I've mentioned before how there was a time when most of my friendships were both easy and convenient.
Then life happened.
You know what I'm talking about, mama. Without even realizing it, we get wrapped up in our own little lives. Between work, kids, school, job changes, and just the day-to-day, time gets sucked away.
Too much time goes by between visits, phone calls, texts, and lunch or coffee dates with some of our closest and dearest friends.
But to have a friend, you have to be a friend. Even if you have a house full of toddlers or teenagers.
We must be intentional in nurturing friendships. Or those friendships will die. Whether quickly or slowly, they will die.
So a few years ago, with a little direction from Jen Hatmaker's book, For the Love, myself, my husband, and eight of our oldest friends here in Memphis instituted our own Supper Club, rotating homes for dinner every 4 to 6 weeks.
Following our very first "official" dinner, I knew it would stick.
I am the first to admit I'm a terrible Martha Stewart and not the best or Pinterest-worthy hostess. But I love having my people around and in my home. And I love being at their homes too.
Supper Club is one of my safe places.
It's filled with some serious, some goofy, and sometimes even tears. Nothing profound usually happens. But it always has lots of laughs and intentionality.
Intentionally nurturing relationships that aren't as convenient as they used to be is always worth it. And I plan to not let these friends of mine slip through the cracks of life.
What about you?
My challenge to you is to start your own Supper Club. Between the diapers and carpools and work conferences and daily commutes, don't forget about those friends lingering on the outskirts of your day-to-day.
Ask yourself who the friends are that you need in your Supper Club.
* A couple’s thing?
* Just for the girls?
* Friends you still see regularly?
* Friends you hardly see?
Also, with intentionality, there needs to be some planning. So for my personal Supper Club, we set rules, which I'm sharing below. (These have been adapted and modified from For the Love.)
Tips and Rules to Ensure Supper Club Success
1. Everyone must be present for Supper Club to happen.
This may mean you have to make adjustments last minute with hosting locations. If even one member of Supper Club has to cancel, the entire night is rescheduled. This is key. The whole point of Supper Club is to nurture friendships, and if someone isn’t there, that can't happen in totality.
This hard and fast rule also holds everyone in Supper Club accountable and motivated to not cancel unless absolutely necessary. This rule eventually will naturally lay out the priority of friendship in your life.
2. The host home does everything.
The cooking, the cleaning, all of it. Guests are only allowed to bring wine or some other type of fun beverage. No potlucks. (We'll discuss why in number 3.)
The food is serious...ish.
Much to my husband’s dismay on our host night, Taco Bell or Little Caesar’s Hot ‘n Ready pizzas won’t cut it. We’re talking a good dinner. While it doesn’t have to be gourmet (have you seen me in the kitchen?!?), it needs to be a yummy, sit-down around the table meal everyone would enjoy.
If you aren't able to plan and cook, catering is fine. But again - no skimping on your guests with Taco Bell's dollar menu.
3. One night every 4-6 weeks, rotating houses. ?
Depending on how many people and homes are in the rotation, each person (or couple) will only host once every few months, possibly even once a year. For my Supper Club, we have five married couples. So that means once every five rotations (usually once a year) my husband and I are the hosts.
The rest of the time, we just show up, eat amazing food, drink beer or wine and laugh until we cry and leave our friend's kitchen an absolute crime scene. .?
Supper Club is any night of the week that everyone can make work. So 10 or 11pm on a Tuesday or Wednesday is not out of the question, despite the consequences of such a late night.
4. No kids allowed.
I love my kids. And I love my friends' kids like they are my own. But unfortunately, children take up a lot of attention and energy. Supper Club is meant for grown-ups to pay attention to other grown-ups and not their children (for once!).
So, sorry kiddos, but - this time - you're not invited. (*see special notes and suggestions below for the one exception.)
Non-hosting parents get sitters, even if sometimes we have to fight over the same babysitter. (May the odds be ever in your favor, mama.) On nights we've had babysitters cancel or other child care fiascos, we troubleshoot and put our kids to bed at the party. (The kids never complained of a slumber party. Even if the "slumber" only lasted until it was time to go home after dinner.)
Since our group has no less than 10 children between us, we usually start Supper Club later than our old, tired selves would like. This way the hosts' kids are already in bed or with a neighbor or sitter in the back room or upstairs. But we remind ourselves that it's only one night every 4 to 6 weeks. By the end of the night, we don't even realize how late it is.
Special notes and suggestions:
- Grace is given to newborns who need mama every 3-4 hours. So they are invited until they age out of Supper Club.
- The next Supper Club date should be decided on before leaving the host's home.
- What happens at Supper Club stays at Supper Club. Failure to comply will result in flogging. #trusttree
- Have a yearly celebration out on the town. For our Supper Club's One Year Anniversary, our SC headed to Cooper Young area for dinner and then bar hopped throughout the neighborhood like we were 21 again. Let the good times roll...
- Around the holidays have Supper Club Family Day or Dinner. Bring all the kids, all the additional friends you want and relax as a large family of friends. Hint: this one may need to be potluck style for the host's sake. *wink*
Do you have a dinner or supper club? What rules or suggestions do you have to make it successful?