Understanding Your Hospitality Personality
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www.morganizewithme.com) and contributes monthly to the popular blog Organizing Junkie (www.orgjunkie.com). The author of Take Back Your Time, Mo...more
Hospitality is meant for the purpose of “loving our neighbor.” Morgan Tyree talks about how learning our “hospitality personality” frees us from stress so that we can bless others.
Understanding Your Hospitality Personality
Bob: Many of us tend to think of hospitality as an activity/an event that has to be planned/something complicated. Morgan Tyree has learned from her neighbors that sometimes hospitality is as simple as having the right attitude.
Morgan: I had another neighbor in that same neighborhood, who I didn’t really know well. I can’t even remember her name; she would drive by, and she would give the best wave and smile. I mean, I thought I was in a parade; I’m just trying to corral a toddler. She just had that warmth; and it gave me the feeling that, if I really needed something from her, I could go over to her. I don’t think hospitality has to be complicated; it doesn’t have to take a lot of time, but it’s just showing up.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Thursday, April 8th. Our hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson; I'm Bob Lepine. You can find us online at FamilyLifeToday.com. We want all of us to be thinking a little differently today about hospitality and about how we can become more hospitable, no matter what our personality or temperament is. Stay with us.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. I hope you’re comfortable here; I hope you’re relaxed. We’re really glad to have you here, and—
Dave: You know, I’ve never heard you say that, ever!
Ann: I’m thinking, “What is happening right now?” [Laughter]
Dave: It’s the first time he’s ever done it; because we’re talking hospitality, and he’s trying to be hospitable! [Laughter]
Bob: I thought we’d just make our listeners feel comfortable and relaxed; don’t you think?
Ann: Are you feeling pressure right now?
Bob: A little bit; yes, perhaps. Do you want to explain why? [Laughter]4
Ann: We’re excited today, because we have Morgan Tyree with us. She’s written a book called Your Hospitality Personality. When Morgan walked in, and we all had lunch together, I’m running to her like: “Hi! Welcome!” [Laughter] We’re all feeling this need to be hospitable.
Bob: We are! Morgan, welcome to FamilyLife Today.
Morgan: Well, thank you.
Bob: We are glad to have you here. Have you felt comfortable/at home? [Laughter]
Morgan: So comfortable! I really am.
Dave: What is she going to say? [Laughter]
Bob: Morgan has written a book called Your Hospitality Personality. Does everybody have a hospitality personality? I mean, are there some people, “My hospitality personality is the Grinch personality”?
Ann: I think we all need to take a test and find out.
Morgan: Yes, you can take the test. I would say everyone has a hospitality personality. They may want to pretend otherwise, but you do. I think we all have a personality that shows up when we’re hospitable.
Dave: It’s like the Enneagrams/the StrengthsFinders.
Dave: There’s really a hospitality personality. I can’t wait to find out what Bob’s is.
Morgan: Yes! [Laughter]
Bob: Mine is: “You’re welcome at my place as long as I get the recliner and the remote, and I’m happy to have you there.”
Ann: [Ann making a buzzer sound] [Laughter] That’s a fail!
Dave: All I know is, in all the years we’ve known Bob Lepine, have we ever been to his house? Okay, that’s enough!
Everyone: Ooh!! [Laughter]
Bob: Man! [Laughter]
Ann: I would never have said that, Bob, because I’m hospitable.
Bob: Okay, so here’s what I’m going to say about that; alright?
Dave: We actually picked you up once in your driveway.
Bob: Here’s what I’m going to say about that. [Laughter] As I was looking at your book—and by the way, the reason we’re talking about this is because we are all called to hospitality—being hospitable is a biblical injunction for us, so this is not something that is really optional. We are called to be hospitable.
But I will tell you that, early on, my default in the area of hospitality would have been, spontaneously, say, “Well, why don’t you come over?”—to which my wife would say—
Dave: You know what he’s doing right now?
Bob: —throwing her under the bus.
Dave: —blaming Mary Ann! [Laughter]
Bob: Well, here’s what she taught me about this. I’d sit down and say, “Do you want to have So-and-so over?” She would say, “You have no concept of what—
Ann: —“that entails.”
Bob: —“goes into that. You just think we invite; they come, and it magically happens.” She was absolutely right.
Ann: This has been a fight in our house, too.
Dave: I’m not looking over at my wife right now [Laughter], because she has said the exact same thing.
Bob: Is this common in marriage?—that one spouse is like, “Oh, let’s have them over”; and the other one’s like, “You don’t know what you’re talking about!”
Morgan: Absolutely; yes, I feel like I’m watching my husband and me having the same conversation—because he’s an Entertainer: so outgoing, a little more spontaneous, “The more the merrier,”—and I’m like, “Wait a minute; who’s coming over?” It does/it takes planning to have people over, and to open up your home, and have people in. I think, sometimes, that can be a bit of a tension between couples.
Bob: You referred to him as an Entertainer. That’s one of the four—you identify four different personalities in your book—right?
Morgan: Correct; yes.
Bob: What are those?
Morgan: There’s the Leader, also known as the Director, sort of that take-charge personality. Then the Entertainer is your life of the party, the person who’s maybe the natural storyteller. The Includer is the really warm, sort of—you might think of the natural host—the person that just is always looking for who needs to be noticed; they’re very welcoming. The fourth is the Organizer—that’s your real detailed person—the person that’s like, “I’m going to get all my ducks in a row if I’m going to host.”
Dave: Are you one or the other, or is there a mix?
Morgan: Good question. I think most people will have a primary that will resonate with them, and you definitely will have a secondary. I’m an Organizer primarily—that’s my first thought/is like: “What do I need to do to make something happen?”—but I have a soft side to me: I’m easygoing, too, which as an Includer, is my secondary.
Dave: It sounds like, you know, a good marriage—you get the perfect marriage—you get the Entertainer/[your husband] Dave’s the Entertainer; you’re the Organizer.
Morgan: Exactly; exactly.
Dave: Does it work that way?—is it like, “Yes, it sort of blends,”—or is there still conflict between the two of you?
Morgan: It really works. I think that is really nice when you do have different styles; because you can help each other with your strengths, and vice versa. We still have to communicate and work through things, because he might want to host more than I want to because of his energy level when he’s around people. I’m more introverted. I think you have to keep communicating. You can really take your strengths, and play together, and really host more effectively; and hopefully, more enjoyably.
Ann: Morgan, take us back; because this must be a passion for you if you wrote this book. Tell us how this kind of came to be.
Morgan: Yes, so to be really open, I mean, hospitality is something I have been very blessed by. I have had people pour into me, and minister to me, and open up their homes; but then I’ve also had my share of stresses. I feel like hospitality doesn’t always come as naturally to each personality. Then I also really am fascinated by personality types. I do professional organizing for people. It’s just so interesting to really discover how people are hardwired: what makes them sort of respond naturally, and what their heartbeat is. I took the two things and thought, “How do I become a better host? How do I equip other people to host more naturally with their God-given strengths?”
Ann: Is that something—as Bob said—this is a biblical concept.
Ann: Talk about that a little bit: “What does that look like? What does that mean? Should we all start doing this, and feeling like, ‘Oh, this is important’?”
Morgan: Definitely; I mean, I think that hospitality can tend to have a micro view—that it’s having someone over to your house for dinner, which is very much a piece of hospitality—but I really touch in the book about all the different ways we can be hospitable. I think that that’s looking to the strangers in our lives, the acquaintances in our lives, and then our closest people, too: “Are we being hospitable to our own family members?”
God calls us to love and to extend that love. I think that hospitality is really being present with people and noticing people. We all want to be known and loved, and the best way to show God’s love is to extend love. I really hope that people gain more permission and more grace with how they can extend hospitality.
Bob: Are you a natural hospitable person? I mean, when you and your husband got married, were you the person, who said, “We should start having people over”?
Morgan: I was raised in a hospitable home, which I think is very interesting, to look back at your foundation. What you experienced, growing up, can really help you identify what comes more naturally to you or what you’re accustomed to. I would say we both wanted to have a hospitable home or more of an open home; we both really enjoy community, and it was modeled for me very well.
The pieces that are more challenging for me are the cooking and some of the presentation—maybe I put the expectation on myself—those parts would be some of the stressors. I’m not—I can cook a casserole, don’t get me wrong—but you know, sometimes with hosting, you can feel this overwhelm of: “How do I do it well?” “How do I enjoy it?” “How do I not let this be a bigger stress than it needs to be?” I’ve had to work through some of those challenges.
Bob: I think, when we got married, I was never all that concerned—after we’d had somebody over, I was not going: “I wonder what they thought about the meal?” or “I wonder what they thought about our house?” or “I wonder what they thought about…” any of that—it was kind of like, “We had a fun night; it was good.”
But Mary Ann had to open my eyes to: “I’m still thinking about, ‘Did I do well?’ This is me putting myself out there, and I’m feeling evaluated, whether I really am or not.” You felt some of that?
Morgan: Yes, I think the word that I resonated with was the vulnerability. I think it can be having someone in, and preparing food for them—even just having them in your home—there’s a vulnerability; but there’s also a vulnerability in extending an invite to somebody. There’s always that: “Am I pushing too much? Does this person want to hang out with me?”
I think that recognizing that there’s a vulnerability around hospitality is important; but I think we want to press into that vulnerability, because people need to be included and invited.
Bob: When you go home, and you’ve had a relational evening, the food is inconsequential; how messy the house was is inconsequential. But you go to a lovely home and have a great meal—and it’s a chilly atmosphere—you go home and go, “I don’t want to go back there”; right? That’s what we have to keep in mind as we are being hospitable. What matters is more about the relationship than about Martha Stewart; right?
Dave: Yes, right; and I know with Ann—she is the queen of hospitality in terms of/this happens many times—when people get to the front door to leave, the couple will often say, “We had the greatest time,”—and they’re not just being nice. And I know why—because the whole night, she asked them questions about their life; we didn’t talk about us—she’s a great question-asker, so they talked about...
I want to go, “I know why you had a great time! You talked about yourself all night!”; you know? [Laughter] But people want to share their stories, so that is a big part of being hospitable; right?
Dave: Take the spotlight off yourself—don’t put it on even your house, although that is/you know, I’m not saying it’s not important—but put it on them, and let the night be about them. Is that true?
Morgan: Definitely. I think there’s knowing yourself—so you sort of set yourself up so you can be really available and be really present—and then seeking to know others, I think, is the most hospitable thing we can do; because it shows interest.
I share a quote in the book that says, “It’s better to be interested than interesting.” There’s something about—when someone looks you in the eyes, and is asking you a question, and really wants to know the answer—there’s something that resonates with you. I think that’s how we build community, and that’s how we enter into people’s lives: is by saying, “I want to share your life with you. I want to know you.”
I was going to also mention—we were talking about having your home be comfortable—when you make your home hospitable and comfortable for somebody, I think it’s going to make it easier for that person to extend an invite back. If someone comes into your home—and they see it too polished, or too perfect, or they feel pressure—that might almost be intimidating. It’s important to find that sweet spot for yourself, where you can be comfortable and create that coziness for guests.
Dave: I mean, if you have somebody over to your house—here’s the question that I would wonder—“How would you define success? What should our goal be?” I wonder if my goal is the wrong goal. [Laughter] You know, because I often—like Bob—think about the early years. I mean, we’ve been married 40 years; but I would think, “I had a good time, so the night was great.” I wasn’t often thinking, “Did they have…”
I remember one time, somebody playing golf with me, once said, “You know what the goal should be whenever you play golf?” I’m like, “Shoot par?” [Laughter] He goes, “No! The goal should be that the people you play with enjoy it.” I’m like, “Oh, so you’re telling me I’m being too competitive?”—you know, whatever—“because, when you play a bad round, you’re not fun to be around”; right? He’s like, “That should never be the goal. It should be…”
I’m thinking you might say something like that; right? If somebody’s in your house, and you’re being hospitable, hopefully, the goal is: “When they leave, they go, ‘I love being there! I want to back to the Wilsons’”; is that the goal?
Morgan: Yes; because I think, if you’re comfortable as a host, that will make your guests feel more comfortable. When you’re more comfortable, I think you’re able to connect more easily. You know, I’ve been to someone’s home—and maybe they’re uptight or things are going awry—and there’s this stress. That can be harder to settle in and to connect.
The important piece is to remember that the goal is community and connection, not necessarily the presentation or just how things look. I would definitely—I like that story; that’s perfect—it’s being others-centered: “How am I making people feel in my presence?”
Ann: Okay, I’m just going to say that this has created a lot of fights in our house. [Laughter]
Dave: Yes, I was just going to say it reminds me of a song.
Dave: Yes, I just thought of a song.
Bob: —a song?!
Dave: Yes; what’s interesting is, when I was reading your book, Morgan, I thought, “Oh, that’s in the song, Give a Little Bit, which is this fun song; but it’s about hospitality.
Dave: I’ll read you the second verse; it says: “I’ll give a little bit; I’ll give a little bit of my life for you.” Third verse: “So give a little bit; give a little bit of your time to me.” I mean, think about it: yes, it isn’t recorded as a Christian song, but the message is a Christian hospitable message.
I just thought it was interesting—again, I’m not saying that’s a phenomenal song—but when he says, “Give your love to me; give your life to me; give your time to me,” I thought that really is, not only what our neighbors and strangers are longing for—and we are, too—but if we did that, I mean, I’m preaching your book: “If we were hospitable, and we lived out the biblical command to be hospitable, even to strangers, we would give love, time, and life; and it would actually bring a smile to somebody’s life.” That’s the goal.
You say, so often, in the book it isn’t about the house has to be perfect; it’s about people and relationships.
Dave: That’s what the song’s sort of getting at. Talk about that; because that’s sort of the mission behind the word, “hospitality.” How would you respond to that?
Morgan: Well, can I read the definition of hospitality? I think this is really helpful. It says: “Hospitality is the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers; a quality or disposition of receiving guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way.” To me, that speaks to the heartbeat behind it.
There’s the verse, 1 Peter 4:9, talks about to “offer hospitality without grumbling.” I think it’s important, too—when we know ourselves, and we fill our cup up; so we can go bless others—is the goal, so we can be hospitable with the best parts of ourselves. I just love that it talks about being warm and friendly. I think, as Christians, that should be our goal.
I talk in the book: what if we were that type of hospitable experience on the freeways, or to anyone in line behind us—that we’re looking around in all of our circles—and thinking, “How do I bless others in my everyday life?”
Ann: Another thing you talk about is extending hospitality, and it can look different to different people. You give some examples of what that could be. One of the examples was a new neighbor comes, and you welcome them with a basket. You’re not just necessarily saying you have to have dinner for someone; talk about some other ideas.
Morgan: Yes; I shared that story because it was very clear to me when I moved into my new home. This neighbor just dropped it off; I never even got to see her, but it just felt so welcoming. I think that we can put hospitality into this box of, again: “It has to look like having people in your home.” I do think that’s a very big part of hospitality, but it can be so many small things.
Ann: What did your neighbor do? Talk about that.
Morgan: Oh, sorry; yes. She brought a basket over; and it had a plant in it, and a card, and she introduced her three kids, and “Can’t wait to get to know you.” It just felt so welcoming. Again, I was noticed; I was known. I think it can be easy in neighborhoods to sort of move in, and you get into your garage, shut the door, and you may not be meeting people.
I had another neighbor in that same neighborhood, who I didn’t really know well. I can’t even remember her name; but she would drive by, and she would give the best wave and smile. I mean, I thought I was in a parade; I’m just trying to corral a toddler. She just had that warmth; and it gave me the feeling that, if I really needed something from her, I could go over to her.
Ann: All she did was wave and smile!
Morgan: Right! So I don’t think hospitality has to be complicated; it doesn’t have to take a lot of time, but it’s just showing up.
Dave: It’s interesting—we have a guy in our neighborhood: older man; I’m guessing he’s empty nest, probably retired, walks his dog almost every day—and he is the nicest, warmest guy ever. He’s just like that; you drive by, he waves.
I noticed the other day—we’re in a cul-de-sac—and he was out in the street, and I noticed him walking slow. This is during COVID, so it’s a whole—and I want to ask you about that, because it’s a different world to be hospitable in—but I’m watching/his name’s Frank—I watched him look toward our cul-de-sac to see if anybody was out. Our neighbors, Nick and Pam were out; and he comes right in. There they are, standing in front, talking/having a conversation, six feet apart or more. I thought, “Wow, this dude is intentional! He’s taking a walk…”
Ann: He keeps little bones in his pockets for all the dogs that he meets along the way, which is super sweet.
Dave: I just thought, “I want to be like Frank! Why am I not more caring? I’m the pastor of the neighborhood; I’m the representative of Christ; I should be out there walking around, doing what Frank does.” Everybody loves Frank; he just walks up and five-minute conversation. I saw him being intentional. I just thought he’s taking a walk; but no, he’s actually looking. He wasn’t going to come in our cul-de-sac unless somebody was out, and there they were.
Talk about that. Obviously, Frank has what you’re talking about, a perspective that people matter; right?
Morgan: Yes, he’s showing up and loving people. I love that. The word that really stuck with me there was “intentionality.” I think that that’s—once you know sort of your hospitality personality—how you’re hardwired/what your strengths are—I think the more you play to your strengths and the more intentional you are, the more of an impact you can have to love God and to love people through that.
I talk in the book about spontaneous hospitality, which doesn’t take much planning, but there’s secret hospitality, too. Frank could be doing things that you don’t even know that he’s doing. But I love that he’s being so thoughtful and bringing the dog bones. That’s such a small act, but what a gift.
Dave: I love/you say in your book, at some point toward the end, that hospitality is The Golden Rule in action. “Love God; love others” is what Jesus said are the top two priorities of life. You’re saying, “That’s how you do it!” It’s a great way to think, “That’s how I can live out my faith.”
Bob: Okay, but let me ask all of you—I’m thinking of the person, who’s listening right now, and going: “On my priority list of things to do today in my life, hospitality is—I mean, I know it’s important—but I have laundry, which seems more important than hospitality at the moment,” “I have soccer practice,” and “I have this,” and “I have…” I mean, the margin for hospitality—what do you do with that?—because I think everybody feels like, “I know I should be doing something here, but I’m just covered up.”
Morgan: There are different types of hospitality that I identify:
There’s inward hospitality, where maybe you’re in a season—where you’re needing to receive more hospitality—whether you’re just going through something more difficult/your time is super stretched.
There’s mutual hospitality. I share in the book, where we did a Thanksgiving or friends-giving; and we show up, and we all just pitch in.
Then there’s outward hospitality, where you are giving more.
I think it’s important/I’m a big proponent of really looking at your life season and looking at what you have available. I heard the word, “margin,” there: “What is my margin for hospitality?” I think, as we just mentioned earlier, the neighbor driving by and waving, that didn’t—
Bob: —cut any margin.
Morgan: —cost any—yes, no time or energy, really, there. I think I would encourage people to really look at their life season and really notice what they can give in this season.
Bob: If somebody says to you, “You know, we’re going to be hospitable. At least, twice a year, we’re going to do something intentional that’s hospitality,” would you say, “Twice a year? That’s the best you can do?” or would you say, “Okay, if that’s what you can do, that’s what you can do”?
Morgan: Yes; I think, depending on your situation. It would all depend on what they’re walking through/what they’re living through. I think, too, if that’s defining hospitality of having people in your home, maybe that’s what you’re able to do. But again, you could be hospitable when you go to work or by remembering to text somebody on an important occasion. Hospitality is also just reaching out and loving people.
Ann: I would say, too, hospitality is loving people.
Ann: That’s part of our overflow of who we are as believers and walking with God.
Bob, I get that. We’ve all had those seasons with our kids, where we’re swamped; but there’s also that idea that we’re always demonstrating and showing our kids what it looks like to love others.
Dave: Yes; I would say, from reading your book—tell me, I’m not going to put words in your mouth—but one of the things I learned was being hospitable is being present. Like what Bob is saying—it may/I don’t have time to have somebody over; but if I’m with my kids today/if I’m standing in line to pick up my kids, wherever I am—“Am I really present there and fully there?”
Ann: “Well, I’m going to love and encourage someone.”
Bob: Maybe the point is: “Lean into this.”
Bob: Just figure out: “Okay, can we do a little more in this area? What’s an intentional step we could take?” and take that step. It doesn’t have to be: “I’m now committing to a weekly dinner for eight,”—right?—but lean in; take that next step. In fact, it would help for you to get a copy of Morgan’s book, Your Hospitality Personality: How You Can Confidently Create Connection and Community. You can entertain with joy and confidence; yes, even you.
We’re making that available today to FamilyLife Today listeners, who can support the ongoing work of this ministry with a donation—those of you who agree with what we are all about, here, at FamilyLife®—to effectively develop godly marriages and families who change the world one home at a time. If you resonate with that objective, and want to support the ongoing work of this ministry, when you make your donation, we’ll send you Morgan’s book, Your Hospitality Personality, as our thank-you gift for your support.
You can donate, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com; or call 1-800-FL-TODAY. Again, the number to call is 1-800-358-6329; 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word “TODAY,”—that’s to donate by phone. Or you can donate easily, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com and request your copy of the book, Your Hospitality Personality, by Morgan Tyree.
Now, tomorrow, we’re going to continue talking about different approaches to hospitality. Maybe there’s one that fits who you are. Morgan Tyree is going to be back with us, again, tomorrow. I hope you can be back as well.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. Extra help today from Bruce Goff; thank you, Bruce. On behalf of our hosts, Dave and Ann Wilson, I’m Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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