Five Ways to Kill a Conversation About Your Type 1 Diabetes

Use these tactics at your next big family gathering.



People with Type 1 diabetes often find themselves the center of the conversation at large family gatherings. Your parents may have gotten used to the diabetes routine, but your Uncle Andy certainly hasn’t, and he’s probably armed with a newspaper clipping about the latest grapefruit diet. Add to this a niece who wants to play with your pump tubing, and you’re sure to end up being asked some awkward questions.

You can choose to answer the questions the best you can, or you could choose to divert the conversation. If you choose the latter strategy, we offer these five handy tips to derail a familiar interrogation at the dinner table:

1) Give too much detail
Go into intricate detail of your blood sugar levels over the last week. Watch their eyes glaze over as you begin to discuss your basal rate. Keep talking until there is an awkward silence.

2) Abruptly change the subject to something more annoying to discuss
We suggest politics. Just tie the price of your diabetes supplies to a political party and watch the sparks fly.


3) Gross them out
People with diabetes are more comfortable with needles and blood than the average population. Use this to your advantage. Women – bonus points if you somehow tie the discussion of your blood sugar levels with menstrual cycles. Watch the conversation die.

4) Start making up complicated medical words.
See if your inner circle can keep a straight face as you sling the nonsense.


5) Answer each question with “Whatta gonna do” and “YOLO”.
Try and affect an accent as you do so.

Sure, none of these strategies will help spread diabetes awareness, but sometimes you just have to get through a family gathering without screaming.

If you have a favorite tactic you use at family gatherings, email me at cidlebrook@epscomm.com. I’d love to hear about it.

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Craig Idlebrook is managing editor for Insulin Nation and Type 2 Nation. He's written about health policy, environmental health, community health, and maternal health for over 25 publications. You can reach him at cidlebrook@epscomm.com.