Granting "Refrigerator Rights" and So Much More

What I learned at my Memorial Day barbecue

While several of our articles at explain that a measure of true friendship is granting "refrigerator rights," this has been a hard lesson for me to learn. It's not that I don't understand—it makes sense that a good measure of comfort is the ability to open up someone else's refrigerator looking for a drink—it's just that it feels really strange. I have refrigerator rights at several of my friends' homes. But when people are in my home, I worry that granting refrigerator rights only means I'm a lazy host—after all, why else would I make my friends get their own drinks?

I've wrestled with this idea for a while. When do I grant this right to my friends? How do I know they won't be offended? And when is the right time to accept refrigerator rights from my friends?

This past weekend, though, I had a breakthrough. We hosted a barbecue with some of our closest friends. We were having a great time sitting outside, chatting about life, and laughing at ourselves. Then one of the women hopped up and asked if she could get some water. I startled myself with my response: "Of course! Glasses are above the dishwasher. There's cold water in the fridge." She ran inside and I sat, wondering how my response had come out so naturally. But I realized I was surrounded by close friends, people I share life with. So why shouldn't that be my response?

After that interaction everyone felt comfortable getting their own drinks. And pretty soon people were helping me get out the sides and carrying the burgers to the table. The mood of the gathering relaxed, and we started sharing more deeply. Everyone felt more comfortable—not just because they had refrigerator rights, but because those rights signified that they had rights to our lives.

And while it may not seem super spiritual to allow others to open our refrigerators, it does signify something about our relationships. And I've decided to grant refrigerator rights to more of my friends. I'm excited to see what God does through this simple act of hospitality.

Who has refrigerator rights in your home? Do your group members make the list? Share with us below.

Free Newsletter

Sign up for our Weekly newsletter: Regular access to innovative training resources, Bible-based curriculum, and practical articles.


Hosts or Leaders: What Should We Call Our Volunteers?

Hosts or Leaders: What Should We Call Our Volunteers?

Take a look at what a simple word can communicate.
Leadership Keys along the Way

Leadership Keys along the Way

Five insights from an experienced leader who learned the hard way

Fruit Dip

A fun snack when you want both health and flavor

The Most Evil Event

A truly sinister question for your group to discuss

Turn Your Small-Group Hosts into Leaders

Here is a step-by-step approach that has been proven to work.