DON’T offer unsolicited advice about my eating or other aspects of diabetes: You may mean well, but giving advice about someone’s personal habits, especially when not requested, is not very nice. Besides, many of the popularly held beliefs about diabetes (You should just stop eating sugar) are out of date or just plain wrong.
DO realize and appreciate that diabetes is hard work: Diabetes management is a full time job that I didn’t apply for, didn’t want, and can’t quit.
DON’T tell me horror stories about your grandmother or other people with diabetes you have heard about: These stories are not reassuring.
DO offer to join me in making healthy lifestyle choices: Not being alone is one of the most helpful things for me.
DON’T look horrified when I check my blood sugars or give myself an injection: It’s not a lot of fun for me either. Checking sugars and taking medications are things I have to do to be healthy. If I have to hide while doing so, it makes it much harder for me.
DO ask how you might be helpful: If you want to be supportive there may be lots of little things I would probably appreciate your help with. However, what I really need may be very different from what you think I need, so please ask first.
DON’T offer thoughtless reassurances. When you first learn about my diabetes you may want to reassure me by saying things like “Hey, it could be worse; you could have cancer!” this won’t make me feel better. And the implicit message seems to be that diabetes is no big deal. However, diabetes (like cancer) IS a big deal.
DO be supportive of my efforts for self-care: Help me set up an environment for success. Please honor my decision to decline a food choice, even when you really want me to try it. You are most helpful when not being a source of unnecessary temptation.
DON’T!!! Peek at or comment on my blood sugars without asking me first: These numbers are private unless I choose to share them. It’s normal to have numbers that are sometimes too low or high. Your unsolicited comments about them can add to the frustration, disappointment, and anger I already feel.
DO offer your love and encouragement: As I work hard to manage my diabetes, sometimes just knowing you care can be very helpful and motivating.