Life Advice



Ask Amy: Allergies bring on rash of restrictions

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Sick and Tired: It is hard to imagine a person with an undefined autoimmune disorder gathering with others for dinner parties during a pandemic, but, in the absence of that concern, you need only know this: You are responsible for your health and well-being. Don’t leave something so important to someone else.

Your question is full of anticipation and speculation regarding how others will (or might) respond to your self-advocacy. Don’t concentrate so much on how others might pressure you, and keep your focus on your own health.

The answer is that you must bring your own food to gatherings involving food, because you can only safely eat something that you have prepared. Communicate with the host beforehand: “I am on an extremely restricted medical diet because of my allergies, so I need to bring my own food. Will that bother you? I really don’t want to impose or make a big deal about it, but until I get my diagnosis sorted out, it is vital that I only eat food I’ve prepared myself.”

If you feel pressured, respond, “Sorry, no. I know this is a bummer and I appreciate your efforts, but I have to be very strict about this.”

If your friends and family don’t or won’t adjust to your needs, then yes, you will have to avoid situations where you can’t safely resist this pressure.

Dear Amy: “Conflicted” wrote to you, describing herself as an adopted woman who is hesitant to share news of her birth family connection with her sister.


You are right. Birth family relationships affect everyone in the family.

Both of our children are adopted, fully open with three of their four birth families. Knowing their individual birth families has been a tremendous benefit to both children.

At first, it was scary, but today each birth family seems like another in-law relationship. Everyone loves a common child, so we have come to love one another.

More love is never a bad thing.


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