How Do I Make More Able‐bodied Friends?Jul 10, 2018
Making friends, whether online or in the real world, is difficult if you have a disability. Here’s a few tips to help make it easier.
Do New Things in Familiar Places
My advice is to try out a new hobby, but to do it in a space you’ve explored ahead of time to make sure it’s accessible. For example, make sure you’ve visited board game shop/play area ahead of time before signing up to play anything. That way, you don’t compound the stress of meeting new people with the stress of navigating a new space.
Have (public) places often you hang out at to relax or unwind, whether that’s a bar, coffee shop, or bookstore. You should be comfortable with being by yourself in public spaces. You can’t be social if you’re not first comfortable with just being.
Master the Basics
Hygeine; social queues; etiquette. You need to get these things down if you hope to make more able‐bodied friends. Social interactions consist of dozens of tiny “transactions”. If the person you’re talking to doesn’t feel like they’re getting a fair deal, they’ll end it.
Learn to read the room and listen to what other people are saying when they’re talking instead of waiting to say something else when they’re finished. Conversation is more than not interrupting the other person.
Have Reliable Transportation
Do you live in a city where people drive everywhere? You’re going to need to learn how to drive or find reliable transportation. Driving is one of those social currencies that people expect to be able to trade on. If you are legally allowed to drive, you should learn to do so. If not, then you should offer to pay for a cab to and from wherever it is you’re going.
Be Excited About Being You
I used to have another disabled friend who would always say shit like “she won’t date me because I’m disabled.” and one day, I snapped and said “no dude, she won’t date you because you’re fucking boring. You’ve got no job, no car, and you’re only hobby is bein’ sad about bein’ you.” It was harsh, but I wasn’t wrong.
You can’t expect to go out and take interest in new people if you’re not interested in who you are as a person. You need to have a firm grasp of what makes you you before going out and meeting new people.
Not every negative or failed social interaction to the fact that you’re disabled. It’s unfair both to yourself and to the people you’re trying to interact with. Most folks don’t enjoy being friends with unhappy or unstable people and will actively avoid spending time with them, disability or no.