Don’t we all want more pleasure and less pain in our lives? More amazing and less annoying? More personal space and less in-your-face? Did I hear a “Hell yeah!”? I thought so. Well, me too!
I’m feeling the need to help you understand why a simple social interaction can stir up the bubbling mixture of painful anxiety and crazy in the black cauldron I call my soul. Yep. There is something that happens to me on a regular basis and we need to have a conversation about it.
Let me start by saying that I know you all mean well, I really, really do. But, for the love of God, please don’t jump on me like a horny Rottweiler looking for something to hump when you see me. Don’t grab my waist, arms or shoulders in an attempt to pull me towards you…OR go in for the awkward “half hug” with that extra G.I. Joe kung fu grip added on. Don’t get me wrong, I love my friends and family, but I’m not a fan of random hands, or an unexpected chest bump without someone telling me who they are FIRST. It’s extremely unnerving!
So, here’s where I’m going to help you, which will help me as well. You just need to remember four simple words…“Talk Before You Touch”! It’s an easy concept really, and I’m going to break it down into four parts for you guys! When you understand where I’m coming from as a blind person, it will make social Interactions more comfortable for all of us.
1) When approaching someone who is blind, like myself, please stop at least a foot or two away from us. I’m serious. it’s called personal space and I happen to like my space very much! I don’t want you so close that I can smell your breath or your suffocating body odor. If I can smell you… you’re too close. ~ No touching is happening here.
2) If you want to get our attention, please speak up and talk to us. Even if we know each other, you should introduce yourself. Start the greeting with “Hi Maria… it’s (Insert name here)”. It’s important to say my name because it lets me know you are talking to ME. I can’t see you looking My way, so hearing my name is a great attention-getter! ~ And still, no touchy.
3) Give me a moment to acknowledge you with my greeting. If I’m not recognizing who you are, give me a last name or a hint! Help a blind girl out here! When we make that verbal connection, then I’m okay with interacting with you. ~ No, no, no. Don’t touch yet.
4) At this point in our greeting, and only at this point, will I feel comfortable with a handshake, or a touch to the shoulder or arm if you wish to do so. I might even say “Hey (Insert name here), give me a hug!” Yeah…I might, if I know you pretty well. And maybe you’ll get the awkward “half hug” if I don’t. ~ Oh hot diggity damn! Permission to touch is granted!
I don’t want to scare anybody off… I love each and every person that surrounds me in this unexpected life. You just wouldn’t know that this is my preferred greeting protocol if I didn’t tell you. I suspect some people in the blind and visually impaired community may relate to this social issue, or some may think I’m totally uptight. Either way… I know what works for me. So, remember the four words with the four parts…“Talk Before You Touch”. Life will be a bit more pleasurable…. I definitely know that much! xx