seen the other family members in over two years 🙁 How sad!! The sisters-in-law told us they would come if the father/stepmom weren’t invited…I told them we need to forgive and move on so that our next time of visiting isn’t in a funeral home…a little blunt, I will admit it…but how sad, that there is no more concern to build family bonds than that…the eldest grandchild graduated from high school this year (our child) and not one of my husband’s siblings came to the graduation party, or RSVP’d, or sent a card or made a phone call…how very, very sad…and so we pray and we love and we believe that the ONE Who is Love can heal all wounds.

  126. I have been learning a lesson with God for about a year now–slow going, I guess. I’ve felt on the outside with my in-laws for 4 years now. It has, sadly, created a rift in our marriage. I struggle with feeling that I am enough and accepted—which all just points to how I view God and his acceptance of me. It’s easier to feel the rejection that screams in your face than the quiet whispers of One who loves you down to the very number of hairs on your head. But I’m learning to tune the ears of my heart to listen deeply, and take the rejection as a time to repeat, repeat, repeat what God says is true about me.

    I think that inviting others into your home can be such an intimate thing, and something that someone who is hurting and holding arms tightly around themselves for protection, don’t do easily. Opening our arms, and our homes will allow more blessing to flow—of this I am convicted.

    Thank you for your encouragement.

  127. I was at a women’s conference and although it wasn’t a specific party that I wasn’t invited to I was alone and wasn’t invited to hang out with any of the other women of my church for the full conference. In essence I was left out of their “little parties”. I know it’s not exactly what you are looking for, but parties for us don’t happen very often. We are a church of a couple of thousand. I have been at my church for 15 years and know quite a few people. I was involved with the orchestra and now the elementary kids classes so people do know me. The time of the conference was 3 days.

    Instead of focusing on who I should sit with or have lunch with I decided I would sit wherever and talk to those around me and make friends with other Godly women. Yes, just as you mentioned I created my own parties. God used that, one woman who I befriended didn’t know anyone there. I shared with her some of the great messages from earlier that day and directed her in where to purchase water. She happened to buy one for me too. (For a extremely fixed income that was a big blessing) I was blessed by another women from Texas who after spending time talking with her felt that God was telling her to give me her awesome study Bible. When meal time came I had opportunity to make friends with others and hear what God was doing in their lives. The coolest thing was after eating I would go for a walk. I had 2 different women join me at 2 different times. I was able to pray with one of them that I remember and encourage her.

    I also got time to talk with God, my Father, and talk to Him about feeling left out – He gave me a peace and I can’t remember what He said, but I was encouraged to be with Him and know that it’s okay not to be noticed. The Lord notices me and that’s really the best noticing. When it’s time I’ll get noticed. If I had been with others from church these connections wouldn’t have happened. When you avail yourself to Him, He blesses you in great unexpected ways.

    I like how you matter of factly gave your kids advice that they won’t be invited to every party and get over it quickly. We just need to find something in each situation to be thankful for and then we can get over situations that bother us more quickly.

  128. Two of our children got married this summer. Was I ever wrong to think I would have any influence on who was invited! Cuts for cost, numbers, space, and because “if she comes, she will wreck the day!”. I felt terrible for those that didn’t receive invitations.
    Sometimes, dears, people are left out of invitations because of a simple oversight, too. You can choose to invite yourself, or to redeem the disappointing moment by being a welcoming hostess when it is your turn to throw a party. Thirty years is twenty-nine years and three hundred and sixty three days too long to hold a grudge.

  129. Oh my goodness…this post and all the comments are so amazing! I can totally relate to the left out feeling…but am convicted that God wants me to get past focusing on “me” and start reaching out to others. We can all do it…lets start reaching out and blessing others! <3

  130. I actually love to entertain, but just don’t do it often enough mostly for the following reason: I love to cook and have long chats with guests and give them a break from the same-old same-old. The hard part for me is the invitation. I’m a horrible planner, and prefer to be spontaneous. Of course, not everyone else is spontaneous and some actually have lots on their social calendar! So I get snagged there. I also tend to get overwhelmed with the front-end (who to invite/would they want to socialize with so and so/how many should I invite, etc) of inviting and shut down because of those silly logistics. I know a simple answer is, “Just do it!!”, and I feel terrible guilt over my lousy lack of often-enough hospitality, but there it is. I think it would actually be best for me if people just called me and said, “Hey I’m coming over!” LOL

  131. Thanks for the encouraging words! I’ve felt slighted even more often with Facebook, seeing a mutual friend post an innocent message saying “Thanks for having us over!” and then a few more tag on their thanks. I try to move on quickly and get over it but it still stings a bit, especially if I know we were just sitting at home that night. I know the point of hospitality is not keeping score of whose had whom over but my inward nature sneaks in there and tries to.

  132. Here is one for you about six years ago the priest at my parish celebratred his 65th birthday, I should add that he favored the wealthy. He had taken a group of people on a pilgrimage tour to Italy every year which the working class like myself was unable to go on because there just wasnt any funds in our budgets. He planned this pilgrimage every year and i was never able to go on it because of finances well fast forward to bhis 65th birthday in most churches no matter what your denomination when the pastor has a birthday the who church is usually invited to the reception in the dining hall especially when it is announced in the church bulletin it was worded like this please wish Monsignor Fischer a happy Birthday after the 6:00 p.m daily mass reception after mass well when some of us went down to the dining hall we were told that it was only for the people who had went on the italy trips with him and that they had payed when i spoke to the secreatary about this she said that they were upset with my presence there believe me i left as soon as possible because it wasnt fair they had to pay for their dinner well i didnt even eat any thing I am happy to say that priest isnt with us anymore he is finally retired but he was always having these dinners in the din ing hall for his friends that went to italy with him every year. We now have a new priest who is very welcoming. He is celebrating his 60th birthday this month and has made the whole parish aware that they are invited to the reception and monsignor fischers little clique is not there anymore because they left when monsignor fischer left and when they found out that the new priest was not impressed with them.

  133. It’s really a cool and useful piece of information. I’m satisfied
    that you just shared this useful information with us.

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  134. Incredible! This blog looks just like my old one!
    It’s on a completely different topic but it has pretty much the same page layout and design. Great choice of colors!

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