Who’d have thought that in 2019 I’d be sat here writing a post about the right way to talk to someone.
I mean I know it’s so much easier to converse via our fingers and phones, I have to admit I’d much rather email someone than phone them, but I think I can confidently say I know how to speak to people, a stranger politely without causing offence.
I mean I might feel a little nervous or anxious about it, depending on the situation. But it’s nerves and anxiety that come from worrying that they won’t like me, think I’m weird or awkward.
I don’t think, this person is tall I might say the wrong thing.
I don’t think, this person is Jewish I may offend them.
I don’t think, this person is Asian I’m going to say something to anger them.
I think here’s a person and I have this to say.
Yet according to a survey I saw pop up on twitter, two thirds of people are to scared or nervous to talk to someone with a disability. Many saying they wouldn’t want to offend or say the wrong thing.
And if you do a quick google search you’ll find articles 5, 3 years old that say the same thing.
I mean surly by now we’ve got this covered.
Because really, it’s not that deep.
All you really have to do is stick to the polite conversation you use with any stranger until you get to know them, and you can’t really go that wrong.
Because yes, my disability is a difference I have to you, but your eye colour, your height and what town you’re from is a difference you have to me.
We all have a wealth of differences that if approached in some kinda way could cause offence, so why are we still so scared of disability?
And yes, you can get it wrong, so wrong, just like you could with anyone. Yet we seem to have learnt those no no’s, we instinctively know the wrong things to say in accordance to many different things. So why is it we’ve learnt the do’s and don’ts when it comes to everything else but not with disability?
I’m sure there are many, very clever answers to these questions, but honestly isn’t it just common sense?
Just be nice.
Talk to me like the adult that I am, because I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t talk to any other 27 year old like a 7 year old, well except maybe that one friend that thinks Brexit means we’re going to lose all the trees 😉
Don’t ask personal or intrusive questions, because I’m not asking how you go to the bathroom within 5 minutes of meeting you so why are you asking me. You don’t have the right to know my full life story or medical history just because I’m disabled, it’s information that’ll be offered to you when I’m happy to share, or will come as a natural progression.
Lastly I’d say, don’t get blindsided by disability, because yes my disability is a part of me, but there is literally so, so, so much more. Let’s talk film, music, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and how amazing Chrissy Teigan is.
So, come talk to me people, I don’t bite 🙂
Love, C x
P.S I know we aren’t all perfect in saying the right thing, i know people can often jump to stereotypes or over used anecdotes when it comes to race, religion, sexuality, height, hair colour, weight or even accents. I also know people can be intentionally hurtful and offensive when it comes to all of the above and more, but that’s not what I’m addressing. I’m looking at people that mean well and do want to be nice.
It just strikes me that 5 years ago there was a campaign run by a disability charity that was teaching people how to talk to disabled people, there’s official training explaining how to talk to disabled people, when we are all just people, but still I go to a doctors appointment and have the doctor spend the whole appointment talking to my mum instead of me.