AIBU to go to this party?(60 Posts)
A friend has invited me to celebrate her birthday. (Sort of friend - don't actually know her all that well but she has quite a severe disability, mental health difficulties and is young and single. Therefore she has very little social life and doesn't know many people)
Event is a specific takeaway meal and a film.
I wouldn't normally consider going because I have anorexia, social anxiety and am an extreme picky eater. I know I won't be able to eat a takeaway (particularly not the type chosen) and would just have a drink. I know how much most adults hate picky eaters so I stay away from things like this so I don't ruin them or annoy people. Probably, in real life, everybody at this party will be very polite and not say anything about my weirdness but, from reading mn, they will all be seething, judging and thinking I have ruined this woman's party.
However, I know how much it has taken for this woman to arrange something social in the first place. She had very few people to invite (so it's going to be even more obvious that I don't really take part) and I know she is frightened of feeling rejected by nobody coming.
So, I have a dilemma. Which is worse/more upsetting to the host?
a) going to the party and not eating anything
b) turning down the invitation even though I'm free
I know it really should be: c) go to the party and eat normally but I honestly can't. Just the thought of it is making me feel sick and panicky.
Firstly, well done for considering going, sounds like a huge step for you. Are you open about your food issues/ would you be comfortable explaining that you’d love to come but that you wouldn’t be eating? It sounds like she wants you there, hope you can manage to go without feeling too stressed.
If you don’t feel comfortable explaining the real reason why you’re not eating, could you think of a plausible excuse why you can’t eat that food? E.g. say that the doctor wants you to have a restricted diet as you’re trying to figure out whether you have any food intolerances so it’s easier for you to eat at home, but you didn’t want to miss out on socialising.
I don't need to be open because it's reasonably obvious from my appearance (or if it's not my size plus the fact that I don't eat around people then means people put 2 and 2 together very quickly). So, yeah, I don't think she will be surprised if I say I can come but can't eat and I am okay with saying that.
I'm just worried that people (and maybe the host but I doubt it) will be thinking that I'm awful and am spoiling the night by sitting round a table or a tv (sounds like the gathering is small enough for that) sipping on my coke while everyone else enjoys a takeaway
You should go, you sound like you want to go and it sounds like a big step for you. I don’t want that to sound patronising btw! Is there nothing on the menu you might nibble at? Even so, if not, I’m sure tj birthday girl would be happy with your company and a Diet Coke
I'm sure if you let her know she would rather have your company than not.
Would you be able to take some food from home that you've prepared yourself to eat at hers? Would that be possible?
What’s the takeaway? Maybe if you speak to them ahead of time they can arrange to do something special for you eg a tub of salad or mixed veg or whatever it is you can manage to nibble on?
No, not patronising at all, Ginger Thank you. Maybe I'll ask her for the name of the place she's ordering from and have a look but I doubt it (really awkward/embarrassing combination of fussiness and eating disorder rules out most things in a takeaway)
Rednails - yes, I could do that - but would that not look even weirder and ruder than not eating at all? A kind of sanctimonious 'oh gosh, I'd never eat such a sinful thing as a takeaway, look at me with my chicken salad' vibe? Or does eating nothing give that same impression X 10?! (I don't actually judge takeaway eating at all, I admire and am jealous of people that eat everything in moderation and have fun around food).
Just go and don't eat. I went out to dinner with my colleagues recently and didn't eat, I just had a few drinks. Everyone else ate and I didn't feel awkward and no one said anything. Just go and have a good time.
Also, and as an extremely picky eater myself, I’ve found that people in real life aren’t nearly as judgemental about this as some of the people on MN!
Be honest take your food and say I have an eating disorder id love to have takeaway but I just cant however I didnt want to miss out on all the fun. Anyone that judges you for that isnt worth knowing.
Go the party, enjoy it! It's up to you how much you eat or don't eat.
I have a friend who will not eat anything she hasn't personally prepared as she is worried about hair in it (I have no pets, I have short hair, I'd wear a hairnet if needed) but she won't eat anything at my house. So she comes, we enjoy her company, she will have some water (her cup) and will eat watermelon sometimes (which she brings). All happy I'd warn your host though, perhaps just say "I'm not always comfortable eating much infront of people, so please bear with, promise I'll enjoy myself anyway" and leave it at that. Or you could take a little food, move it round your plate and leave it. If you aren't sitting down all together no one will notice.
Could you just tell the friend that you'd love to come but you've got something right before so you'll already have eaten?
No one will judge you. Even if people didn’t guess the actaul reason, there could be plenty of other reason why you aren’t eating- allergies, already eaten etc
I think the host will just be grateful you have come and not even give what you eat/don’t eat a thought.
I don’t think you would be spoiling anything! Go and have a nice evening. Don’t eat and just enjoy time spent together.
I defo wouldn’t be thinking how you ruined the night.
It sounds like the friend in question also faces similar difficulties (I realise that this is probably not the right word) so I would imagine that her friends would be people who would be understanding of your mental health conditions and not at all judgemental. I also cannot see why anyone should have a problem with picky eaters who are happy to bypass eating without causing any issues for other members of the group or expecting special arrangements to be made.
What tootired and others said - just take your own food and say you have dietary restrictions and ‘isn’t it a pain urgh I’m so jealous of your pizza’ etc
I have a friend with anorexia. I would much rather she came and ate nothing than didn't come at all.
It's worse when she feels like she HAS to eat and then just stares at her food or pushes it around the plate. That makes everyone feel
uncomfortable because they all just want to tell her it's fine and she can leave it but also want to pretend they haven't noticed.
And I've been to plenty of occasions where food is available and people haven't eaten simply because they didn't like the menu/had already eaten/we're eating later. In real life, no-one cares.
You should go - socialising is a really brave and important thing for you to do even if you don't participate in all aspects. If you're worried about your friend's perception maybe drop her a text in advance saying you won't be eating but you're excited to spend time with her anyway. Anyone who judges you at the party itself can get lost - judging says more about them than you.
I hope you're ok and getting some help for your anorexia
I do think if you go you will be pleased that you went.
Just go and don't eat, say you had a late lunch and aren't hungry? I really don't think people will notice and/or care that you aren't eating.
Fuck what people think (picky eater here with an eating disorder)
have a drink if that's all you want, does it matter if you don't eat? nope, they invited you for your company, not to judge your food intake.
I think it's great that you're talking about it - it's a big positive step. She's only invited a small group so the fact that you are invited is a sign you are really important to her. So I would talk to her beforehand and tell her you won't be eating (maybe the official line could be that you have eaten earlier in the day). I can see that this is a combination of different worrying issues for you so take that one out of the equation and hopefully it will be easier. Good luck, and I hope you are getting lots of support for your anorexia xx
I think it's lovely that you're considering going. Please do. It will mean so much to her. I'd take something to nibble on. Nobody will mind, and it will stop you feeling awkward not eating when everyone else it.
Actually, thinking about it, could you take something to share, but not mind if nobody does?
You should go sounds like you want to and it will mean the world to the host. Take yourself something along to snack on if you feel better about that and have a drink. You'll regret not going.
Take your chicken salad (if you have cleared it with her) and enjoy the eve. People have all sorts of reasons for having special diets. (Take-aways are a minefield for those with nut allergies for example.) Why should anyone care that you have something different?
Or - take a chicken salad to share? Not everyone prefers a take-away. Your salad might be very popular.
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