CDN Student Advice: Telling Your Roommate(s)

Contributor
CDN Student Advice Columnist Abbey

Question 

How do I tell my roommate about my diabetes? Should I be sensitive about it, or just tell her my needs?

Answer 

Abbey: Everyone approaches telling their roommates a little differently. I am not sensitive about it and nor should you be! I commute to school and live at home; however, this is a topic we have talked about multiple times at our CDN Chapter meetings. I will share ‘roommate stories’ from the perspective of two different group members.

One girl told her roommate the first day they moved in. Naturally, her roommate started to ask questions, and the conversation became very natural. Throughout their first year together, the  roommate started to really learn and become interested in understanding all of the ins-and- outs of type one. The girl said that coming out and just stating that she had type one diabetes was the best decision, because now her roommate (who is still her roommate in their junior year) is someone that receives her Dexcom alerts, and understands what to do in almost every situation. She feels as though sharing her diabetes with her roommate made them closer, and makes her feel more comfortable at school.

Another girl in my group was not as comfortable telling her roommate about her diabetes her first year. She decided that she was not going to tell her roommate, and just try to do things like changing her pump site, or testing her blood sugar when her roommate wasn’t around. However, she quickly found that it made her feel very uncomfortable, and like she was walking on eggshells. She also thought that it made her and her roommate not as close. She felt like her roommate knew about her diabetes, but didn’t want to ask or say the wrong thing. This made them both feel awkward around each other. The following year, she roomed with a friend she had met that already knew about her diabetes, just from becoming closer, and she feels like it is a better experience now that her roommate knows.

I share those two stories because I feel like they are good examples of two opposite situations. Even though in the second example the girl felt uncomfortable, this does not mean you will, if you do not share that you have type one. I just want to make sure that you have a positive experience and do not feel uncomfortable in any way because that does not make the transition to college any easier. My advice would be to just tell your roommate! If they get super involved like my first example, awesome! If not, at least they know and you will not feel uncomfortable.

Editor's note: for more info on telling friends and roommates, check out our YouTube playlist