Editor’s Note: We’re thrilled to have Sandy Coughlin guest post on MomLife Today! Sandy writes the inspiring blog Reluctant Entertainer,  .

I know every outdoor living space is different, be it a patio, deck, porch, side yard, and depending on what zone you live in, the weather has a lot to do with how much time you can actually spend in the out-of-doors. But the bottom line is that for summer entertaining, no matter what your situation, it’s about bringing comfort to your guests, so that they feel warm and welcome in your homes or in your outdoor areas. Summer entertaining is all about the people.

Summer is sweeter when you share it with friends. But after communicating with readers of my blog, ReluctantEntertainer.com, I realized we all come up with excuses for why we don’t invite others in. Or out!

I try to encourage readers to get out of their “safety zone” and try new things. The results of entertaining are connection and deeper relationships with others. It’s great to make new friends, to visit with old friends, and really, if you have a family, it’s one of the greatest gifts that you can hand down to your children: the gift of a hospitable heart. If the weather is too rainy or too hot, then have the party inside. Invite 2-3 people over and create an intimate setting in your home. If you don’t have a backyard, then host a party on your front porch. What about taking your hospitality with you to a park for a picnic, or if you’re really short on time, take your friends out to dinner?

When it comes to our homes, sometimes we just love safety so much, it stifles us. And when we are stifled, we don’t grow beyond a certain point, which means we miss out on many of life’s blessings. Hospitality is one of those life blessings. Here’s a little test to see if you’re in a rut with entertaining, and it’s time to give yourself a pep talk, get the family on board, invite some people over, create a simple meal, and open up your doors to hospitality and love!

Five Signs You’re Too Comfortable

1. You haven’t had people in to your home for at least six months.

2. You worry too much about the appearance of your house.

3. You haven’t forged a new friendship in a year.

4. You’ve become obsessed with your family’s issues.

5. You haven’t tried a new recipe in months; your cooking is in a rut.

Entertaining is not about impressing or out-doing one another. Hosting others should always be about the guests and not about yourself as hostess, so put the worries aside.

When it’s finally time to sit down for dinner, as hostess, I often sink back in my chair and relax. I love the conversation. It’s always good. And when our guests finally leave, there are definitely mixed feelings of not wanting to say goodbye, as well as feelings of loving and appreciating them more, because we got to know them in a more intimate way.

Inside or outside parties can be light and easy in the summertime, especially with an attitude of “it’s more about them and less about me.”

Yes, summer entertaining is about the people.

What’s your favorite way to host others in the summer months?