So sorry to read you're struggling. Yes it is hard to manage IBS while socializing with friends. And most social events revolve around food. When you're single, even more so. No one wants to eat alone at home so you make plans to eat together. And it's usually bar food, which is fried and greasy, correct?
There are some things you could right now though.
1. Start a food diary. Record every thing you eat, drink, any meds you take, etc. After a while you'll see a pattern begin to form. Record if you had a lot of trouble too (diarrhea, messy bm's, etc.) each day as well.
2. Eat smaller meals, not 3 large meals. Do not overwhelm your GI tract/system with large amounts of food. But rather light meals, half sandwich and a cup of soup for one example. A side salad instead of a dinner sized salad for another. Order lunch portions at dinner (waitresses might balk at this but I do it). Or when your entree arrives at the table, cut it in half before you begin to eat. That way you are still consuming a small amount of food and the untouched portion can be taken home for lunch the next day. Order simple items of menu's such as the salad and soup I mentioned above, but also baked potatoes are good, or order from the "sides" section, cottage cheese, mashed potatoes, etc. Skip the fries, cheese sticks, etc. They'll likely just give you trouble.
3. You might find that eating plain foods ease your GI tract as well (you probably do not need to be on a low residue diet as I am, this is basically the BRAT diet but a few foods from this list might be beneficial to you).
4. Another tactic you could try is to eat hours before going out with friends, a yogurt is great for this trick because it coats the colon. Then as your friends order food with drinks, explain you've eaten already. A white lie but why risk eating if you know it's going to send you into the bathroom? I'd just rather not eat and eat when I got home or wait until morning. Of course you couldn't do this each evening. But if you socialize with friends on Friday and Saturday nights, for examples, don't eat with them (if you're in a casual place such as a bar). If it's a sit down restaurant, this is trickier, this is when I'd order very small amounts of food just so you are eating with them but only nibbling at the food. Even if you all divide the bill 4 or 5 ways and you only had soup or salad (thinking now of that Friends' episode where 3 ate large meals and 3 didn't so they could only pay for their small meals, lol), just pay your portion. It's easier than trying to explain why are you are eating so lightly.
Finally, the old saying we are what we eat? Well I learned the hard way it's so true. I've had to not eat or eat very lightly in social settings. Been doing it for 11 years now! It can be done. You can retrain your gut to skip meals or stagger the eating times/schedule so you won't find yourself having D at a TGIF restaurant, ever again!
I wish you well with all of this.....it's certainly not easy to figure out but you can do this!
- Rectal CA 4/29/99, Stage I, 90% sigmoid/15" of colon/GB removed, temporary colostomy, reversed 6-26-99
- Chronic IBS/D symptoms, multiple bm's, on low residue diet
- Colace 50 mg + Ultimate Flora Critical Care 50 Billion daily