Entertainment, according to the dictionary means, "the action of providing or being provided with amusement or enjoyment."
Sure, that sounds fun. I'm in.
But this busy, modern world of ours has left many exhausted. Two radio hosts in my city recently joked that the next best thing to having company is when they cancel. That gave them a night to relax.
The dictionary describes company, companionship as "looking for the fellowship of friendly people."
That sounds more relaxing. Exactly what many of us look for, right?
A quick flip though magazines and books to help with your next gathering offers extensive ideas on how to spend more money and give more time to pull off the perfect gathering. Martha Stewart, a self proclaimed perfectionist, began this movement and many others have followed her cared out path.
My favourite definition of a perfectionist is, "One who takes great pains and gives them to another." (Author unknown) Martha and her proteges, teach us how to put on the perfect evening through finding the perfect decorations, to go with your perfect home and offers ideas for the perfect recipes.
I don't know about you, but I am pained and tired already.
There are no recommendations on being together, what that means and what that does for us (like make us healthier&happier). Nothing also on strengthening community, relationship and enjoying each other. We don't need all the external details to do this. Just some. And sure, sometimes going all out is nice, and really, some among us are gifted at it and they should rock it. But even they might want to tone it down often enough. I took a course on entertaining/how to treat company, when I was younger and it was all about the perfect setting and food. After asking some questions, the instructor admitted people usually didn't invite her back. I wonder, did they felt intimidated or inadequate? I would have.
Here's my idea. Invite your friends over. Make it good enough. Make it low key. Focus on the gathering together, on being together. Welcome them. Talk. Laugh. Ask about their life. Let them a bit more into yours. Do something fun. If it's been a busy week (like every week is), grill hot dogs/steaks, burgers (vegan if applicable), and a big platter of vegetables - or a one pan stir fry and an easy side dish. Have fruit and ice cream for dessert. Simple. Easy. Defuse expectations by informing the company it will be relaxed and low-key, and it's about getting together.
Be mindful before and during the gathering. Are you more relaxed (other than perfection's voice trying to give you pains)? Was this less time consuming? Are your friends more relaxed? Would this being easier to repeat?
If you focus on friendship, you don't need a perfect table setting. Yes, a perfect table setting might make a splash - however - Friendship is about the real deal, not the image. Friendship is it's own splash.
Everyone once in a while go all out. Of course. But company is about being together. Companionship is about gathering together. It's about something more earthy, real and authentic. It's about the thing we crave deep down in our soul which is connection with others. Nothing makes us more happy and soul satisfied.
Karen Cook Counselling & Therapeutic Life Coaching
Eating Disorders and Women's Issues Specialist
This is your season to learn, grow, and develop a full and deeply satisfying life.