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Carolyn Hax: Friendship has been threatened by gluten

Published June 10, 2014 3:45 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Dear Carolyn • My husband and I are good friends with a couple whose dietary needs have slowly changed over the eight years we've known them. When we first met, we would often hang out and have some beer or wine and food, which often included a shared love of bread, cheese, meats, ice cream, etc. After a couple of years of knowing them, the wife began to struggle with intestinal issues, and finally after a year or so of discomfort, decided to go gluten-free. Now they have started the Paleo diet. I can tell she is feeling better physically, and I am truly happy for her. However, we don't hang out with them as a couple anymore. It seems as if the husbands can get together to grab a beer, or she and I may get together at a coffee shop where she can have tea. I also can't seem to get together with her without the discussion turning to how awesome this diet is or how dangerous gluten is, with the distinct implication that my husband and I should start following it as well. I find myself avoiding her, and also just wanting to shake her and say, "WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!! And I want to die with a piece of baguette slathered in triple-creme brie in my hand!!" This does not seem like a sound approach. Suggestions for a better one?

I Want My Cake and My Friendship

Dear Friendship • I think that's the perfect approach. Seriously. You are friends! And you see how much better she feels on her new diet! And you are happy for her! You simply don't want to make the same lifestyle change she did! So why not just say that, in the you-know-I-love-you way that only true friends can pull off? Maybe your friendship has never had that tone, fair enough. But even then, as I sift through questions submitted to this column, I spend a shocking (to me) amount of time reading different versions of virtually the same story: of people who are so dismayed by changes in a friendship that they're avoiding the friend. So for you and all of you, I advise this: Since you're already ending the friendship, passively or otherwise, what do you have to lose by stating how you feel, what you loved, why you've drifted?

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