Throughout your life, you’ve almost certainly experienced incredible degrees of hospitality.
In fact, certain areas of the world are known for it in their culture. For instance, consider the cliché of “southern hospitality".
I’ve been in Israel for just a couple days now, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how hospitable the Netanya locals are.
I had expected that they would be bored of Americans, considering how common it is for us to go on trips to Israel. Heck, this is my fourth time here!
Despite my doubts, I’ve already been given free stuff, had a wild conversation with a locksmith, and made friends with the guy who guards the elevator to the beach.
Each of these people could have acted far more coldly towards me, but were quite friendly instead.
Being able to host others, and particularly outsiders, requires both certain skills and certain mindsets. Without the proper mindsets, you will be unable to give off the friendly vibe that hospitality requires. And without the right skills, you will struggle to provide the proper help.
Why You Should Become More Hospitable
It might seem like a totally selfless practice, but being hospitable to others will benefit you as well.
It Helps Business
On my first night in Netanya, a few other people from my program and I got shawarma at a restaurant about a block from my apartment.
The man who was behind the counter, Ronan, had no shame in applauding what we had come to Israel to do. He made conversation with us, and gave us a plate to take some free extra food.
You can guarantee that I will be going back to this place.
You Will Meet Interesting People
It tends to be the case that your average out of towner has very different viewpoints and life experience than you do.
Being hospitable to others will oftentimes lead to great conversations, and sometimes result in meeting people who can teach you something you never would have had a chance to learn otherwise.
Mindsets For Hospitality
Some people are just jerks.
You don’t have to be!
Ultimately, the way you think about the world and the people around you is the greatest determinant of your hospitality.
Let’s take a look at a few mindsets you should have if you want to become more hospitable.
Consider Outsiders As The Same As You
We are all people.
It doesn’t matter if we don’t all speak the same language, if we don’t all look the same, or if we don’t believe in the same things. Our similarities run far deeper than our differences.
When you meet someone who is clearly from out of town, don’t be afraid of them. Don’t judge them or stereotype them.
It doesn’t matter whether the stereotype or judgment is correct; you don’t want to be correct, you want to be a good person.
Put Yourself In Their Shoes
This is an extension of the previous mindset.
Just imagine being this other person.
What if you were in an unknown area and ran out of gas in front of someone’s house? Wouldn’t that kinda suck? Wouldn’t getting help from a stranger make your day in that situation?
Even if someone isn’t in such a dire situation, you can put yourself in their shoes.
If you only know a few common words in their language, you can still try to have a conversation with them and figure out what they are trying to say.
For them, it is almost certainly intimidating to try to buy food at a supermarket when they can’t speak the language.
By putting yourself in their shoes, it’s easy to see how you can help them.
Assume The Other Person Is Friendly
While you might know nothing about the other person, there is no reason not to assume the best.
It is almost always the case that the stranger you could be talking to will respond positively to you.
This is a great mindset to have all the time. You’ll find that as soon as you start to assume other people are friendly, there will be a certain ease to meeting others that is hard to describe. It becomes less of a big deal to approach or talk to strangers, so you won’t experience the anxieties that you may have in the past.
Most people who are from out of town or whom you can really help out and make feel welcome will turn out to be very interesting people. These people will often have good stories, and sometimes you will have an experience that turns into a good story of your own!
Skills For Hospitality
The right mindsets are necessary if you are going to have any desire to be hospitable, but the right skills are what you need to actually help others as much as possible.
Know What You Have To Offer
This can be anything from a friendly attitude to an extra bed for someone to stay the night.
In different situations, you will have different things that you can offer, but it is important to be aware of what you can give so that you don’t over-promise and under-deliver.
Just as bad is to resist helping someone because you weren’t sure if you could.
Make sure. Know your situation, so that you can provide the proper help when necessary.
This doesn’t need to be a huge conscious effort. Simply counting your assets will go a long way towards knowing what you can offer.
And as an added bonus, counting your assets will help you feel more gratitude for what you have, which we all know is one of the best things we can do to improve our own happiness.
Know Your Locale
If you have been living somewhere for a while, you should know your way around the area. This is often the best way you can help someone else out.
By giving directions to someone who is lost, or a recommendation for a quality restaurant, supermarket, or whatever else they are looking for, you can be incredibly helpful to someone at no cost to yourself.
Get In The Habit Of Helping Others
While it may not seem necessary, making some time to help other people out regularly will vastly improve your ability to be hospitable.
If you are in the habit of rejecting others, you may be inhospitable as a knee-jerk reaction to a situation you are in.
A good way to get into this habit would be to give a dollar to homeless people you see. This may only work for people who live around cities.
For anyone else, try to establish at least a weekly routine of doing something like visiting sick people in the hospital. I used to volunteer in a hospital while in high school; believe me, you learn a lot about people who actually do need your help.
Being hospitable to other people is a valuable character trait. It takes some practice to develop, but anyone can become more hospitable to other people.
When have you had an experience where someone has been incredibly hospitable to you?