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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I have multiple chronic health conditions. Because my symptoms are worsened by a lot of foods, I'm on a highly restricted diet. If I stay on it, I feel as well as possible. (I never feel entirely well.)

When I go to friends' homes for dinner or parties, would it be rude for me to bring along something for myself that I can eat that won't make me sick? I can have no grains, no dairy, no eggs, no sugar, the list goes on and on, but I could always bring extra food to share if you think that would be appropriate.

I have been eating before I go and then claiming not to be hungry, but I feel it would be rude to do this at dinner parties. What do you suggest I do? I prefer that my health not be a topic of conversation. -- CAN'T EAT JACK

DEAR CAN'T: Your health won't be a topic of conversation at these gatherings if you discuss this with your host(s) at the time you are invited to the party. Explain that you are on a severely restricted diet, picking at their food might be interpreted as rude and you don't wish to come across that way. Ask if you can bring your own food with you. I'm sure your hosts will understand and tell you to enjoy their hospitality (if not their food) because they welcome your company.

Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics

DEAR ABBY: My biological mother gave me up at birth. Her reason for doing it changes every time I ask. I joined the Navy right out of high school and left the service at 25. Less than a month later, she contacted me. It turns out that I have three half-siblings, but I have no desire to connect with them.

She waited 25 years to contact me, and I was the only one of my siblings she gave up. Does it make me a bad person that I have no emotional connection to my biological family? -- NO FEELINGS IN THE EAST

DEAR NO FEELINGS: No, it does not. Whatever her reason for surrendering you, you have built a good life. Please stop feeling guilty for moving forward and living it. Doing so does not make you a bad person, only a healthy one.

Read more in: Family & Parenting

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)