It’s like being at a ping pong tournament.
Person number one says something.
Person number two responds.
You whip your head around in hopes of catching what is being said.
Person number three chimes in.
You whip your head around again, but this time, person number two has said something.
They all laugh.
Me, I was lost at the first sentence by person number one–and still looking for the ball.
If by some chance I bravely had some courage, I would ask, “What’d you guys say?”
“Never mind. I’ll tell you later,” they’d reply.
I hated that response. I always wanted to crawl into a hole.
After a while, I learned how to do the social bluffing game. You know the one–you smile when they smile, you laugh when they laugh. (And you pray that no one notices or asks you a question.)
After I became deaf as a teen, I had to learn a whole new way to navigate the world, because I could no longer hear anything without hearing aids. I always say that becoming deaf was the best thing that could have happened to me, because one morning, I decided to embrace the journey instead of half-living it.
In the process, I learned some creative ways to handle group conversations.
The first time I went out to lunch with my two sister-in-laws, I had a difficult time following the conversation at first. They simply weren’t aware of what we needed to do to make conversation flow easily. Once I explained what I needed, they quickly adjusted, and now our lunches are always pleasant outings.
How about you? What are some creative ways you make conversations in group settings accessible for you?