There’s no need to feel like such a socially inept fool.
Take a leaf out of the modern man’s playbook and build yourself a powerful online presence that will not only give you friends, but will aid you in travelling and exploring the world.
It’s completely OK to feel like you’re an outsider, someone who struggles with just the simplest of conversations.
Often it’s the dialogue that runs back and forth in our own minds that proves to be the most distracting of all things. Those who spend a great deal of time by themselves will often find that their interior monologue, that runs constantly throughout all our lives, is the voice that they are most familiar with. The back and forth nature of their own minds, means that it can be a real challenge to have a live conversation with a real person.
There’s no need to feel out of place or isolated because of this. Put simply, the art of being social is something that needs to be practised. Now if you were in a similar position to me about 5 years ago, I had very few windows of opportunity for actual conversation. For a decade I met only a handful of new people, my main source of socialising was Jackson, my carer. The dialogue that we developed over the hundreds of hours spent together was considerable, but if you’d dropped in one of our conversations – the chance is you wouldn’t be able to keep up with our conversation.
Now, we weren’t discussing anything particularly complex, it’s just that our shared frames of reference were extremely localised to not just New York City, but also to the television shows and commercials that coloured our day-to-day existences. We’d spent years developing a very unique, insular form of dialogue that was almost like a language unto itself. As much as this was a veritable lifeline for me, it wasn’t healthy. Jackson knew this, that’s why he hooked me up with the internet as soon as he could and started setting me up with some social media accounts.
Facebook has been an ever present social networking site for the best part of a decade now, if you’re wheelchair and house bound then this can be a great tool to reconnect with old friends and make some new ones whilst you’re at it. The complex algorithms and programs that make up it’s ever-changing database is tailored to finding you friends, all you have to do is type in your email address and a mobile number. Within seconds your phone and email accounts sync up with Facebook’s database linking you with tonnes of possible acquaintances, friends and family members. It’s an inclusive community, where members are often a great deal more social online than off.
From here you’ll find it easy to start traversing the internet. The Facebook news feed gives you a constantly rolling update of the sites, videos and articles that other are sharing and commenting on. This brings us nicely to the next section of the internet: forums.
Yes, this can be the most toxic part of the internet. The home of trolls and self-righteous fools alike, forums make up a huge part of online communications. Anyone can start a thread on any number of servers, the population of the internet can then throw in any suggestion, link or argument that they please. The sky’s the limit and whole online communities have been formed from the answering of a simple question, or the discussion of a film.
You may even find that, taking part in a forum takes your online writing to a strange new place: the land of blogging. Although famous YouTubers have run with the blogging platform to turn it into a huge money-making machine, old school bloggers are still out there. There are many reasons to blog, and plenty of styles to blog within. This can be a great cathartic activity for anyone living with a disability – your thoughts and feelings can be shared to the world. More than likely, you’ll make connections with similar writers and gain some sense of perspective, as others pitch in on the topic. If your Blog gains real traction then you can always turn to an internet marketing company to help you get some more attention, before you know it, you could have your own online celebrity status!
Throw in Twitter, What’s App, Tinder, Reddit, Skype and the many other social communications apps together – and you have a complete arsenal of social tools at your disposal. With these you can reach out of your small life, and affect some change in someone else’s. Don’t think that this is the kind of social interaction that will stay limited to the online sphere. If you’re in a big city, meeting in a public place is always an option and you can soon start to build a real life circle of friends.
Not so socially inept after all, right?