Clinically reviewed by Dr. Chris Mosunic, PhD, RD, CDCES, MBA

How to ask your friends & family for support after your type 2 diabetes diagnosis

by Kells McPhillips

When you’re newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, reorganizing your life takes time. As you're tweaking your diet and adjusting to glucose testing, you may also find that you need more support from those around you—even if you feel afraid to ask for it.

Learning to enlist the help of others is one of life’s daily struggles. Society tells us that we need to deal with things on our own so that we don’t “trouble” or “inconvenience” those around us. But research shows that our loved ones want to show up for us and even experience positive emotions, like a sense of fulfillment, when they’re asked to step in.

When it comes to asking for what you want, psychology suggests that one communication framework may outshine the rest. The ”DEAR” communication model can help you set the scene for positive, collaborative talks with your friends and family.

DEAR is what’s known as a Dialectical Behavioral Tool or a tool intended to help with interpersonal relationships. Created by psychologist Marsha M. Linehan in the 80s, DEAR is an acronym that emphasizes non-judgemental conversations and stands for describe, express, assert, and reinforce.

Ahead, clinical psychologist Chris Mosunic, PhD, Calm Health's Chief Clinical Officer, walks you through the seven steps of the DEAR model so you share effective, judgment-free heart-to-hearts with your inner circle.

How to use “DEAR” to ask friends and family for support when you’re newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes


Describing the situation or topic you would like to discuss is the first step of Dear Man communication, according to Dr. Mosunic. For example, you could say something like, “Can we talk about my type 2 diabetes diagnosis?”


Next, you’ll want to state how the topic makes you feel using “I” statements. For example, you could say something like, “I’ve felt isolated since my diagnosis,” rather than something accusatory like, “You’ve made me feel unsupported since my diagnosis.”


Now is the moment to ask for what you want. Try to be as straightforward as you can. For example, “I want your support. I’d love for you to meet me for a walk once a week in my neighborhood and drive me to my doctor’s appointments on the days I don’t have my car.”


Of course, your loved ones should also be getting something from this exchange. Take this moment to tell them what’s in it for them. “I think seeing you more often will be a great opportunity for us to catch up, even on busy weeks,” for instance.

Remember: Like all good communication, the DEAR method takes practice. Be patient with yourself and try to focus on one letter at a time until the entire acronym feels like second nature to you. And don’t worry—soon, it will.

Calm Health is a mental health wellness product. Calm Health is not intended to diagnose or treat depression, anxiety, or any other disease or condition. Calm Health is not a substitute for care by a physician or other health care provider. Any questions that you may have regarding the diagnosis, care, or treatment of a medical condition should be directed to your physician or health care provider.

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