One of the best ways to learn hospitality is by taking mental notes of how other people practice it. Another way of looking at it is to say that one of the best ways to learn how to offer hospitality is to first receive it. (And if you like receiving it, then you can probably imagine that others do also!)
Unfortunately, I think we're at a bit of a disadvantage in America today because so few people practice genuine hospitality that it's hard for people to learn how to do it themselves. Some lead by example and others follow by example. We each fall into a different camp during different stages of life. However, as we learn more about the best ways in which we can personally offer hospitality, we will likely discover that the way we've learned how to do it is by watching others people try their hands at it.
When I had my first baby (3 1/2 years ago) via c-section, I discovered the joys and blessings of having other people bring my family meals. For the first time in my life, I was unable to care for my husband and myself in this way (and I found this enormously frustrating, let me say!) I had to learn to accept the help and it took me awhile to admit I needed the help. That said, it didn't take me long to learn to appreciate it!
I learned something from each of the meals that were brought. Sometimes I learned what NOT to do in the future when it would be my turn to deliver a meal to someone else. But I also learned a few tips and tricks that I've since used when carrying for others in this way. For example, first and foremost I discovered the GLORIOUS blessing of having meals delivered in containers that people did not want back! Tupperware and recyclable baking pans are no laughing matter! It was scads easier to be able to throw away and recycle the dishes instead of having to take a pile of dishes to church and redistribute them. (Ever since that experience, I've tried always to take people food in containers that I do not need to have returned. It's so much more convenient for everyone!)
When you attend people's parties, do you notice when they work to make their guests more comfortable in some particular way? Do you remark on it to them, thanking them for their efforts? Do you try doing the same thing for your guests when you are hosting?
Do to others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:31If you like the way someone served and blessed others - try doing the same thing. If you appreciated their care to a particular detail, the chances are that your guests will notice the same thoughtfulness. This could be something as small as making sure there are extra visible rolls of toilet paper in the bathroom (to make sure your guests do not run out and are frantically trying to make amends with this fact!) to serving food buffet style so that those with allergies and particular likes and dislikes are allowed to "build a meal" that best suits them.
So, take notes! Learn from others. Compliment those who you notice practice hospitality very well and then emulate them. Spread the hospitality wealth around!
Have you seen hospitality practiced in a particular way that you really felt blessed by? Let's swap notes! Leave a comment below and let us know of some habit you've formed as a result of watching someone else.