How To Navigate Friendships while Having Allergies
When I was six years old, my life changed forever. I received confirmation that I had a tree nut allergy. Since then, navigating life has been more difficult for me than for the average person. I had to abstain from school treats as a kid, and I still have to avoid many common restaurants and foods. However, one of the biggest challenges for me up until quite recently was having caring and accommodating friends who understand what food allergies are and what to do to help.
If you don’t have accommodating and understanding friends, that may simply be because they don’t understand what food allergies are or how they work. For instance, if you just tell someone that you “have a food allergy,” they probably won’t fully understand what that really means unless they have a food allergy themselves. Explaining what allergies are to others will really increase your chance of people understanding what food allergies are and how to accommodate you. Good friends, once they understand, will always help you with anything. And yes, sometimes friends forget that you have an allergy, so it’s best to just be patient with them. Sometimes one of my friends will pull out a bag of mixed nuts in front of me, and all it takes for them to stop eating it is a look or reminder from either me or another of my friends. Your friends may also forget what you’re allergic to, which is also okay. As long as your friends are making an effort regarding your allergies, they are trying to help and that’s positive no matter what!
In my personal experience, having helpful friends means so much. Even the little things, such as letting me get my ice cream first because the employees need to get a clean tub, or simply not eating nuts around me, mean a lot. I can’t begin to thank my friends for being so amazing and caring about my allergies.
Friendships can be difficult. Allergies can be difficult. But if you have the right group of friends, they can make neither of those things difficult.