Pretty much all of my friends are disabled but it is not because I have something against abled friends. It is because I click better with the disabled and have had a couple bad experiences with abled friends. I will share a few things on why having abled friends is tough.
Unsympathetic when running them over- Most abled people will get mad when you run them over. If they truly understood how difficult it was to control a wheelchair they may not get as mad. A couple of years ago I got a new electric scooter and I took it to the mall with one of my abled friends. We went into a store that was too small for me to maneuver so I accidentally ran over her so instead of moving out-of-the-way she told me “I had a stick up my ass.” People with disabilities get a lot of anxiety when having to maneuver in small store so comments like that are highly inappropriate and not necessary.
What’s your disability?- If you are going to be friends with me the least you could do is at least pretend you care! If you can’t tell me the name of my disability after I have told you three-hundred times that tells me you don’t care!
Trying to relate- There are other things that we both may be able to relate to having a disability is not one of those things. Instead of telling me you can relate ask me questions about it so you know more about it. You cannot relate to my condition unless you have it so stop acting like you can because you can’t!
Comforting is difficult- If I am depressed I am not going to go to an abled person because they cannot relate to my condition. An abled person is not going to be able to comfort a disabled person as well as a disabled person can. An abled person may be good at a lot of things but when it comes to helping someone who is depressed about their disability they usually are not very helpful because they don’t understand. A person with a disability has better success in helping a person with a disability with depression because they are in the same boat!
They don’t listen – Some of my abled friends get mad when I don’t go to certain events because they don’t listen! They think they know more about my disability than I do. Some of my abled friends listen to me but a majority of them do not. Watching you do an activity is not fun so if you want to have bonding time get to know me so we can find an activity we both can enjoy.
When you have a disability having abled friends can be difficult because they will never understand! You will not make a person with a disability feel better by trying to relate to their condition but will annoy them instead. People with disabilities just want friends who are supportive they don’t need someone who can relate to their condition. Instead of trying to relate to their condition try to see what activities they like so they are not excluded from all the activities. If you have any questions about why having abled friends can be difficult please leave them in the comments below!
Life with Spina Bifida is a personal blog that is all about my life with a disability, chronic pain as well as encouraging hope and positivity for those who are suffering. You are not alone!