My husband is a professional baseball coach which means our family moves 2-3 times a year. While we enjoy the excitement of exploring new cities, it can be hard to constantly be the new people in town.

Making friends is difficult when people are busy and you aren’t part of their everyday hustle and bustle. Too many times, good intentions get lost in the shuffle of “Let’s get together sometime!” and “We need to have you over for dinner!”

I get it. Life is busy, and you want to make a good impression the first time someone new comes over. I’m guilty of this too, waiting for a clean house and the right date on the calendar to let anyone past my front doorstep.

But in all my travels, I have learned the secret to simple hospitality:

People aren’t looking for a perfectly hosted dinner party, they are simply craving a place at the table. A few moments to feel seen and heard and loved.

We don’t need a fancy plan, we simply want to be invited into your life.

One of my fondest memories with new friends began with a last-minute invitation to simply “come over and hang out.” We ended up sitting on the carpet drinking tea and nibbling half-eaten chocolate bars, talking for hours while the kids played and watched movies. There were dirty dishes in the sink and crumbs on the kitchen floor. It was real life and it was wonderful.

I know some of you reading this are hostesses with the mostest. You love putting together the perfect menu with the perfect guest list and the perfect table setting. That is your gift, and I am so glad (and a little envious).

There is nothing like a good dinner party with every detail lovingly planned out. When you put together that kind of effort and invite me, I feel special and loved.

But most of the time what I long for even more is to simply be invited in, no matter what your house looks like.

Recently a single friend expressed frustration over the difficult task of fitting into the lives of busy families. When I asked her what she wanted the most, she simply said, “I would love to sit on the floor of your living room while you fold laundry and your kids run around and play.”

That’s it.

What she wanted most was an invitation into real life.

Summer feels like the perfect time to practice this kind of simple hospitality. Schedules are clearer, plans are looser, people are generally more relaxed in the summer. So instead of saying, “Let’s get together sometime!” try saying, “Come over and hang out!”

Practice inviting people past the front doorstep, into your home, and make plans as you go. Maybe you could prepare a meal together or drink iced tea and watch the kids play. Nothing fancy, just life lived together.

This summer let’s give up the idea of perfection and start practicing simple, real life hospitality instead.