Al­ler­gic reader has to skip trip

The Saline Courier - - OPINION -

“Congress shall make no law ... abridg­ing the free­dom of speech, or of the press ... . ”

— From the First Amend­ment to Con­sti­tu­tion

DEAR HARRIETTE: I suffer from al­ler­gies in a se­vere man­ner. I am al­ler­gic to ev­ery­thing from food to bugs to dust to flow­ers. The sum­mer sea­son is tough for me.

I try to down­play my al­ler­gies, but I’m not sure what to do. For the sec­ond time, my friend has in­vited me to stay at her sum­mer home in the woods in a very buggy lo­ca­tion. Last year, my fam­ily and I went. We had a great time, ex­cept that I was al­ways on Epipen alert, and I got a mil­lion mos­quito and other bug bites, and my whole body was in­flamed. I do not think it is wise for me to go back, so I de­clined the in­vi­ta­tion. Now my whole group of friends is mad at me. They are calling me a diva and all kinds of names, when ac­tu­ally I’m just try­ing to pro­tect my­self. How can I make it clear that I am happy to hang out with them, just not there? -- Al­ler­gic Friend

DEAR AL­LER­GIC FRIEND: Your health is more im­por­tant than mak­ing your friends feel good. If they don’t get that, there are two pos­si­bil­i­ties to blame: 1. You have down­played your health is­sues so much that they don’t re­al­ize it’s se­ri­ous, or 2. They are self­ish and really don’t care. Ei­ther rea­son is bad. You have to make it clear to them that you want to be there with them but you need a lo­ca­tion to sleep that is less dan­ger­ous for your over­all well-be­ing. See if any­one would share a ho­tel room with you. In this way you stay in the loop and go to what you can but sleep in rel­a­tive safety.

•••

DEAR HARRIETTE: I just learned that a close fam­ily friend’s son came out as gay. I was happy that they trusted me enough to tell me. Now I won­der what I should do with this in­for­ma­tion. I am a gay man. Ob­vi­ously, I am not in­ter­ested in this teenage boy, but I do know a lot about the scene. More, I know about deal­ing with fam­ily after they learn that you are gay. Should I of­fer to be in contact with him? If so, should I reach out to him per­son­ally, or just talk to the par­ents? How should I ul­ti­mately ad­dress any rap­port that de­vel­ops be­tween me and this young man with his par­ents, since they told me about his sit­u­a­tion in the first place? -- Gay Liv­ing

DEAR GAY LIV­ING: Tell the par­ents that you would like their blessing to de­velop a rap­port with their son. You know a lot about liv­ing as a gay man, and you would like to be there to sup­port him. Make it clear that you will not be a spy. In­stead, speak in gen­er­al­i­ties. You may tell them about the fact that you are be­com­ing friends and that you talk about his life, but you will not serve as a go-be­tween. Prom­ise to be a sound­ing board and a moral compass for this young man. Then give re­ports when needed about his gen­eral devel­op­ment. En­cour­age him to talk to his par­ents di­rectly about his choices.

•••

Harriette Cole is a lifestylis­t and founder of DREAMLEAPE­RS, an ini­tia­tive to help peo­ple access and ac­ti­vate their dreams. You can send ques­tions to askhar­ri­[email protected]­ri­et­tecole.com or c/o An­drews Mcmeel Syn­di­ca­tion, 1130 Wal­nut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

HARRIETTE COLE

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