One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and be understood. New friendships require constant work. If you happen to be friends with a visually-impaired, or might be in the future, it may require a little more understanding to figure out how some of the things work ‘a little differently’ for them. From handling daily chores to using Braille, visually-impaired friends are unique in every aspect. Today, we will provide some tips to effectively interact and bond with visually-impaired, in order to make good friends with them, for life.
- Show LOVE, not PITY
Everyone looks for meaningful friendships in life. People usually behave with covert concern or pity near differently-abled people, but that’s not what they need. Treat them similar to your other friends with a little bit of empathy. Show your love and care for them by tiny gestures of kindness, like you do with any other friend. The last thing a differently-abled wants, is to be treated differently, so reflect it in your behaviour and never make assumptions about their abilities or disabilities.
- Start a good, relatable conversation
Usually bonding occurs when one person finds something of similar interest in the other, so the best way of getting to know each other is to start a conversation about a topic of interest and listen to the opinions of the other person. Talk about studies, work, sports or life in general, it’s all good. Don’t bring up the topic of Vision-loss or blindness too often because it’s not the only thing visually-impaired want to talk about. Stay respectful to them and don’t judge them on their opinions, after all, we all have different perspectives, right?
- How or When to extend Help
Give help only when it’s asked for. Don’t assume that a blind person will always need help. Extending the helping hand to much can also make them feel embarrassed or offended, because most visually-impaired people like to be independent and do things on their own. You can definitely extend a helping hand, if you see them struggling with something, but always politely ask beforehand, “Do you need some help with that?”
- Just be a good friend
Be there in times of need, especially if your friend is going through a difficult time, offer mental support if required. Have fun together, visit different places, watch a movie together, have lunch, there are infinite possibilities for you and your visually-impaired friend to spend some time together. Go with the flow and enjoy the precious moments your friendship.
Basic Tips of Mannerism
Here are a few basic codes of conduct to follow, while interacting with a visually-impaired:
- Introduce yourself by name, before you start a conversation. Visually-impaired may not always recognise you by voice, especially if you two talk less-frequently.
- Include your Visually-impaired friend in the conversation while hanging out with your group of friends, so that they won’t feel left out.
- If you are over with the conversation or you are about to leave, inform them the same, otherwise, they might go on talking without realising that you have left.
- Words like ‘look’, ‘watch’, ‘saw’, ‘blindness’, ‘visually-impaired’ etc. are NOT forbidden to talk about, while having a conversation with a visually-impaired, but if they are uncomfortable with the topic or frequent use of these words, then it’s better to take a hint and get another topic.
Team ITVI believes in normalisation of these issues, that’s why we brought this topic forward for our readers. We hope this article will prove beneficial to you while making a new friend or while spending time with your old friends. Just remember to be empathetic, spread love and kindness, everyone needs it.
Stay safe and keep supporting ITVI!