Tip #5 for Successful Interactions with a Blind Person: I Bet You Didn’t See This One Coming!

When talking to a blind person, a lot of people are hesitant to use phrases like, “did you see that movie?” or “see you later.” This usually comes from a place of trying to respect the blind person’s blindness and usually results in either sighted people avoiding certain topics altogether or replacing them with modified phrases, such as “did you see… I mean… did you hear that movie?” or “see… I mean hear you later.” I respect when people are trying to be respectful and I’ll never fault someone’s honest efforts to do what’s right.

However, one thing many people don’t know is that we as blind people use these common English phrases also, both among ourselves and when conversing with our sighted peers. These phrases are part of the English language and we toss them around without thought just as sighted people do. We may not see movies with our eyes as it were (a topic for another day) but we still use the term “saw” to describe what we did with a movie. My immediate go to when discussing movies with a blind friend is, “did you see that movie you told me you were going to go see last week?” He’ll usually respond something like, “Yeah, I saw it.”

The goal of today’s tip is to let you all know that you can feel comfortable using words like “see, look, watch, visualize, etc.” when talking about activities where you normally would use these words. It will make both sides of the conversation flow more naturally and comfortably. Don’t worry, we won’t get offended by these terms. At least, most of us won’t. As always, these tips are based on my experience and that of those I’ve worked with.

See you next time and, remember, if you send in your questions, I’ll have a look and post answers!

Questions can be submitted by contacting us or by calling the Bowen Island Accessibility Group’s Community Mailbox at +1 (604) 947-9021, extension 123.

Check out more tips and tricks in our Tips and Tricks corner.