I’ve found that meeting people can sometimes be really hard. Even though sometimes it can be really easy, there are some people who you simply cannot talk to without trying really hard. Since you don’t know the other person, knowing what to talk about can be challenging, especially since you don’t want to say something that will make them uncomfortable. Sometimes, I find it really helpful to talk about something popular, such as your favorite food or movie, but even that doesn’t always work! Lately I’ve been trying to make lists of things to talk about when I know I’m going to meet someone new. It has topics like books or the classes I’m taking at my university, and all of them are things that relate to me and possibly the other person. Also, these topics are always ones that keep the other person from judging me. This is one of the most important things to me because I want the person to be willing to meet me without any negative ideas in mind.
One thing that I don’t mention, unless I’m asked about it, is my diabetes. I’m not trying to hide it, and I’m certainly not ashamed of it, but this is something that I also don’t feel the need to let everyone know. Often times people have a bad idea about diabetes, whether it is that it is a contagious disease or one that someone develops because they didn’t live a healthy lifestyle. Not talking about my diabetes is a way that I can prevent others judging me before getting to know me. If someone asks me about being a T1 I’m always happy to tell them all about my diabetes, but this is something that I do carefully and I always make sure they understand what it is really about. I know that this may seem crazy to some people (I know several T1 who are happy to let everyone know about their disease), but dealing with T1 is something that every person deals with differently. What do you do when it comes to meeting people? What do you talk about or not talk about? Do you openly share your diabetes story, or do you wait to tell someone, like me?
Hello everyone! My name is Isabella, and I am a senior at the University of Georgia with type one diabetes. I was diagnosed at the age of 19, but don't let diabetes define me. Currently, I volunteer with the Guide Dog Foundation to train puppies to be working guide dogs. I am so excited to be a mentor with Penpals United!