Some tips to make friends with a blind person
Friendship is one of the most beautiful relationships. If you have a good friend, you are lucky. Good friendships do not judge a person’s past, negatives or disabilities.
If you just joined a new college or workplace and met a disabled person, do not hesitate to bond with them. Most government and corporate companies have blind staff members. Sometimes, we are hesitant to go and talk to them because we do not exactly know how to start a conversation. Remember disability does not define anyone so don't hesitate to reach out.
Most of the times, you would hear that disabled people are lonely and have no friends. Or that society does not want to mingle with them. I have a different opinion. I talk to a lot of people and have a wide network. But I have a handful of good friends because I follow certain things when I make a friend for life. Mainly, I do not expect someone to treat me special just because I am a disabled person. Sometimes, people come up to me and say that I am inspiring and that they would love to be my friend. Give me a break! I am a normal human being and I would rather stay happy without inspiring you. - Maitreya Shah, Blind law student.
If you recently met a blind person with whom you would love build a friendship, we have some tips for you. And remember these tips apply to anyone.
- Find common interests - This is very easy if you have a blind colleague or classmate. You can ask your new friend about what interests them. For example, if they like jazz or retro music and you love the same, you can go together for concerts. This way you can enjoy each other's company and bond better. Do both you like spending time with animals? There are many exclusive dog parks in our cities where you can spend time together with furry companions. These are some great ways to bond.
- Mutual respect is important - This goes without saying. In a relationship, both people must learn to respect and accept each other. You do not have to become friends with a blind person just because of their disability. All of them already have their own set of friends. Blind people definitely will not appreciate you hanging out with them due to their disability. Blind people are genuine. So are their friendships. If you find a connection with a blind person, respect that and enjoy every moment of being together. Just like how you respect them, you must learn to respect their disability too. For instance, do not offer help to them unless they ask you to. Keeping in mind a few things like this can make your friendship bloom better!
- Avoid going to loud places - For some people, going to a restaurant or pub with loud music would be fun. But not everyone appreciates loud music where you cannot even hear the other person properly. So choose a quiet restaurant or go for a stroll in the park so you can talk.
- Stick on during tough times - We all love to have friends who stays with you through thick and thin. After all, this is the most important factor that determines a friendship. So if your blind friend is going through a hard time, break-up, death in the family or work stress, give them company to make them feel better.
“I wouldn’t appreciate if someone tries to become my friend just out of sympathy. They should be ready to treat me equally. A few of my friends used to ask me not to go to a new place because I might fall down or bump into someone. I used to get hurt when they say that. So once I told them about this, and they have never spoken to me like that! You might be comfortable in the visual world, but blind people have an equally powerful audio world and fingers through which we experience things”, says Kritica Purohit who is a blind beauty contest finalist.
So, reach out and connect with a visually impaired person like you would with anyone else, as an equal with whom you are seeking a friendship that is based on mutual respect not sympathy.
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