You Are Not Alone
ARFID tends to make us feel isolated. We don’t want to share our experiences out of fear of being criticized, bullied or made fun of. Even those who mean well can make us feel interrogated. So we retreat into ourselves imagining we must be the only ones like this.
But you’re not!
There are tens of thousands of amazing, wonderful people just like you suffering from ARFID. Thanks to the internet and some brave, lovely people, we have support groups making it possible to connect with other ARFIDers.
The social aspect of ARFID can be the most difficult.
For many ARFID teens and adults the goal “socially” is to comfortably attend social events that feature food. This can mean anything from learning to actually enjoy something served to tolerating some new items to mastering the art of politely declining a dish.
Social Eating Events
First understand, most people at social gatherings don’t really care about us and our ARFID. Seriously. Most people are too worried about themselves or the people two tables down or their boss who wants to fire them. That being said, people who are bored, nervous or looking to deflect attention from themselves might start asking questions that make you uncomfortable. BTW, never be one of those people.
Those of us who have dealt with this have tried many techniques to just get through the event.
From moving your food around the plate to letting them know you’ve already eaten to getting up and walking from table to table, this is ARFID hell. But the right attitude and confidence in yourself can go a long way. You can get through it and by the time the meal is finished you might even be able to enjoy yourself.
This can be another very difficult issue. One thing I promise is that many ARFID men and women have met fantastic, understanding, patient partners. Some have not. This is probably the same rate of success for everyone who has ever dated, ARFID or not. Please understand that. Most intelligent people would agree that when it comes to ‘finding someone’, a great person with ARFID beats an A-hole without ARFID every time.
A problem can be the lack of confidence and embarrassment over the condition. That certainly was my case. This may be where the support of family, friends and those you trust can be helpful.
I started dating later than my peers because of ARFID and other insecurities. But I was surprised to find how many people were sympathetic to my issue. Not every one, but more than I ever expected. I married an amazing woman who caught me just as I was starting to make significant progress. We bonded over salt bagels.
One of the best things to happen to ARFID sufferers is the acronym ARFID. My two cents, but it may be helpful to use in one on one social situations. Upon hearing about your ARFID, it’s my suspicion that the great ones will look you in the eye and say “OK. Lets go get some fries”.