Talking to Others
About CF

Tips for communicating effectively with others about your CF

As you develop new personal and professional relationships—at college, at work, or at the doctor’s office—use these tips to help you speak openly about cystic fibrosis (CF).

Building friendships
What is an important quality to have when forming new relationships?

Honesty can go a long way with classmates, coworkers, and other peers.

Let them know their health can affect you

It’s important for them to understand that even minor illnesses, like a cold, are a big deal.

Take time to educate

Here are some ways to gently address any issues:

  • Ask to talk to them privately

  • See if you can answer any questions they may have

  • Let them know when it’s OK or not OK to talk about your CF

Practice gratitude

Tell them how much you care. Start by writing down why you’re thankful, and then share it with them:

“Today, I’m grateful for




When you're making friends, don't be shy about sharing. Here are a few ways to break the ice!

Ask questions: Striking up a conversation by asking a few relevant questions can be an effective way to get to know someone. Ask them about their passions, pets, or hobbies. How old is your puppy? Do you like film photography too? They’ll love to share their answers with you!

Be yourself: Staying true to yourself is perhaps the most important aspect of forming a new relationship. It can be a challenge to open up to people you’ve never met before, so just take it slow. You don’t have to tell them your life story right away—a fun fact or joke will do!

Starting relationships
Any tips for starting a relationship?

If you’re dating or you have a significant other, communication is key.

Before the date
Think about important conversations

Before you get involved with anyone, think about what you want to discuss for each of these relationship milestones:

  • First date

  • Getting serious

  • Meeting the family

When you are dating

Here are some ways to gently address any issues:

  • Tell them about your CF and how it works

  • Let them know that there may be times when you have to change or cancel plans for your health

  • Explain any dietary restrictions or treatments you may have to carry with you on dates

If you’re getting serious

Here are some ways to gently address any issues:

  • Ask to swap schedules to help you stay on track with treatment and plan quality time around it

  • See if they want to lend a hand with your CF treatments, if you’re comfortable with it

  • Discuss going to healthcare appointments together and the type of support you’d like during them

Talking with professors and supervisors
How do I get on the same page as my professors and supervisors?

Collaborate with mentors in your life, so they can help you succeed.

Discuss your health needs

Let them know that your CF makes you more sensitive to germs, so you have to be aware of any illnesses going around.

Do you require special accommodations at school or at work?

Let them know if you need to:

  • Carry tissues or a water bottle

  • Leave early to pick up medicine

Fill out and share our school accommodations letter template with your school’s faculty to give them the heads up on your CF!


For those in a workplace setting, our workplace accommodations letter template may be of some assistance.

Agree on a plan

Talk about ways to minimize absences from work or class, like working from home. Ask about the school or workplace sick day policy, so you can use it when needed.

Follow up

After your discussion, send a follow-up e-mail summarizing any arrangements or accommodations. This way, they have a record of what they agreed to.

Connecting with new doctors
How do I connect with my new doctors?

It’s always good to meet one-on-one.

Take your time

When you set your appointments, make sure you schedule enough time to get to know each other.

Break the ice

Ask these questions to learn how to best work with them:

  • What days and times are you most available?

  • How should we schedule check-ins?

  • What’s the best way to keep in touch?

Open up

Tell them about any activities or sports you participate in so they can create a care plan that fits your needs. If you think of any new activities you want to try, be sure to talk it through with them beforehand.

Stay on track

Work together on a plan for taking and storing your CF medicines. Try out the plan for a week or so. Then, touch base with them to talk about any challenges and how to fine-tune your plan.

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