What’s the best way to tell them I’m Deaf?
I’ve been asked this question.
It’s awkward when you don’t want it to overshadow everything else, but you want them to know.
I’ve done enough tweaks and experiments…and I think I’ve found the best way!
My goal is to help you leave no shred of insecurity behind in your dating profile and online conversations. Despite the number of times you delete and reinstall the apps. (That’s probably a number we all want to keep to ourselves, am I right?)
We all have our “thing.”
Even if you’re not Deaf, you might find this post useful.
Because no matter what challenges we face everyday, the different ways we have to adapt, it doesn’t change how we love.
But you can’t tell them you’re Deaf or “your thing” if you don’t attract them with your profile. So let’s start there.
#1 How do you get their attention?
I will use my old profile as an example.
“I once wanted to be a princess, then a marine biologist. Now I train and write. Peanut butter burgers fuel me and I can probably do more pull-ups than you. You get fired up about something, aren’t afraid to learn ASL or do burpees with me. Word is you can surf on the lake in the fall – want to try?”
“I once wanted to be a princess, then a veterinarian. Now I train and write.”
I train, but I’m not a total gym rat. Mentioning I write adds depth and spurs curiosity.
I included “ASL” in my profile to indicate how important this language is to me. I didn’t want to come out of the gate with the statement “I’m Deaf!” Whether they figure it out or not, ASL is a non-negotiable part of my life so I went this route.
Many times, the match asks about it. Almost all of them guess right (hallelujah for clever clues….and the power of Google). I recommend sharing a clue to what it is you want the person to know, either through a picture or words!
“Peanut butter burgers”
Random fun fact to provoke a question. Works all the time!
“You get fired up about something.”
I want someone passionate about something in their lives! So I can watch, admire and learn. Weave a sentence or two about what you’re looking for in a match.
I don’t look for the easy way out and I don’t want to meet a sloth. Plus, I legit love burpees.
“Surf on the lake”
My last hook/one more idea of what I’m looking for in a match. Everybody retreats to this line: “I like adventure.”
Yadada, we all do.
Get specific and creative. Challenge your match and see if you like how they respond.
The Big Reveal
Now you’ve got them drooling. But you have to make the reveal. How?
I am currently reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.
And…you guessed it…I decided to stop giving a f about telling the match. We have more important things to care about with than trying to convince somebody we are date-worthy.
Worrying about telling somebody creates a value based on external validation.
How they react is out of your control.
I have a few don’ts and do’s:
- Show remorse
- Feel fear
- Make attempts to justify the situation.
The moment you do this, they sense insecurity. You might lead your match to assume the situation is a bigger deal than it is!
- Reveal your thing with confidence.
“Before we meet I wanted you to know I am Deaf (hence, the bit about ASL). Are you comfortable with that?” (Optional add-in: “You might wonder how we can communicate. I usually do well with lip-reading, eye contact and body language. Or if you’re feeling old fashioned, we can bring paper and pen!”)
Sometimes they’ll ask questions, and encourage them to do so. Open communication early on will establish positive rapport going into the date. I’ve had some wonderful people ask what THEY can do, so it’s not one-sided. I’ve written on empathy in dating brought to you by Improv and Craft Biker.
You can also do this…
- Flirt about it to lighten up the situation. For example, “Oh you have beautiful eyes. If we get lost in translation we can just stare at each other for a bit.”
- Offer to share knowledge bombs on each other. “I’ll teach you how to sign swear words if you can teach me a thing or two [insert their hobbies, passions]. Make it into an exciting learning opportunity for both of you.
BTW: You have to tell me if these lines work.
So, let’s recap how you can write your dating profile:
- Keep your profile spirited with a mix of short and long sentences about you and your match. You’re not trying to make it an interview.
- Include an original conversation starter.
- Challenge them to do something you’d be interested in doing together.
- Be proud to share your “thing.”
Whatever challenges you face, someone else out there has their own.
Embrace the unknown – it creates humbleness, makes you fearless and paves the way for richer experiences.