Diabetes will invariably have some effect on the relationships you have. In some cases the effects may be trivial but for some diabetes can be a lurking source of friction.

How we deal with the pressures of diabetes can make a real difference to the relationships we have with others, be they friends, family, work colleagues or one off acquaintances. One key which can sometimes help is to tell people about your diabetes

We take a look at how different relationships can be effected.

Diabetes diagnosis

Being diagnosed with diabetes can be a traumatic moment and coming to terms with it can be a long process. Even years after being diagnosed you may find yourself asking “why did this happen to me?”.

Accepting your diagnosis is no easy task but it can be of benefit, directly or otherwise, for your interpersonal relationships.

Daily routines

Having a daily routine is something of a cornerstone of good diabetes management but inevitably there will be times when the best routine for your diabetes will conflict with the situation you may find yourself in.

If you’re planning to visit a restaurant, for example, it may be important to you to know at what time you’ll be getting there.

It can help to explain to people you are with what things you need to take into account to manage your diabetes and why.

Even someone close to you may need a reminder or clarification at times.

It’s good to be mindful too of whether you may be making too much an issue of your diabetes.

Food choices

Diabetes can make food choices something of a prickly issue at times. It could be a family get together, a work lunch, visiting a restaurant or even a simple trip to the supermarket. Different people are affected in different ways.

Some diabetics expect people to pay attention and consider their diabetes whereas others will do anything to avoid having the d-word brought up whilst eating.

Don’t let yourself fall into the trap of expecting others to read your mind. If people are making you feel uncomfortable then by all means let them know but bear in mind that they are unlikely to be aware of your own inner thoughts.


Stress is regularly cited as a growing issue in the 21st century and diabetes on top of everyday stress doesn’t help matters. Much stress comes from trying to meet overwhelming expectations. It can be difficult to control your emotions when you feel on edge and high or low blood sugar numbers at the time can make things a touch harder.

Often, the best way to prevent stress from creeping into your relationships is to find a way to allow some of the pressure to subside. Even when under time pressure, it can make sense to make a little extra time for yourself.

Take a break, remove yourself as best you can from the cause of the stress and review your situation and priorities.

If your control has taken a slump lately, it’s well worth getting it back on track as a higher priority as it’ll make you feel better which could help reduce stress in other areas of your life.

Effects of diabetes complications upon relationships

Complications and the threat of complications can affect your quality of life. If you suffer from complications or the early stages, you may feel vulnerable at times. It can be tempting to withdraw yourself from the reality and this can include pushing people away.

We’re all getting older and along with accepting this, we need to accept that our bodies are not infallible. It’s no easy ride, to be strong through complications takes true courage so don’t be too hard on yourself and allow yourself to embrace the people who will support you.

Effects of hypoglycemia on relationships

Some people may be particularly sensitive to hypoglycemia. They may not know how to react and you may find it a surprise if a friend or loved one reacts more strongly to your hypo than you. Hypoglycemia can be the worst part of diabetes for some people. If hypos are at times affecting your relationships with others, have a read of our information on hypoglycemia and relationships

Emotions of children with diabetes

Diabetes and a child’s emotions can be quite a potent mixture. How do you know how much slack to allow and what about keeping things fair for any siblings? We try to answer these questions and more in our diabetes and emotions in children guide

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