We all need companions in our lives. Having a social network is a vital part of living a full life, and friends can help us fill that need.
Having friends is great, but sometimes we want something more - a special someone to share all of our life with.
Finding that person can be challenging for anyone, but having a disability can make it even more difficult. For example, you might find your disability makes it harder for you to get out and meet people.
If you hope to meet someone to share your life with, don’t give up. There are some things you can do to help you on this journey.
How to meet new people
Whether you’re looking for friendship or something more, getting out and connecting with people is a great way to expand your social network.
No matter where you live, there are almost always clubs and activities to get involved in.
It can be hard to know where to find them, so here are some places to start:
If you have an assessor or Connector, talk to them about things you’re interested in
Tell your family and friends you’re interested in dating – they might have some ideas of ways you could meet new people
If you’re looking for a group or activity specifically for disabled people, you could check out our Support Services directory.
Online dating with a disability
Online dating can be a great way to meet people. It can be a bit daunting at first, but many people have found lasting connections this way.
If you’re disabled, you don’t need to sign up to a special dating service for disabled people, although these do exist.
First, try some of the mainstream options, like Hinge or Bumble. These are both dating apps but you can opt to find friends too. Dating apps can be a great way to connect with people who share your interests.
There are dating services catering specifically to disabled people, such as MyKind. This is an inclusive website that allows you to view people’s profiles and talk to people you’re interested in.
You could also check out Enabling Love, a Dunedin-based service for helping people find friendship and romantic connections. They have regular meetups in Dunedin and sometimes in Auckland.
When to disclose your disability
No matter what your disability, at some point you’re going to have to discuss it with the person you’re dating. When is the best time to bring this up? And how should you do it?
Haley Moss, a 25-year-old with autism, suggests being open and honest about your disability, but wait until the time is right. She says waiting until it comes up naturally in conversation and having a prepared statement can be a good way to reveal your disability to your date.
Keeping yourself safe
When dating online it’s important to protect yourself and know what to do if something goes wrong.
Get to know someone before you meet them in real life, and always meet someone in a public place at first.
Also be careful about what information you give out to people online.
Last updated on Tuesday, 28 November 2023