Liquid Soap, Anyone?

Clear communication can curtail misunderstandings


I'm in Jerusalem right now. My Hebrew ain't too shabby, but when things get hectic, I sure make some interesting mistakes. Yesterday, I went to a nearby pharmacy to pick up a few things. The place was crowded and the cashier was juggling several customers at once. When it was my turn to pay, I nodded my head in response to a few questions that I thought I understood, signed my VISA receipt then headed to the door. Several employees called out to me, "Madame, Madame, you forgot your soap!" I hadn't purchased any soap, but stepped back to the counter to find that I had unknowingly agreed to purchase 5 gigantic liters of liquid bathroom soap, the sale item for the week. Oy! I grabbed the heavy packages and headed home. Needless to say, I will enjoy clean hands for many years to come.

How well do you communicate with others? Misunderstandings about your diabetes needs and concerns can bring a great deal of stress to any close relationship. Here are some tips that can help you express your needs more clearly and better understand how others respond.

1. Consider your comments before you say them. Think about what you want to ask your loved ones to do and consider the best way to phrase the request. If you are angry because they have ignored you in the past, cool down and practice saying your comment in a more positive way.

2. Find a good time to discuss your needs. If your spouse comes home from work agitated about his or her day, it may not be the best time to ask for support. Find a quiet time in the evening or take a walk together on the weekend. Discuss your needs when your loved one can give the topic quality attention.

3. Stay on topic. If you want support, ask for it. Don't mention how your partner failed to help you in the past.

4. Be specific. Don't expect your loved ones to be mind readers. If you want them to help you check your feet each night, say so. Don't make a vague comment about how you need them, but they are always busy. If they know the specific task that you have in mind, it will be easier for them to help you.

5. Listen to their response. If your loved ones seem unsupportive, listen to how they respond to your request. Perhaps they just need more information.

6. Keep sexual requests out of the bedroom. Diabetes can affect sexual performance. If you need your partner to be more patient with you because it now takes you longer to enjoy intimate activities, discuss it away from the bedroom. People are extremely vulnerable during intimacy and may take any comment as criticism.

Your personal needs are important and deserve to be discussed in an open and honest way. Take the time to prepare for these conversations and enjoy the results.

Janis Roszler, RD, CDE, LD/N

NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.


Last Modified Date: June 20, 2013

All content on is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

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Jamis Roszler
Janis Roszler

Janis Roszler, MSFT, RD, CDE, LD/N is the American Association of Diabetes Educators' 2008-2009 Diabetes Educator of the Year.  She is a certified diabetes educator, marriage and family therapist, and registered dietitian. Her books include Sex and Diabetes (ADA) Diabetes on your OWN Terms (Marlowe & Co) and The Secrets of Living and Loving with Diabetes (Surrey books).

Donna Rice
Donna Rice

Donna Rice MBA,RN,CDE,FAADE is the 2007 Past President of the American Association of Diabetes Educators. She is a registered nurse, diabetes educator and has developed numerous educational programs on sexual health and wellness.  She is the co-author of  Sex and Diabetes (ADA) and Diabetes and Erectile Dysfunction - A Quick ‘n' Easy Handbook For the Diabetes Educator (Bella Vita).  Her newest publication is a children's book, The Magic is Me (Searchlight Press).

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