Raising Awareness Delicately
"I thought she couldn't have pie."
"I just read an article about cinnamon and diabetes. It sounds like a supplement could really make things easier for you."
"Did you see the story about the guy in (insert neighboring state here) who just crashed his car and died and they think it was because he was experiencing low blood sugar?"
'Tis the season to spend time with the loved ones we don't see every day: relatives at the holiday table, friends who come into town once a year, neighbors we talk at length with only at the annual open house. Conversation starters like the ones above are likely.
When posed by someone with whom we have no biological or emotional attachment, the following responses might be deemed acceptable:
"You thought wrong." A little half-smile is optional, to soften the impact.
"I think you might want to read a little more about that one," delivered with a subtle shake of the head.
"Well that's terrifying...thanks so much." Walking away could be the next step.
When posed by a misinformed close friend or by a relative we spend a good amount of time with, it's probably worth it to spend some time really explaining the ins and outs of why what they've said is inaccurate and/or upsetting to us. We can assume this person cares about us and doesn't want us to be upset, and that it will benefit all of us to have a substantial conversation in order to avoid a repeat in the future.
But what to do with dear Aunt Susie who you see, at best, twice a year? These kinds of answers work for me:
"Ah...but what's Thanksgiving without pie? She can take extra insulin for it."
"Hmmm...I've read about that too. Unfortunately it's not for the kind of diabetes she has."
"Oh dear! I find those kinds of stories so scary- I avoid them if I can. But even though she's only 14 I've started impressing upon her the importance of checking her blood sugar before driving."
My goal is to remember that people like our fictional Aunt Susie are asking out of love and concern. Aunt Susie certainly means no harm, and I certainly don't want to spend Thanksgiving dinner or the duration of the cookie exchange party arguing with her. So a brief, accurate and kind reply works best, raising a little awareness and then moving on quickly...hoping that politics isn't the next topic she decides to bring up.