3. Be casual yet confident
So exactly how does one reveal a secret without just blurting it out? "It's hard not to kill the mood with your health secret, because it's probably not something that can be easily segued from a topic you would normally discuss," Davis says. She recommends a conversation bridge, such as, "I feel like we're heading in a great direction, so I wanted to tell you something."
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Just don't overdo it: "You don't want to frame this in a way that ends up making a bigger deal of something you don't want made into a big deal," Dr. Robbins says. In other words, make your delivery as drama free as possible.
Allison*, a 30-year-old marketer from Baltimore, tries to casually tell dates about her multiple sclerosis (MS).
"Usually I'll work it into another aspect of our conversation," she says. "It's a lot easier to tell someone I have MS as a side note in a conversation than to sit down and have a formal discussion focused solely on MS."
However, even a casual, well-prepared speech doesn't always meet with success.
"One guy just clammed up and didn't want to say anything or go anywhere because, in his eyes, I might get hurt," Allison* says. "And another guy became very controlling and tried to tell me what I should and shouldn't be doing for my health. Um, you're not my doctor, dude."
Allison's dates probably have their heart in the right place. "They're trying to be helpful because they care about her," Dr. Robbins says. He suggests that she have a confident, straightforward response about how she would like them to react; something like: "I don't see this as something that defines me—but if I need help, please leave it to me to ask."