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.