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Dining In Or Eating Out

Dear Sugar
I have a problem eating out with friends and family and it is progressively getting worse. Eating at friends houses or in a restaurant makes me extremely uncomfortable when I can't see how the food is being prepared. It seems like nothing ever tastes right when I eat out.

I love having dinner parties at my house and socializing, but my friends are getting fed up with my homebody ways. I feel like I am constantly disappointing my friends when I decline their meal invitations and it's like no one understands what the big deal is. Is what I am experiencing normal? Food Creased Katlin

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Dear Food Creased Katlin
What is it about dining out that makes you feel so uncomfortable? Are you concerned with the cleanliness of the kitchen or how the food is stored? Are you on a strict diet? All cooks use different ingredients which makes them unique. Are you concerned with fattening ingredients that someone might be adding to your meal?

It sounds as though you are suffering from a variation of a food phobia. Symptoms can create dread when being confronted with eating out. Can you remember any food related incident from your past that could be triggering this behavior? Does anyone in your family suffer from the same fear?

If you feel this way of life is pushing people away, I think it is best to nip this in the bud before you let it get the best of you. If you want to live a "normal" life, you will be faced with dining out for special occasions, holiday events, and business meetings for many days to come. I suggest seeking out a therapist or a counselor to help you overcome this fear so you don't have to worry anymore.

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