Comfort vs Solution Conversations

How often do you NOT talk with your support people (or type 3’s) because they immediately go into fix mode?

While we love them for being all hands-on deck and our biggest supporters, sometimes the biggest help is for us to just vent… bitch away… get it all out! Now, it can be a fine balance for them to know whether to go into action mode or listen mode and we, of course, do not want our loved ones to be walking on a tight rope around us all the time. Luckily, to help them (and you) out, it is a simple fix: Is this a comfort conversation or solution conversation?

Comfort conversations: Let’s be honest, sometimes (quite often) diabetes just downright sucks and is a lot to deal with. “I can’t even” is a real thing of us…. During those times of frustrations, burn out, overwhelm, the bg rollercoaster, and many other things you just want to vent! These vent sessions don’t really “fix” anything physically, but it can do a world of good for you mentally! I personally love my “10 counts”. This is where I literally let loose for 10 seconds about anything and everything using whatever language at whatever volume I want. At times I have even surprised myself with that word combos I come up with. It releases all of those bottled-up feelings, emotions, and thoughts so that you can “come back down” to a calmer state.

As the name implies, comfort conversations are about comforting, not about taking actions. It is about having someone actively listening to you and HEARING you. Will your type 3’s understand what you are experiencing? Probably not but that does not mean that they can’t listen with a sympathetic ear and sit with you during your vent session. Examples of when I have used these types of conversations are when I have had prolonged stubborn highs or my CGM is not transmitting readings or it was accidentally ripped off (ouch btw). I am not asking my type 3 to fix anything or do anything but instead just listen to me, so I do not continue having my own vicious internal dialogue.

Solution conversations: On the other hand, sometimes we need action, help, or additional support. We have a problem and are wanting help with a solution. These are entirely different conversations. Times when I have used this approach are when I need help with portion control (waffle fries are my weak spot), during a strenuous workout or hike, or while traveling. During these times, I really need and appreciate the extra attention and support while finding it helpful and not overbearing. Solution conversations could also be asking people to stop doing certain things! It is truly about what would be the most helpful for other people to do that is within their control. Education is going to probably be a component of these types of conversations so that the person feels like they have a better understanding of how best to help with what you are asking.

So, how do you differentiate between the two? First, you must take a minute to figure out what you are really needing. Try asking yourself these following questions to help:

  • Are you needing the person to start or stop doing something for you?
  • Do you need to provide education so that they are more informed with the actions or help that they are providing?
  • Are you feeling the need to just talk about your experiences with no commentary or solutions?

These are by no means all the questions you can ask yourself to help determine which conversation you need but they can help you start to figure out which one to have. Once you decide between the two, let your loved ones know that before certain conversations you are going to let them know what you are needing: comfort or solution. Then lay down the ground rules. For comfort, you just need them to listen, potentially ask open ended curiosity-based questions to learn more, but no solutions or action. For solution, have them listen to the problem in its entirety, learn any additional information they need to, and then put a plan in place.

Communication is key…. Everyone knows this but few do it effectively.                                   

Next time you are with your type 3, talk with them about this approach and let me know how it goes!

What have you found to be the best way to let your loved ones know how best to support you with your diabetes management?

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