I was at brunch last Saturday with a new friend. An Israeli ex-patriot start-up whiz with a day job at a major global telecommunications company, we met at an event I attended a few weekends back called Start Up Weekend Mobile. We follow each other various social media outlets (like Twitter) and he knows my handle and brand is Allergic Girl and that I have food allergies. So, I wasn't that surprised when at brunch he asked me some more details about my food allergies, specifically:
"Do you have your Epi Pen?"
"Yes, two." And I indicated they were in my purse.
"Well, I know how to use them. I was a paramedic for one and half years before I went into the army. So, if you have any issues, I'm your man."
There. Instant safe friend. Gets that food allergies are serious and offers instant support, free of judgment. Done.
As I was thinking of this easy exchange, I realized that over the last six years of writing this blog, creating a brand presence and a food allergy coaching practice, safe friends have been finding me. Which is beyond wonderful. And it got me to wondering as more and more of you disclosure publicly that you have a medical need or a dietary restriction in your social media biographies on Facebook or Twitter, for example, are safe friends finding you?
Said another way, for those of you who have allergy in their social media names" or handles or write about food allergies in your bios – do you find that announcing your food allergy-ness helps you find safe friends faster?
Quick safe friends definition: non-judgmental, supportive, understanding, flexible, open, understanding about your medical needs.