11 tips for making friends despite your cerebral palsy!

11 Tips for Making Friends Despite Your Cerebral Palsy

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Friendship enhances life. Although before enjoying any enrichment, you must undergo a traditional welcoming ritual. Said ritual you know as making friends. Making friends can prove intimidating for anyone. Add cerebral palsy to the process and suddenly the intimidation escalates.

First comes any accessibility issues. For example, I love baseball. However, maneuvering around a ballpark remains an issue. Say I go to the concession stand for a hot dog and beer. Since I need a rail to safely navigate steps I require a friend’s help returning to my seat. Such a need can make one feel apprehensive about going with friends to a game.

Individuals with more severe cerebral palsy face even more issues. Curbs and stairs turn an ordinary night out into an obstacle course. You may end up feeling like a burden. That leaves you thinking “Who would want to be my friend?”

STOP! I am not here to encourage dwelling on negativity. As my regular readers know I am about solutions. Prepare to shift into positivity. Implement the following 11 tips. Do so and everyone will want to call you friend.

Map Out

The first step to making friends stands the same for everyone. Able-bodied, cerebral palsy, and other disabilities alike! Meet new people. These initial tips empower you to map out and expand your personal connections.

1. Partake in Online Support Groups

If you want a friend who understands life with CP, partake in online cerebral palsy support groups. Regular online interaction will naturally transition a peer with CP into friend. My two-plus years running #CPChatNow provide my evidence.

[Learn all about #CPChatNow]

Cerebral palsy helped me bond with my grandmother.

My idea to volunteer at senior centers comes from visiting my out-of-state grandparents in 2009.

2. Volunteer At Senior Centers

Again, this tip supplies friends who can relate to cerebral palsy. Seniors tend to deal with more health concerns. While not directly CP, you should discover common ground. I theorize based off my time visiting my out-of-state grandmother.

Quick disclaimer, moving forward tips extend beyond empathy to overall friendship.

3. Revisit Old Acquaintances

Old acquaintances offer an overlooked resource for friendship. Maybe you fondly remember a classmate from high school. Reach out on Facebook! I am guessing the other person will find your message a pleasant surprise.

4. Join a Club

Clubs offer great opportunities to meet others with milar interests. Unfortunately you will likely encounter awkwardness that comes from people’s ignorance about disabilities. Tips five through seven will assist you to move beyond the awkward.

Settle into the Driver’s Seat!

Considering I do not drive, I am speaking metaphorically. View life as a party bus. You possess the keys because you hold the control. Start the party!

5. Smile

Imagine walking into a room filled with people. Who do you want to interact with? Probably the person smiling! Smiles attract people. So go ahead and smile.

6. Talk Positive

Sure, life with cerebral palsy contains negatives. Avoid adding to those negatives, trouble making friends. Upon early interactions stay positive. Keep your thoughts and discussions cheerful.

7. Laugh

Use humor to defend against looming negativity. I recall in college slipping on a wet spot in the dining hall. Given my already less than stellar balance I fell. Rather than sulking in embarrassment I stood up and shouted “Dry campus my @$$!”An ability to laugh at yourself makes you fun to hang around.

Own the Road

Now you sit map out, in the party bus’s driver seat. Only one last item resides. Hit the metaphorical gas (standard pedal or hand control) by taking action.

Send an invite and others may reciprocate.

I received invitations to more graduation parties after I sent out invitations to my own high school graduation party.

8. Send an Invite

Take the initiative and invite people to your place or favorite restaurant. By dictating the environment you remove accessibility barriers. As a bonus when you send invites, others may reciprocate. I learned that lesson with my high school graduation party.

9. Speak Up

Unfortunately a reciprocated invitation could create the previously avoided accessibility concerns. Politely explain your issue. A good friend will understand and try to accommodate.

10. Answer Questions

Encourage friends to ask questions about your CP. When someone seems hesitate to ask her question, bring up the subject. The more they know, the more comfortable they will feel around you.

11. Recommend Further Resources

Certainly you bare no responsibilities to serve as a cerebral palsy spokesperson. Thus if someone shows curiosity and you prefer not answering questions, refer your friend to other resources. I am perfectly happy to serve as a CP spokesperson. Recommend my blog, my Yotube channel, or better yet my memoir Off Balanced.

Also Available On the Nook

Enough self-promotion! I apologize. Let us return to the subject at hand, making friends despite cerebral palsy. Which tip garnered your attention? Do you know another tip for making friends? Please share by commenting below.

*Link to Off Balanced’s Amazon sales page connected with the Amazon LLC Associate Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. 

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2 responses on “11 Tips for Making Friends Despite Your Cerebral Palsy

  1. Chrinstine

    I will immediately clutch your rss as I can’t find your email subscription hyperlink
    or e-newsletter service. Do you have any? Kindly let
    me know in order that I may just subscribe. Thanks.

    1. Zachary Fenell Post author

      Hi Christine! There is an option to subscribe, but it may show up at a different place depending on whether you are using a computer or mobile device. Go to my home page zacharyfenell.com and scroll down to my website footer. The subscribe option should be the first thing you see in the footer. Thanks for your interest. Let me know if you need any more help.

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