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Telling Friends You Have Diabetes – How to Start the Conversation

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It’s not always easy having “the diabetes talk.” Ease into the conversation with these tips.


When meeting new friends, you may wonder when the right time is to tell them about your diabetes or if you even have to.

Whom you tell, and when, is up to you. You may worry that people will start treating you differently, not understand what it means or that there’s no need for them to know. You may also not feel comfortable having new people in your life see you test your blood glucose or take insulin. If you need time to feel more comfortable around a person, take it. As you get to know someone better, think again about the pros and cons of sharing your condition. If it feels like there’d be more pros, it may be the right time to tell them.

When you’re ready to share, here are a few tips to start the conversation:

  • Pick a familiar place. Maybe it’s your place, or your favourite café. Talking about something personal can feel easier in an environment that feels comfortable and familiar.
  • Help them understand. Explain what diabetes is and what it means for you. Answer any questions they may have. If they need time to take it in, tell them more the next few times you get together.
  • Keep it simple. Use simple terms and try not to focus on the potential complications of diabetes, as this can be scary to someone who’s unfamiliar with it.
  • Tell them how they can support you. Having a strong support network is one of the best things you can do to manage your diabetes. If your friends, including the new ones, know when you may need help with your diabetes (e.g., when you experience low blood glucose) and what to do, they can help you if they’re around when it happens. They can also help you deal with the everyday challenges you may face.

When your friends know that you have diabetes, they can better understand the decisions you sometimes have to make (like what to eat) and if you’re not feeling up to doing something one night (like if you’re feeling tired). If you decide to share, you may find that it makes your friendship even stronger.