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IBS Makes it Hard to Meet New People

Last updated: March 2022

Although I cannot fully understand why there are people who think I am a bit of a snob. Perhaps part of it is because I am shy and do not speak much in public. I think most of it is likely because I must decline so many invitations. IBS is causing issues with my social life.

I do not want to explain my medical history to every person I meet. However, I feel like some of the ensuing misunderstandings cause hurt feelings and misconceptions about me as a person. How can I avoid hurt feelings without dishing out details on my medical issues?

Meeting people is awkward

I have several people I have spoken to online that I would like to meet in person. Unfortunately, IBS makes it very difficult to meet new friends. I am a socially awkward person and meeting up without something to do other than talk leads to a lot of awkward silence. It is much harder, and I struggle with it.

A normal social meeting involves dining or coffee, and that helps make meeting new people more comfortable. There is something to do. Lulls in conversation can be filled by eating. Aside from this being more normal, where would people meet to do nothing other than converse? I would not have a clue.

Being hungry makes me grumpy

In order to actually meet someone, I have to starve before leaving home. That means I am already a bit grumpy. Being hungry keeps a person from being the best person they can be. It leaves me feeling physically and mentally uncomfortable.

Starving can also lead to hurt feelings. I understand others have to eat. My husband is a diabetic and cannot skip meals. While I understand and do not expect him to starve, I also feel a bit angry whenever I must leave home and have to watch him eat. My grumpiness and hunger can cause me to be snippy. It happens a lot.

Declining dinner invitations

Social media and the internet make it easier to get somewhat acquainted with new people, but eventually, you are expected to meet in person. This is a problem for me because of IBS. It is always suggested that we go out to dinner or for coffee. I cannot do either, so what should I do?

Should I explain this to someone I do not know well? I feel talking about IBS is TMI for people I am just getting to know. I am still uncomfortable talking about the details of this disorder. Unfortunately, failing to explain why I cannot go out to dinner causes problems.

How do you explain declined invitations due to IBS?

I have told many that I have IBS in the hopes that they do understand, but it seems a lot of people do not know what it means to have IBS. I am sometimes bombarded with suggestions on how to handle symptoms or told that there are bathrooms at the restaurant. The advice I have received is both unhelpful and annoying.

I am certain I am not the only person with IBS who has had to deal with this issue. How do you handle meeting new people? Do you explain the details or give a vague explanation and hope they understand? I would love to hear about your experience.

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