What's the big deal about Young Living

When No One Greets the Visitor

Have you ever been a visitor or new person in a group and quickly figured out you are going to be The One No One Greets?

This happened to me recently, and because I am a confident and outgoing person, it only bothered me slightly, but I wondered what it would have felt like if I had been someone needing encouragement that day.

Here I am talking about exactly what happened. (Email readers may need to click through to the blog to see the video.) What do you think? What would you have done in this situation?

I posted about this on my Facebook page, and it got lots of comments over there. I was shocked that there are actually people out there who do not want to be greeted when they are in a new situation! This was like finding out that there are people who prefer not to breathe air!

Which one are you? Do you want to be greeted when you are new to a group? Or would you prefer everyone to leave you alone?

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  1. Thank you for posting this, Connie!!! As a military family who moves often and has to walk into new situations with every move, this has happened to me quite often. In our last church when I was about 7 months pregnant (very huge) I went to a Beth More simulcast and not one person spoke to me. I went up to several groups like you did with little to no response from the ladies there. Then lunch was served…Chick-fil-A sandwiches out of a box…I had to sit on the floor and eat alone. That in and of itself was pretty much humiliating for a very pregnant me who was very self-conscious, but the looks I got from people walking by drove me over the edge. I went to my van to eat my brownie alone and called my husband in tears. I ended up leaving feeling horrible about myself and very discouraged.

    I try to make a point to speak to new people now because I know how much it means to make someone feel welcome and how much it hurts not to be welcomed.

    On another note, our current church has been a totally different story. We were welcomed with open arms as soon as we walked through the doors. Everyone went out of their way to introduce themselves and make this new family feel welcomed, even though we’re only here for six months. We’re moving to El Paso in a few weeks and I’m already apprehensive about what our experience will be visiting churches there.

    • Smockity Frocks says:

      Oh, Monica! This story makes me sad and mad and sorry for every single time I may have overlooked a visitor! ((((hugs)))

    • This breaks my heart…I guess because I can so identify with your story. I’m an Army “brat” and as a result, NEVER feel like I “fit” anywhere. I am grown and still struggle with this. I’m so glad you are in a church now where you were welcomed and comfortable.

    • (((HUGS))) I totally sympathize! I have not moved a ton, but I definitely know about being ignored. What saddens me most is the people who are turned off of Jesus and the life saving word, because of inconsiderate people. Just as important as making new people feel welcome when you encounter them is giving feedback, feedback might save the next new person, it might do nothing, but at least you will have tried.

  2. I’ve had the same reception from people who actually invited me to their local church (a non-denominational one). We all came (big family) because this other family had invited us. Anyway, after their big “hello”….that was it, they went off with their other friends and we sat in the back row in case the babies cried. I did like the preaching, so I went a few more times and took the oldest daughter with me. I got the same reception every time….and in fact, these were local families who also homeschool and frequent the library like we do. I see them all the time, and I feel like I’m back in high school with the cliques, and obviously, I never fit in and I still don’t. It’s really sad that Christians can “clan” up against other Christians…especially when there’s been many times I’ve wanted encouragement. We’re thousand miles from family up here, and I really wanted a church family, but after 7 years, our closest good friends are 2 neighbors who are in their 70s and 80s….they have been the ones that love and care for us, and we love and care for them. One of them….he refuses to go to church—says they’re all a bunch of hypocrites (he’s a Christian, though), and the other one does go to church but she thinks her problems are too small to bother God about—so I “bother” God for her :)

  3. Oh my! Thank you for posting this. I see this happen a lot. I really try hard to make people welcomed but I’m sure I fail many times. Thank you for the reminder, we all need it!

  4. I recently have started homeschooling my youngest daughter who is in 6th grade. We joined a homeschooling group that one of my other homeschooling moms belongs to but she never goes to any of the things going on with the group because she is too busy. Anyways when my daughter and I showed up the first day of her co-op class no one came to introduce themselves or anything. I am not an outgoing person so it’s hard for me to go up to strangers and introduce myself. It was like everyone had their own little cliques and I was the outsider. We did our co-class for 10 weeks and there really is only one person who actually talked to me. I try to encourage my daughter to make new friends in this group since this is all new to us this year because she has been in public school up to this point. It’s just hard when people won’t even make a effort to introduce themselves. My daughter and I are going to attempt the group again and hopefully this time it will go better.

  5. I am not an outgoing person at all and would probably not have the confidence to just walk up to those close-knit groups and try to find a friend. In fact, when I first started high school, I had a lot of trouble making friends because I was so shy and the only reason I made any was because someone mistook me for my younger sister, who was friends with their own younger sister. So I definitely feel the sting when I’m the visitor no one greets.

  6. I am so appalled by the rude treatment you received at this church. I have never been in a church where I was so rudely treated. I was at a Ladies conference this year, and when we entered the preconference breakfast the clusters were all going. We walked in and weren’t greeted for the first 5 minutes. Finally, I just walked up to a group an introduced myself. I met some lovely ladies that day, but getting started was hard. The two friends that went with me are rather shy and wouldn’t go with me to meet another group, staying to the side and talking with each other. They were not greeted until the lunch break. That is a shame. Thank you for sharing your experience and reminding everyone to be more like Christ in all situations! Also I was curious, did the mom of your daughter’s friend not ever greet you?

  7. I think that whether someone prefers to be greeted or not may have to do with how much of an introvert or extrovert they are. I would very much prefer to not be greeted! I would rather people not be rude to me, so that if I go up and talk to THEM, they are kind, but I certainly don’t want to be bombarded by people when I go to a new place. That feels akin to walking onto a used car lot to me.

    • Mama Mirage says:

      No not really. I’m about as introverted as one can get. I’d personally prefer to never leave the house. I’m afraid of people. But when I have to be someplace where there are other people, nothing in the world is worse than being invisible. I’d rather be greeted by people who know how to keep a conversation going so that I don’t just stand there awkwardly feeling conspicuous and doing nothing.

  8. What a great video! I, like you said, try really hard to greet people and say hello. I didn’t follow the thread on your FB page, but it’s hard to imagine people not wanting to be greeted. But even so, once someone has come up to talk to you then you should turn and give them some attention, make sure they feel welcome, know where things are, etc.

    I am confident too, but not particularly outgoing (introvert) so I have to push myself to go up and talk to people. I wouldn’t have stuck it out as long as you did girl…..you’re a real trooper!

    I’m so glad you explained it here. Maybe it will make a difference in someone’s life. Lisa!

  9. Tony Mays says:

    Great video, and I wanted to add that it is not just Baptist Churches with this problem. When I first started going to a Church of Christ 16 years ago, I had been raised a Baptist and was uncertain of this “different than use to” congregation. I was greeted by one person, and that one person followed it up with a phone call and a visit. Years later, when I became a deacon, I implemented a plan. Since I was song leader, I led my first song and had everyone set. I then asked all the members to stand and visitors stay seated. Then I said “Members, you have 5min to find a visitor, make them feel welcomed, and make a new friend”. SUCCESS!!! Not only did the congregation start growing, but I taught so many people how to actually talk to a visitor and make them feel as though they belong. It is done every Sunday, even after I no longer attend that congregation, and every time they have had an event since, no one has a problem with greeting strangers there, and making them feel welcome. Every Church, and everyone could use this as practice. Once you start, it becomes habit. All you have to do when you meet a visitor or someone new is first introduce yourself, ask them who they are, then ask something about themselves. Most everyone likes to talk about themselves or their passions, especially if you give them your undivided attention, and listen to what they have to say.

  10. Just shared your video on my Facebook along with a story from when I was a teenager: When I was a teenage new Christian, I had been witnessing to some rather rough kids at school and invited them to come to my church’s Easter pageant where they would see a dramatization of the crucifixion and resurrection. I saved seats for them right up front… but they never came. The next day at school I asked them why. They had been met at the door of the church by a woman who told them, “We don’t want your kind here.” So they turned around and left. I’ve never forgotten it. Being unfriendly can lead to someone’s heart being further hardened against Christ.

    • Mama Mirage says:

      That is the saddest thing ever! Way to deny Christ (that woman, not you)! :(

    • Anna, that is sooo sad! My husband won’t commit to being a member of my church because years ago when he was in highschool, a man at the church I was raised in told him that if he wasn’t rebabtized in the “right” church he was going to hell, this was followed up at another congregation when at college being told the same thing(same name on the front of both churches, I don’t believe in denominationalism)
      Regardless of how you believe, I can tell you, you’ll lose more souls with approaching people that way. Let them ask question, study with them, don’t hit them with your going to hell because you weren’t raised in the “right” church, which is how my husband felt. He was searching for the truth and a church home, 20 years later he is still hardened by the experiences.

  11. This may seem harsh but they are clearly NOT part of the body of Christ. The real body of Christ loves and cares for the other members of the body. There is no such thing as cliques in the kingdom of God. What you experienced was just pathetic. I am a pastor’s wife and know first hand how much people need to be loved and acknowledged as part of the family of God. I also know how those who are hurting sometimes view the ‘church’. We need to be especially sensitive to those and love them like our own. We could surely win them by showing the love of God.

    We love you here, Connie. :)

  12. We go to a pretty large church, with 3 different services, so we still don’t know a number of the people who go there. Any time we’ve gone to a different service than usual, or spent one of the hours in the commons, we’ve had lots of people come over and chat us up, thinking we’re new. I love the church we attend for that reason. They really do care about bringing new people into the fold. I have been to churches where it was more of a social club, with no thought of including anyone new. That is sad, and dead, and I don’t know if the answer is to run away from them, or try to infiltrate the ranks and teach them better.

  13. To be honest, I kind of feel the ladies at my current church are like this. I went to a woman’s Bible Study recently and if I hadn’t already had a friend going with me it would have been a very lonely experience. Sometimes I wonder if I don’t give off the “come say hi to me” vibe because I can be very introverted if I don’t feel comfortable in a situation.

    I’m sorry you dealt with such clique-y types. It’s tough because sometimes I’m so excited to go to an event to spend time with girlfriends and that’s my focus. So I’m not totally revved up to meet new people. I appreciate your perspective here though. It’s something I’ll try to always keep in mind!Thank you!

  14. Things like this make me so frustrated. One of the biggest no-no’s in our home is to leave someone out. When you see someone “new”, introduce yourself, welcome them, and do your best to make them feel comfortable and included. I have been in the no-one-bothers-to-greet-the-new-person(family) situation far too many times. The fact that I am an outgoing, energetic, and confident person has given my family confidence in such situations, but not everyone is a people person. Why in the world would someone who regards themselves as being Christ-like not welcome and reach out to someone who is new? It is our first and biggest opportunity to show someone just how much God does love them!!!
    Bless you, Connie!

  15. I wish all churches would show this! My late husband was a pastor and we tried to greet people when they came. When he died the church was very split about things and as a result I got the “do you know what they are saying” from one side and “Why did your husband do this, or put this…” from the other. I was a torn mess. I chose to leave and go elsewhere. I went to a church for 6 months with almost no one greeting me. I tried to fit in but it was just same people talking to same people. I moved and went to at least 9 more churches trying to fit in. Being friendly on my part got me the same as you got. One church no one even shook my hand during greet the people time. The pastor ignored me and stuck with his buddies during the time as well as at the end (The church was only about 40 – 50 people and I was very obviously the newcomer). I was hurting from being a widow and missing my life as it was and now all the church clicks were not even welcoming me.

    Took lots of going and discouragement before I found a church where I said hi and got a hi back and was welcomed, sat with and shown the bathroom, coffee bar in the kitchen and the general layout of the place and service.
    We do a lot of harm by not being there and welcoming. I am not saying jumping on and not letting a new comer breathe but welcoming and letting them know where things are and what is what.

  16. I hate to say it, but your experience is exactly like many I’ve had. And many I’ve witnessed, even among church members. We attended a church for almost two years, and the only two people who spoke to us were long-time family friends-my parents’ friends. Not one person tried to make conversation or make us feel welcome.

    We haven’t been to any church in a long time and the thought of finding a new one terrifies me. I want to find a place I can be a part of, but the indifference to newbies I’ve experienced is overwhelming. I was going to go to a new church this past Sunday…I had a panic attack instead.

    • Reading your last paragraph, I feel very much the same way. We do attend a church regularly, but would love to find another where I felt like we really “belong”…the thought of actually doing that makes me queasy!!

  17. I have been treated the same way – in our current church. It is a large church and I am spoken to if another person is needed to volunteer for VBS, child care, etc. but ignored a lot otherwise. (Now, I’m not a fan of the “hand-shakin’, meet and greet” because I don’t like being touched by people I don’t know/am not close with.) I’m shocked all over again on occasion by how many cliques exist in our church. We have attended there for years, but have never “joined” because I don’t feel at home there. :/ Because it’s a large church, if I see somebody I don’t recognize, I usually go with some version of “Hi!”…blah, blah, blah…followed by “it’s good to see you.” That way, if we’ve met before, it was “good to see them” if not, it was still good to see them there.

  18. Wow. When I read the intro post on facebook, at first I was thinking, hey, well, yes, but I am a shy introvert that prefers to be left alone. Hearing the story – I don’ t think ANYONE prefers to be visibly shut out, no matter what your personality or where you are from! I am glad you posted this, it is a good reminder that church is the Body of Christ…not a best buddies club where you only include your pals.

  19. Dear Connie,
    Thank you so much for confronting us woman on this. I am of the same personality as you so don’t often feel left out as I am usually looking for those that are new. None the less I am particualy challanged to be more sensitive to those on Sunday mornings when us home school moms gather together in the foyer of the church. What I realy wanted to bless you for is trying to make others aware of out siders/newcomers that are out side of our comfort zone. I have some children that are recovering drug addicts and a single mother….they might as well have leprcy in they situations. Sadly hey find acceptance in the world far faster than in the church….and if they are met in the church they become projects not a friend so to speak. Just a challange to others……we aren’t any better, just saved by our dear Savious grace.

  20. Great post! When Hubby and I got married 6 1/2 months ago, I moved from central Alabama to northwest Arkansas. EVERYTHING was new and different. I was experiencing something that I call “Post-Wedding Depression.” The people in our congregation are so friendly and I was thankful to be welcomed in the group with open arms. I’m thankful to be part of a group like that! I’m typically an outgoing person, but due to the “blueness” I was feeling, the vast amount of people was VERY overwhelming. It was to the point that I didn’t look forward to going to Bible class because I knew I’d have to talk to people (VERY out of character for me). That said, I’m very glad that everyone was so nice to me. Eventually I got back to my “old” self and enjoyed being around people. There definitely were some times that I wished only a couple of people would have talked to me and the rest ignored me, but looking back, I’m glad they were/are so nice. And no one would have known that I felt so uncomfortable. I hid those feelings till we got in the car, and then cried my eyeballs out!

    In all this rambling, I guess I’m trying to say that I understand that there are some people who want to be left alone in new situations. But still be nice to them. Still talk to them. They might NEED that even if the don’t WANT it :-)

  21. This makes me sad and angry. I have been to churches that are wonderful about welcoming visitors and I have been to those that are awful too. I have found myself in many situations eating alone or having no one to talk to and I think I’m pretty friendly. All I can say is those that can not be welcoming are either too wrapped up in themselves or too insecure. I haven’t been impressed with our new church because of this, especially with the chidlren. Their little groups are formed and they feel no need to “let” any other kids in. Really, I think this is a huge reflection on their parents attitudes, sad:(

  22. I’m the introvert, I don’t expect to be greeted much, I generally assume people pick up the “awkward” vibes and steer clear 😉 But courtesy is always pleasant, and when the occasional extrovert picks me out to make conversation I do like to feel welcome. I try to be more outgoing knowing that relationships I form will influence the kids’ social network, but I have a really hard time picking “newcomers” out anyplace. If someone is sitting obviously alone and looking perplexed I can work up the courage to converse, otherwise I just rely on smile and shake hands and figure if they want a friend they will let me know :-)

  23. I am an Army Wife as well, although now we are settled in our hometown of Orange County California, and plan to be out of the military soon. I feel very much like the first commenter, and have had both experiences. I have had the experience of being totally ignored, to the point of sobs in my minivan on my drive home, I have been judged for tattoos that I have on my arms, without anyone trying to get to know me or ask me how I REALLY feel about them, and I have had churches, like the last two that have been so welcoming and wonderful. Sometimes I like to tell myself “I don’t like to be greeted”, because often I can sniff out insincerity a mile away, and there is NOTHING worse than an insincere greeting. Knowing they are just doing a job, and not concerned with you personally. But the more I build genuine relationships with women who “greeted me in the Lord”, the more I realize how important true greetinga are. Some of my very closest and precious friends here were the ones who reached out to me my very first two weeks at church. They hounded me! It was precious, and I adore them even more now two years later. I want to do that now for every new woman I meet.

  24. Stephanie Harris says:

    Ok ok- I usually stay out of stuff like this. In fact this is the first comment I have ever left on a blog. I can’t just let this go. I don’t even know how I came to like your page. My guess is that a friend of mine likes your page and somehow I clicked it unwittingly.

    I am a fellow Homeschooling Christian mom. I don’t even know where to start. I was appalled at your post a few days ago about a downtown area that had a large homeless population that was bothering you. I didn’t comment on it because as I said before I am not big on entering into drama. However now I feel I must speak up.
    To be honest I didn’t even watch your video about being left out because I feared I would only end up more offended and saddened by it.
    I wonder how the homeless people that were trying to engage with you felt when they were shunned by you. It is my prayer that the greatest commandment is learned by this experience. The greatest commandment given in the Bible over and over again is to love one another as Christ loved us. God doesn’t differentiate His love to social status or living situations. Nor should we. The people that were bothering you deserved to be seen as a child of God worthy of acknowledgement. Just as you were worthy of a warm embrace upon entering a House of Worship claiming to be filled with Christ followers.
    Everyone has a story. With a begining, middle and end. We run into one another along the way, all at various chapters in our own stories. We are called to above all else, love each other. Which means everyone, not just the ones that rub you the right way. Love each other. However we can. Period. End of story.

    • I think it is good that you are feeling free to respond to a blog post. However, you obviously aren’t very familiar with this blog since this is your comment. I don’t know Connie personally, but I feel like I do because I follow her blog. She has a much longer story than the two posts you have read as well. And my bet is that the two of you are similar in personality in that you are rather black and white and call it like you see it. This post was meant as an encouragement/admonishment to all of us as Christian women to step it up and make a difference where we can…not to bash the unwelcoming Church women. Connie talks like a mom, probably because she is one full-time (I can relate). Don’t let it offend you. Get to know her or move on to someone else’s blog you appreciate more. I agree with all of your insight, but I think it is misplaced/ misapplied here.

    • Mama Mirage says:

      Interesting that you pass judgement without having even watched the video. Interesting that you do so and then preach about loving one another. I think that you may have found your heart was not so far from Connie’s on this matter if you had actually watched the video before getting so needlessly offended.

  25. Unfortunately, this very thing has happened to our family at more than one congregation. I’ve taken my teens to youth meetings where young people of the congregation hosting the Youth Day stuck to themselves and never introduced themselves to the visiting youth. :( At another congregation, we have been greeted by several people and even asked to stay for their luncheon. We did and as we looked for a table (we weren’t even sticking together as a family), NO ONE made room voluntarily. My two teens at the time ate their meal and no one at the table spoke to them. We asked to sit at another table where there were a few spaces among the adults. Even though we greeted them as if *we* were the members being hospitable to them, they actually turned their backs to us and never acknowledged us again. The people who’d invited us to stay never walked by to speak again either. You know who it was who DID show Christ’s love (and they do every time)?! Two elderly people who are mentally challenged. They kind of fade into the background, it seems, but the lessons they’ve taught me and what they could teach their fellow members, are priceless.
    While these situations have been uncomfortable to our family, it has taught us to make sure we reach out to the visitors (and sometimes we’ve had to nearly run to catch them), be careful of even our body language as we stand around after service visiting. Are we closing the circle so no one else can approach? Are we engrossed in our own conversation to the point of excluding someone who needs a kind word, a hug?
    Great post and reminder, Connie. Thanks!

  26. Connie,
    Thanks for sharing.. I want to ask is there a reason you didn’t visit the mother of the child who invited you?? I am by far a outgoing person but I think it’s just flat out RUDE when someone blows you off like they did( for the love of Pete you went to them… It not like you sat on a wall and waited) praying that I don’t do that… Or can come out of my shell… :)

  27. You know, I joined a community Bible study and went for 2 years in a row, and I faced the same cliqueness every time. They enjoyed using me for the nursery, but other than that, I felt very much the outsider. All those women didn’t even go to the same churches, and they would all congregate in little groups with each other. I did get invited to a homeschool mom’s night out, and while I was there, I heard them talking about another mom that I knew–calling her, “Oh yes, we know her, she’s the ‘weird’ one with the 3 blond children.” So, now, I guess they talk about me being the weird one with the 6 children and the daughter who left home. I’ve been taken off their email list ever since they heard my oldest daughter left home (she’s 18 and in college, living with a friend, and comes to see us about 1x a week—it’s just been that her decision was not one that we liked, but we love her dearly).

    Even the Christian librarians where my daughter worked and volunteered for the past 7 years look the other way when I walk in with my 5 younger children. It’s really sad how other Christians can behave toward us. I don’t even go to the library any more because of that. Now, the elderly library volunteers still love our family and welcomed us with huge smiles when we last came in, but the ladies that I’ve chatted and enjoyed talking with for 7 years now treat me like I have leprosy.

    My closest friends are my sweet, sickly, elderly neighbors, my long distance mom and sister, and a few long distance girl friends from college. My best friend is my husband Marc. God just wants me to lean and rely on Him for love and friendship—maybe that’s why we haven’t found a church, yet.

    Connie, KimC, Rhen, and Kimberly are my blog ladies who encourage me so much in raising our children the Christian way, fun, frugally, and with tons of love! I talk with my husband of y’alls projects, adventures, and discussions as if we all had a coffee chat once a week. Y’all are my gal pals!

  28. Heather Wawa says:

    This has happened to me many, many times. If I know that I haven’t made an effort to BE approachable or start a conversation myself, then I take partial responsibility. If I have done what you said you did – smile, make eye contact, make the first move, and get nowhere, then yes, I take it personally and it hurts. Thanks for your honesty because next time this happens to me, I can remind myself that you’ve been here, too!

    All those ladies at that church missed out on a fine time and conversation with you! Their loss!

  29. I guess I fit in the middle somewhere. I do like to be greeted when I’m new, and included. BUT, please do not do a too-long-keep-holoding-my-hand-after-you-shake-it-while-looking-deep-in-my-eyes handshake and tell me you sure hope I’ll come again next week because “God is in this place”(really? The big Cross up top threw me off, I thought this was a night club). It makes me feel like you assume I’m a Godless pagan who never set foot in a church before, rather than someone who is visiting your church because I haven’t found one that feels like “home” yet. By the way, the church where that happened did end up being “home” after all, but it took me awhile to quit avoiding the hand-holder. It is possible though, that I’m the wierdo here–I also go to Jiffy lube, because I’m not comfortable with the high level of personal service and the free newspaper at Oil Can Henry’s.

  30. I have had similar experiences with my previous “church family”
    For a long time my husband and I assumed that we were overreacting.
    Once I finally saw my children excluded we moved on.
    So sad.

    • That’s why I quit going to the community Bible study. My children were being excluded from events and games. There’s something about us being adults and being left out, but when it happens to our children—-that’s it! LOL :)

  31. Sorry to hear that! I have a similar story, and it made me purpose in my heart not to ever let that happen at our church. I am not an extrovert by nature, so I came up with a plan. I go up to the person and say, “Hi! I’m Diana! What’s your name?” They tell me, and I say, “Nice to meet you. Are you from around here?” That usually gets some kind of a conversation going, which rescues me from the awkward I’m-standing-here-and-don’t-know-what-to-say situation. (If that doesn’t work, since I’m the pianist, my cop-out is that I have to go play the piano :) )

  32. I used to be very okay with leaving the welcoming to other people. I felt very unsure of myself and thought for sure I would just come across as ignorant with nothing to say. It wasn’t until I moved away from my hometown and was the new person that I realized how important it was for me to welcome other people and to be the one to make the effort to connect. Since then God has really been working on my heart in regards to hospitality and I am so thankful! I have met many wonderful people and some dear friends along the way too. Even if it turns out a little awkward with not knowing what to say I now know that it is okay :)

  33. I have sort of the same problem but opposite. Our church is VERY cliqueish. I am not a part of any clique there. Since we have the largest family at our church, everybody knows me. Everybody wants my advice on mothering, homeschooling, large familes, etc. I am greeted by name many times on a Sunday morning.
    But I never get invited to do personal things with other ladies. Going shopping, out to dinner, Bible studies, whatever. Doesn’t happen.
    I have no close friends there, and don’t see it happening. Our church is known for its friendliness. I just wonder what those new folks see when they’ve been there a while.

    • Hi Dawn,
      Your church sounds just like the one we attended for a while. I’d love to be your friend…I’m near Syracuse, NY, but we are supposed to be relocated to the Atlanta, GA, area in the next year or so. If you are near either of those places, email me at mom7more @ yahoo. com
      I’d love to be friends with another mom of a big family :)

    • Kimberley says:

      Seems like this happens a lot. Everyone is friendly up to a point. There isn’t a relationship beyond the institutional organization. I had a friend comment that she was only ever invited to things put on by the church or outside events where you were supposed to bring a gift. And she said after being there for two years and seeing more and more things she wasn’t included in on facebook she decided to go elsewhere. She hasn’t really found much success though. And she is one of the funniest most outgoing people I have ever met.

  34. The reason we started attending our church is because it’s so friendly. My husband is so much better than I am at greeting new people. If you are new, he will probably give you a lunch invitation. He’s a blessing, for sure. Thanks for the reminder, Connie. I pray that we might all be mindful of making others feel welcome wherever we may be, especially in our churches.

  35. We just went to a new church in our new town this past Sunday. I thought it was strange that so few women talked to each other at all. I definitely didn’t feel welcomed (except by two very hospitable people I introduced myself to). But in a room of at least a few hundred … I guess I expected my friendly overtures to at least be returned, if not offered by others before I made the effort. But it seemed to be the norm, not just to leave newcomers unacknowledged, but the members as well. We’re visiting another church next weekend.

  36. When I was a little girl, we rarely went to church, and when we did, it was almost always a new one. It took me a long time to feel comfortable in a church setting as an adult because something about the environment made me feel like an outsider.

    Now that I am a preacher’s wife, I always make a point to greet the individual children and get their names and interests, as well as the adults. Even if it is a large family (like Connie’s), I think it’s worth the time and effort as you don’t know how you are shaping that child’s view of church.

    I’ve known old men in our church to offer every child they see a piece of candy from their pocket. I think this is brilliant personally. It makes the children who attend regularly feel special too.

  37. Thank you Connie for talking about this on your blog. We are a medium size family (5 kids) and a couple of our children have Disabilities. We have been in this situation many times we thought it was because we had children with disabilities and behavioural issues……but obviously its much more wide spread than that. I alway try and make people feel welcome in new situations……It worries me alot when we see it in faith based setting……to me it reflects the leadership and the “attitude” that is taught with in the setting about the heart of Jesus…..
    We currently home worship, we do not mix much with like minded christians and that is sad, but you can only so many times be rejected.
    Here is a interesting reflection, my Husband is a Teacher and we have just welcomed a transfer to a very remote location in the very far North of Queensland Australia. We have already been contacted by several members of the school & community, been sent welcoming letters and have already had people arrange to pick us up a the airport and show us around the town and to our new home…….If a small remote indigenous community in the middle of the Australia bush can organise this for a incoming community member so can any group. Its about respecting and appricating the value of the people that are taking the time to support or work within your community…….Its also about respecting the human, the spirit and the journey someone has been on or is on……Its about doing what Jesus would do………so sad that so many of your readers have been though such horrible experinces……….

  38. I am a bit on the fence about this. I want to have someone to talk to but I hate it when every single person comes up to greet me and then immediately go off to the next person to greet. It can be overwhelming to some of us to deal with a dozen or so people mobbing us in a new situation. It is also isolating to be ignored and left to ones own devices. Perhaps gatherings need to have one or two people to greet and maybe steer one or two in the direction of a new person (or ask the person about their preference). For me this was been an especially big issue with new churches. At one church people were all over us like wolves on fresh meat. At another church we were greeted and forgotten immediately (while also lost in the church). At our most recent church we have been swarmed until they decided we were not their people and half of the family is ignored and the other half is dragged into everything. I guess what I am saying is that balance needs to be found between swarming and ignoring.

  39. I lean more toward not wanting to be greeted…although a very low-key greeting and orientation can be helpful (e.g., the bathrooms are over there, come on in here, etc.)…and then I like to be left alone to get my bearings. I find it really annoying to be in a new situation and have people hovering, constantly checking in, asking me to talk a lot about myself, etc. Our church combines with another for Good Friday services, and there was way too much focus on us and our kids – I don’t know how many people practically walked us to the child care areas, and I had to keep saying that the kids were staying with us, which seemed to surprise people (but come on, it was a new church, and I wasn’t keen to throw my kids in with strangers – the boys would love it, but that’s the point, kind of. And I really wanted them to experience the service. Our daughter ended up making us look ridiculous for trying…but that’s another story). So, yes, maybe a gentle introduction, and then a discreet depature to let me be (just like when I am shopping).

  40. I lean more toward not wanting to be greeted…although a very low-key greeting and orientation can be helpful (e.g., the bathrooms are over there, come on in here, etc.)…and then I like to be left alone to get my bearings. I find it really annoying to be in a new situation and have people hovering, constantly checking in, asking me to talk a lot about myself, etc. Our church combines with another for Good Friday services, and there was way too much focus on us and our kids – I don’t know how many people practically walked us to the child care areas, and I had to keep saying that the kids were staying with us, which seemed to surprise people (but come on, it was a new church, and I wasn’t keen to throw my kids in with strangers – the boys would love it, but that’s the point, kind of. And I really wanted them to experience the service. Our daughter ended up making us look ridiculous for trying to keep her in the service…but that’s another story). So, yes, maybe a gentle introduction, and then a discreet depature to let me be (just like when I am shopping).

  41. I really appreciate your video reminder about this, Connie. I am good in a one on one situation, but at church I feel very overwhelmed often, and I am by nature shy, so approaching others is hard for me unless they are by themselves or at least not in the middle of the thoroughfare so to speak.

    I greet visitors usually the first time they are there, and know what to say, and I am not cheesy, overbearing, or hypocritical as I am really glad to see and meet them. It is more the second or third time I see them. I can’t remember their name or where they are from and feel ashamed. Then I try to come up with something to talk about, and I usually say something weird. I tend to switch the beginnings of words when I get nervous. So anyway, I know right away if we will become fast friends if I make it past the second or third greeting and they don’t grimace when they see me approaching or when they just laugh at me when I mess up my words.

  42. Wouldn’t it be fun to teach a “hospitality” class at church?! Just like we need to be taught how to cook or train a child, we need pointers on reaching out. Obviously, if we go to a function hoping our outfit is “in” and worried about who may/may not talk to us, then we won’t be in a state of mind to notice, or care about, another’s needs. Events aren’t times to catch up with dear friends. Get coffee, have dinner later, but at a function we need to be outward focused (Sunday mornings included, I think). Learn to read people. Does New Lady want a quick hello, a quiet available person near by, a big ol’ Texas welcome or a new best friend? Why is she at this event? How can you genuinely meet her needs? I can’t meet everyone’s needs, cuz I have my personality and not all types mesh. But I bet I have a friend who does better with certain types. I might point my friend toward that New Lady over there who looks like she’s the “please don’t hold my hand type.” :) It did take me a while to realize some shy people can’t fathom that I’d genuinely be excited to meet them so I try not to bombard those. I try to act cool or I sic Melissa on them cuz she’s an introvert and does well making certain shy types feel comfortable. All this to say, it’s an art we Christian women need to learn and teach each other. Thanks for bringing up this topic.

  43. Our community is reknowned for its snobbiness (I’m not exaggerating) and being raised in it has not been conducive to me becoming an overly confident person. How many times can you be treated like this and NOT have it affect you? I don’t argue that you were definitely snubbed and I know exactly how you feel. But I would reiterate that there are some people who have suffered this type of rejection so many times that we just don’t have it in us to try again. I have gone through periods where I say, “that’s it- I’m fine being a loner…not going there again”, but usually some time passes and the Lord reminds me that I’m commanded to be hospitable and I’ll timidly try again. But I am an introvert and I do not come off as bubbly or high energy so when I’m putting myself “out there” you might not realize it if you expect a greeting to look a certain way. I highly recommend the book “Introverts in the Church” by Adam McHugh to EVERYONE- introvert AND especially extroverts. It will explain much about those of us who do not “enjoy breathing air”…

  44. Great post! @Monica. The lady who first commented. Not a fun experience. I live in El Paso.hope you will love it here. Our church is friendly and has military families that we love. Hope it’s ok to post here. The name is apostolic temple on Turff rd. East side of el paso.

  45. I don’t have time to read the 54 previous comments. But I wanted to say, I think it’s great that you posted this.

    I have felt like more than a handful of times in my life. I remember once when I went to our new ward (congregation) women’s group when we moved to North Dakota.

    Right before the meeting started, this lady walked up to me, stuck out her hand and said, “Hi my name is Christine R—-, what’s your name?” And I was like, WOW! I want to have that kind of confidence going up to someone I don’t know.

    But now that my eighth child is starting to sleep through the night, I’m pretty sure half my brain is still mush. I look at people and think, Did I meet her before and not remember?? Would it be bad if I introduced myself again?? What if I met them and this makes them feel not memorable??

    However, on the reverse side, I’ve had people act like they’re meeting me again that have already met me before. And it doesn’t bother me. I just feel slightly embarrassed for them or hope that they aren’t embarrassed when the remember.

    So I guess I’ve talked myself into erring on the side of too friendly or repeat introductions. 😉

  46. Thanks for posting this. My husband and I have moved several times in the past several years and in turn, we’ve ended up going to about 6 different churches in the past 3 years. My husband is Catholic and .. lets just say I’m not religious, though I attend church with him. In none of these churches have we ever been welcomed.

    I don’t know if it’s because the churches here are so large that people just assume we “belong” of if they just don’t care. Both my husband and I are quite shy so I’ll always smile at people but I’m just not confident enough to go up to another group and start talking. As a result we don’t go nearly as often as he probably should and we don’t participate in any church activities.

  47. Kimberley says:

    Unfortunately, regardless of the denomination, it seems like there are a lot of ‘Christians’ who use church for their own social needs. And just like in high school there are some women who need someone to be excluded in order to feel included. Hurt people hurt people. We are no longer attending a traditional brick and mortar church because we felt called to use our offerings for specific missionary groups in places where they cannot work to fund themselves and to support orphans. And then we didn’t feel comfortable attending a church (where my husband was on the Elder Board and we were part of starting 8 years ago) that we did not support financially. One of the last things I attended was something like this and I just kept waiting for Jesus to show up but I’m pretty sure He never did–although it’s possible He tried but was just excluded.

  48. Count me as one of those who “doesn’t like to breathe air,” because being around people makes me feel like I’m being smothered. Maybe I’m a fish? :)

    Seriously, though, I hate it when random people come up and say hi. The only thing worse is when they make small talk. I actually do prefer to be ignored and invisible. Of course, I always joke that my real life calling is to be a hermit, because I’m very much a loner as well as an introvert. People don’t usually believe me, but I really do prefer to do most things alone, even “social” things like going out to eat, going on vacation, or going to museums.

  49. Connie, I have often been that “loser”. It does hurt. And you are right. It has happened to me on days that I have needed encouragement. I have thought these same thoughts before.. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this.

  50. I have felt this way many times. It is the one reason I try to always introduce myself to people when I know they are new. Not only that, I try to find people I think they would ‘click’ with and introduce them to those people.

    One of the first situations I immediatly thought of, where I was the visitor no one talked to, is actually an ongoing situation. When we get together with my husband’s group of old friends almost no one talks to me. We have been together for almost 10 years. You would think by now they would all get over their shyness and include me. There is one couple that I like and I feel comfortable around, but the others all seem to ignore me. I hate going to their get togethers. My husband keeps telling me that they aren’t ignoring me, but that he just isn’t good friend with most of them and so they don’t feel comfortable talking to me, that they are all introverts. I know he keeps saying that but it feels more like they all have their own ‘club’ and I can’t be part of it. I only keep going to their functions because my husband wants to go. I hate it. I always leave needing extra reassurance from him.