Friendship Day

  • By: Joni and Friends
  • Aug. 7, 2016
  • 1 Comment
  • Disability Awareness

Joni and KelsieIn honor of Friendship Day, Cause 4 Life intern, Kelsie, shares how friendships have impacted her and how you can be a better friend to someone with a disability:

I grew up in the church and I loved the church I attended. So many were supportive of me. Even so, as I got older, I struggled to make, or keep, friends my own age. I had plenty of help, but friends who just wanted to hang out were hard to come by. I remember when I would be with a group talking and then someone would say, “Well, we’re all going to Applebee’s! Have a good week!” Then they would walk away, never showing any desire to include me in their activities. 

My social life was even less at school. It was not uncommon for me to sit by myself. I had a couple of friends, but when you all have different schedules it’s hard to see each other. Although I was not physically isolated like many with disabilities, I felt socially isolated and had few relationships with real depth, although in college my relationships at church and school improved. These experiences had a major impact on my view of myself and my view of my life in general.

I hope that by sharing my struggle with friendships, I can help others avoid this kind of pain in the future. If you are wondering how to be a friend to someone with a disability, my first answer is to be a friend the same way you be to anyone else. What you want in a friend is the same thing that someone with a disability would want. Here are a few other tips to give you a helping hand:

  • Don’t be nervous. People with disabilities are, first and foremost, people. Treat them as you would treat any other friend!
  • Include them in your activities. If you are going to the movies with a few friends, ask the person with a disability if they want to come too!
  • Ask questions about what you don’t understand so that you can be more helpful and get more of a sense of what they go through. In other words, invite your friend with a disability to explain what they need help with so that you know how to support them. This will also help you grow in your understanding of their daily struggles.
  • Make sure to move at a pace that works for the person with a disability. Give plenty of time to complete an activity. If you are going somewhere together, and you are required to be there at a certain time, make sure to pick the person up earlier than necessary so that there is plenty of time to deal with any issues that might arise.
  • Be ready and willing to step out of your comfort zone. The only way to become comfortable is by doing! Someone with a disability may need help with things like feeding or using the restroom. Be willing to try, and know that it won’t go perfectly the first few times.

Do you have any tips you would add? Can you relate? Share a comment!

 
 

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1 Comment

 
Love what you have to share, Kelsie. Your voice may help change the world!
  • Aug. 8, 2016
  • 2:14 p.m.
  • Dawn Repsher