When, Who & How Do You Tell Other People?


I’m still in the awful realm of the dating world. This past weekend, on a first date, I had that internal moment of “do I tell him I’m diabetic” as the food came to the table. Instead I excused myself, went to the rest room, tested & took my insulin. Of course the waiter asked if anything was wrong, as I promptly got up as he arrived and awkwardness overcame me.

For awhile I thought that the diagnosis was a mistake, and now I have come to grips. For this reason, I haven’t really told anyone about the diabetes, and I just wanted to see how (or even if) you handled telling other people you are a person with diabetes.


On a first meeting with someone (whether or not it’s a date), I’ll do my thing in the bathroon. It’s not because I’m ashamed, but I respect the fact that some people are terrified of needles or blood. I have some odd phobias myself. Usually, the diabetes topic comes up on its own. I decline dessert or someone asks me what my necklace says or something else. That way it’s natural and not a big announcement. Because it is just a part of my life. And when diabetes comes up, so does any needle phobia.


Anyone who would respond to the discovery that you have blood sugar abnormalities by deciding not to get to know you any better is someone you really want to get rid of IMMEDIATELY!

I don’t use insulin in the bathroom or even test there as most public bathrooms are full of germs and I don’t see why I should expose myself to them by making holes in myself there!

Beyond that, I’ve found very few people have any interest in my health at all. If you don’t make a big deal about it, others won’t either. They’ll take their cue from you as to how serious it might be.


Well… I haven’t been in the dating world for quite a while, but I can tell you how I handle things with co-workers, friends and bosses.

Typically, I don’t tell anyone anything until it comes up naturally… at a business dinner when I’m taking my bolus, usually. I’ve always felt that diabetes is such a small part of my life that if I give it more emphasis in a conversation than I give it in my mind, it doesn’t send a true signal of who I am or how I behave. And I’ve NEVER told a potential boss about it in an interview – I wouldn’t want them to wonder if it would affect me on the job. Keep in mind, diabetes NEVER has, but I don’t know if my potential bosses are smart enough to know that.

That said, I don’t avoid the conversation, either. I think the best comparison I can give is if you wear contact lenses… Most people don’t avoid talking about their contacts, but if something comes up (contact slips out, gets a fuzzy caught under it), they don’t avoid talking about it, either. They deal with it and move on. That’s what I do.


Well, for me I tell everyone when I feel comfortable around them. I act like it’s not that big of a deal and usually just slip it into the conversation at some point. I’ve only gotten one negative reaction as far as dating goes and I’ve dated quite a bit. But I will say dating is awkward enough without throwing diabetes in it to make you feel more awkward. I say tell them when YOU feel comfortable and trust them enough. But just remember if you want to continue to date the person you are going to eventually have to tell them and if you wait a long time they may feel a little hurt.

As a side note, I HATE it when other people tell people I have diabetes. I think it is my place to decide if I want people to know. And I HATE it when people introduce me as “This is Sharon…she’s diabetic”. I have actually yelled at people for that before.


As for me I tell everybody I come in contact with. I want them to know incase something goes wrong. No I haven’t dated in almost 3 decades so I might not be very good at this guessing game, but even when I was dating I wanted my date to know so if I had to get medical attetion he would be able to tell them not to give me this med b/c it may hurt my diabetes.


most, if not all of the people i hang out with regularly know that i am diabetic. that’s partly because they knew why i had been hospitalized, and partly because i’m overall okay with letting them know. that’s partly for my own safety, as most of my friends know what to do when i’m low, or know when to let me know that they think i’m low. it’s worked so far. but like sharon, only people i am reasonably comfortable with need to know i’m diabetic.

usually diabetes slips itself into a conversation, like my friends asking why i’m poking my finger, or why i’m jabbing my tummy 30 minutes before food. no big deal, i just smile and explain because as far as i’m concerned, if they’re my friends they better understand what i am doing! they’ve been great so far. just the other day my friend used her shopping bags to shield my side profile from public view while i was shooting up at a cafe :slight_smile:

i’ve been diagnosed too short a time to experiment with dating, but when i get there, we’ll see.


Thanks for all your great advice. I think maybe I was making it a larger issue, than it should be. It’s funny how when I feel self-conscious about something, I amplify it in my own mind. Rationally, I know other people probably won’t notice or even care. I just hate feeling “exposed” or vulnerable in some way. Clearly that is my issue, not everyone elses.


I love the contact lense analogy.


I tell people the right off the bat that I’m a diabetic… because if anything happens like going low they can call 911 for help… or look in my purse for glucose tabs to give to me so my blood sugars will go up… I do my testing in front of people and I used to take shots in front of people… I didn’t care what people think…it was me and if they can’t handle it… they can look the other way… Now since I’m on the insulin pump people will come up to me and ask questions about it the insulin pump… but sometimes people will think the pump is a cell phone at first… Diabetes is part of you now… So don’t be a fraid to tell people… Have WONDERFUL Day! Don’t forget to SMILE!!! Huggs


While I frequently talk about my diabetes, I do not care to be watched while testing, etc. If going out to eat, I test in the car or at home. When we have company for dinner, I normally test in my bedroom. My diabetes is my business. I think it is fine if you want to test in a more private setting, or in a public setting. It is your choice, and it should be respected.


My mother has always introduced me as “her diabetic daughter”. In fact, several years ago we had a couple sessions of family therapy about it, and she promised to remember, but never did. Why not just fire up the branding iron and put a big “D” on my forehead? But then , maybe I’m too sensitive about it.


Great comments here. Do I tell people that I have hypothyroidism? Probably not, unless it came up in conversation in a different context.
But, since socializing frequently involves eating together, the situation naturally presents itself. I probably wouldn’t inject in front of a new friend, but would say “oh I’ve gotta step down the hall ad take some insulin before we eat - I have diabetes”. If it’s not a big secret then it wont be a big deal. ANd please don’t wait and then do the “I have something to tell you” drama - it just doesnt sell.


I don’t think that’s too sensitive at all. Introducing you that way makes it seem like that’s the most important aspect of who you are. I think we are all more than a disease…we are people first. I’m sure it’s probably just a habit and not meant in any negative way. That’s what I keep telling myself when my mom points it out (and she does!). Mostly around family, and I find it interesting that all her friends know when most of mine don’t.


Yep, I think it’s a generational thing. As people get older they discuss health topics, etc. I try very hard not to define myself by the db, because there are so many other things that describe me, But, hit me on a bad day and it can really be a downer.


I was having a conversation about this very topic yesterday with a friend at work yesterday. He is dating someone with diabetes and felt a little nervous about the whole thing, because he knew she was diabetic (he had worked with me and had seen the whole glucose meter, insulin, etc. deal) but SHE hadn’t told him. So he was wondering whether she’d feel OK if he brought it up and told her he was cool about it or whether it’d be best to just let it “sit” there and let her open up about it when/if she wanted to.

It sounds to me that it is something that each person needs to decide on, but my personal decision has always been: when I am going to be spending any significant amount of time with a person I am open about it, among other things, out of caution (in case I need help).

For instance, say I am at an event (a conference or an open house, which we have every month at the college where I work) and I am going to be working with some folks I haven’t met before. Since there’s always the possibility that I may experience a low, I let them know that I am diabetic -without making a big deal out of it-, that if they see me acting “strange”, not making sense, etc. to ask me whether I am feeling OK because it could be a sign of a low and I tell them what to do (get me my glucose tablets or a cup of OJ) if I ask for their help while I am low. So, you can imagine pretty much everyone at work knows I have diabetes. :smiley:


I’m as open as I can be and right up front too. It certainly isn’t anything to be ashamed of and the more people I can give some diabetes awareness to the better!

I also jab/test wherever I am. Yes, some people are squeamish but if we lived out lives always thinking of the squeamish, etc then we wouldn’t do anything. For some people, a lady in trousers is a no-no but they have to live with it.

Also, why should your life be affected any more than it has to be by diabetes? It is worth noting that the number of diabetics out there is enormous. If you are in a restaurant I can almost guarantee that there will be other diabetics eating there with you.

As for your date… if he can’t handle the fact that you have diabetes then he ain’t much of a guy! If he can’t handle it, move on to the next one. And diabetes gives you something you can talk about. An easy filler for awkward pauses.



Really good advice Simon and great facts that a lot of us don’t even think about out there in the real world!


Honestly I used to be shy about my diabetes, then I realized people actually WANT to be educated on the subject SURPRISE SURPRISE!!! Everyone I meet eventually learns that I am a diabetic. I guess what changed in me was when I was a counselor at a diabetes camp and saw how open this kids were about the disease (maybe it was b/c they were at camp maybe not…) I realized diabetes is a HUGE part of who I am and either you like it or you don’t…so there ya go.



Your comment just made my day!