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Discussion Boards > Teens and Food Allergies

When do you bring up food allergies?

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SkyScorcher:
Subject says it all.  When and how?  Especially for very high sensitivities-- aerosol reactions. 

maeve:
I'm interested in seeing responses because my DD (drwhogirl) struggles with people disclosing it for her when she doesn't want a wider audience to know. Her close friends know but she doesn't necessarily want every student in her classes to know this information.

CMdeux:
I think Sky is asking in particular about dating relationships-- that is, where there is pretty high risk if you DON'T disclose, but if you do it too soon (or too aggressively?) then there is risk of seeming "high maintenance" at the early stages of a relationship...


in related news, something that she and I have discussed is that sixth sense that you get about people--

you know, you just KNOW whether or not someone is actually capable of being that careful.  Some people want to, but aren't that capable.  Some people are capable, but just don't care enough about you (or believe you) to bother.

It has to be both.

So how do you handle a beau that has good intentions, but whom your gut is telling you is NEVER really going to stop posing a risk to you?  Obviously, with high sensitivity, this is NOT someone that you're going to swap spit (or anything else) with.  But if you want to keep the person as a "friend" how do you go about letting them down without overtly telling them that they just don't get it, and never will?



rebekahc:
It was late last night when I saw this.  I had intended to come back to it sooner... sorry.

To answer Sky's original question as to when and how - I've never brought it up out of context so to speak.  That is, as food naturally comes up in conversation, plans, etc. I'll mention "Oh, I can't go there due to my PA, could we go to XYZ instead?"  I've found that as a relationship progresses, the ongoing contextual allergy dialogue leads to questions and more in-depth discussion as needed.  I never been treated as if my allergies make me high maintenance.  I think partly that's due to only bringing it up "in context" and allowing the other party to direct any deeper discussions.  The ones who never asked deeper stuff obviously never made it to a point in the relationship where that deeper stuff would be relevant (kissing, etc.).  They were the ones that CM brings up - those who will never adequately get it.  However, I've found that with those guys allergies really aren't the only reason the relationship couldn't/wouldn't progress.  Regardless of whether the relationship won't work due to allergy ignorance or more typical reasons, has anyone ever really come up with a good solution to letting someone down easy and maintaining the friendship?

becca:
Well, I am not a teen, but I would approach any new friendship as any friendship.  How do you inform any friend, and when, if you will begin doing activities together?  I would take that approach.  Then, when it seems that a different level of intimacy is approaching, it would be duscussed further.  It sucks wrt to spontaneity, but has to be done.  I do not think there is any easy way around letting a romantic partner know that they cannot eat your allergens, or fondle your allergens if they hope to fondle you.  But, you need not lead with that for a first encounter. 

My advice to my dd would be if you are intimate enough to kiss and touch, you are intimate enough to discuss the allergies.  This even applies to platonic friendships.  People do hug and touch one another outside of romantic situations.

So, my advice would be to approach it as you would with any blossoming friendship as you get to know one another and spend time together. 

Again, this is advice given by a grown up who has not dated for about 20 years, and not as a teen for ummm, 31 years.  But I was always a rather direct person.  I openly discussed other safety issues when dating, without going further than what we may want to address here.  How someone responds to frank discussion of health and safety of someone they should care for, can be quite informative.  Possibly painful, but it weeds out people not worthy pretty effectively. 

ETA, as Rebekah points out, the frank discussions I had would flow from related conviersation or in context.  I would not simply bring it up out of the blue. 

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