DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a friend who has a huge list of food allergies. She doesn't complain about it, but I know because I have gone to lunch with her and listened to her ask a gazillion questions before she orders. I have even seen her bring her lunch into a restaurant and explain to them that she has to eat what she brought because she can't eat from their menu. It has gotten really intense at times. Anyhow, I am hosting a dinner party at my new apartment for a few friends, and I want to invite her, but I don't begin to know what to prepare for her to eat. I also don't want to have to tailor the meal to her specifications. I know that probably sounds bad, but I'm being honest. Would it be rude either to not invite her or to invite her to come later for drinks? I'm not sure how to handle this. -- Afraid of Allergies, Denver
DEAR AFRAID OF ALLERGIES: You have a few options. You can call your friend and tell her your predicament. You can even ask her if she would like to bring something that she can eat, as she has done previously in restaurants, to ensure that she is safe. You can also suggest that if she would feel more comfortable, she can come after the formal meal for drinks. The point is that you may want to include her in the conversation so that she knows you are thinking of her and wanting to include her. It is likely that this will not be the first time she has been in this situation.
You do have another option. Unless she would be the only friend in your friend group to be eliminated, you can choose not to invite this friend for this particular occasion. Not every friend has to come to every event.