Leading the Bison Charge!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Failure to Communicate

Ok, so I've got this problem.  Actually, it's just one of many.  For the sake of this story, I will just focus on one.  Maybe I'll save the others for a well-qualified professional therapist.  Anyway, the problem is a language barrier.

See, I started learning ASL just over 2 years ago.  I became conversational pretty quickly.  I often think my friends only understand my sign cuz they have the spiritual gift of interpretation.  That being said, I can usually make my point...and sometimes even understand others.  But what about when my friend is hurting?  Will I let my broken ASL be an excuse not to be supportive?!?  I was in that exact situation.

I saw a friend (I'll call her Lisa for this story) crying in a situation that should have been happy and festive.  I was leaving and another friend (I'll call her Christina) who rode with me was coming to get her coat from the car when we noticed Lisa crying.  When I asked her what was wrong, I only understood enough to ascertain that it was about two of her relatives.  Christina gave her a hug.  After Christina retrieved her coat, she said she would stay and talk to her.  Then I left.

Why didn't I offer to help my friend?  Part of it is my broken ASL.  Part of it is that I'm not particularly comfortable with those situations.  I take pride in supporting my friends, usually through chauffeuring or my wacky sense of humor.  I want them to feel comfortable talking to me...as long as they don't cry.  I firmly believe that the true test of friendship is helping your friends when they are down.  When I texted her later that night to apologize, she said she saw the concern on my face.  Maybe I didn't disappoint her, but I disappointed myself cuz I didn't uphold my own standards!  Even though I left her to be comforted by someone who she knows a lot better, has much better ASL, and is better with those situations, I failed.  Actually, I just didn't try!!!  I have a hard head and usually don't learn quickly from my mistakes.  I hope I've learned this lesson though-not to let a simple language barrier stop me from being a friend!!!


  1. aww don't best yourself up I'm sure she understood ! ~Toya

  2. She understood. My point was that it didn't seem to bother her, but it bothered me, because I didn't uphold my own standards of friendship. We are still friends. I have since forgiven myself.