Making Deaf Friends and Building Relationships

Are you interested in making more social connections in the deaf community? You may be deaf and want to expand your social circle, perhaps after moving to a new city. You may be a hearing person who wants to make deaf friends. Here are some resources that may help.

Two Happy Men Making Sign Language
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Making Deaf Friends

These days, online is frequently the way deaf people and hearing people befriend each other. It is still important, however, to get out into the community and meet people in person. You may want to start your search online but then go to a live event. Choose an activity that interests you and you can interact with people who enjoy the same things. Be especially alert for volunteer opportunities, as that is an excellent way to be introduced to others in a structured way that may be more comfortable.

  • Facebook Deaf Groups: Facebook is popular in the deaf community and many specialized groups have formed. Interacting with other members of the group online can be a way to introduce yourself to others and share ideas via written communication and videos. You can find groups for your location and learn about upcoming live events. Groups will often share other social media apps they use so you can stay current with how the deaf community is using electronic communications.
  • Check for Your State's Association of the Deaf: A quick search by the name of your state and deaf association should lead you to their website. You may see many local organizations and events listed there. You can attend events or volunteer.
  • Signing Suppers and Other Deaf Culture Functions: Want to make new friends and practice signing in a relaxed atmosphere? Try joining in signing/silent suppers. These meetups are often hosted at restaurants or coffee shops. Besides these social events, look for other cultural functions that are enjoyed by the deaf community.
  • Check Schools for the Deaf: See if there are schools for the deaf in your area. They will often have community events. You may also consider volunteering with the school, which is a good way to meet the staff, parents, and students. If you graduated from a school for the deaf, your alumni association may be able to help you find social opportunities in your area.
  • Ask an ASL Instructor or Interpreter: If you are taking an ASL class, ask the instructor about social groups and events for the deaf. Instructors should have some advice on how to join in events in the local area.
  • Check Your State's Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Program: Each state should have a program dedicated to the deaf and hard of hearing. They can be a resource.

Marriage and Family

Deaf and hearing marriage presents challenges to both the deaf and hearing partner. Even oral deaf people married to signing deaf people face marital challenges. Statistics from the Medical College of Virginia say that 85 percent of profoundly deaf people in the U.S. marry a person who is deaf. Families also face challenges when the children can hear but the parents are deaf.

By Jamie Berke
 Jamie Berke is a deafness and hard of hearing expert.