Sometimes, when a friend invites you to dinner, you just want to say yes, without going into a long explanation of all the gluten-y things you can't eat. You want to go back to that innocent, carefree, ignorant time when you had no idea you had to be careful about what you put in your mouth. When your biggest concern was whether to bring a bottle of red or white wine to the front door.
When I get into this frame of mind, I play offense instead of defense. I say, "Yes, I'd love to. Can I bring a salad?" That way I know I have something I can eat, and anything else my friend serves that is gluten free is gluten-free gravy.
I have a go-to salad for these occasions. It's a combination of all my favorite things, it's easy to throw together, and it gets rave reviews everywhere I take it, even from the gluten eaters.