In general, have you noticed it is hard to find the love of your life, or you just moved to a new area and are craving to make new friends? Especially if you just started learning American Sign Language and there are not a lot of Deaf people to find as a practice partner in your area. No one can forget the the pandemic outbreak that not only made history and changed the world, but also impacted relationships, friendships, and dating/love life big time. Before COVID, Deaf Night Out and ASL socials were very popular, where they usually had big crowds of Deaf people/fluent ASL signers or beginner signers, and many of the people made friends at these events and even found dating partners. Now, the virus makes it harder to attend Deaf events/socials and even worse, not giving opportunities to use ASL. To this day, with the Delta Variant, people are still not comfortable going out and meeting people in person, but with the drastic lost time, people are thirsty to brush up on their ASL skills. We all have been there. That is where “online networking” comes into play and has a huge role in modern dating. Of course, people still prefer to meet in person – a tale as old as time – but technology is becoming more and more widespread and powerful. There are tons of dating apps out there that people can find friends of similar interests, hookup, casual date, or enter serious relationships. While there are many out there, Social ASL is not just any dating site, it is one of a kind. This “seeking for friends/dating” website focuses on bringing the ASL signers and Deaf community together to make friends or find love. It is not focused on specific age groups, genders, religion, ethnicity, education, hobbies, etc. We are all about diversity and inclusion of all profession, all ages, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, interests, etc. Social ASL provides opportunities for beginners to find friends to practice with, ASL interpreters to network with other interpreters, or for people to meet and perhaps, fall in love, regardless of ASL level.
Social ASL is a fun place to sign up with, but if one needs to brush up on their ASL skills or just wants to learn ASL, where can one start? Don’t worry, we have your back. Start ASL is a place where you can learn or brush up on your signs or phrases at your own pace. Start ASL provides ASL courses where you can learn sign language, or if you are not ready to interact with other signers, we also provide Practice Sessions where you can build your confidence and signing fluency. In addition, you can receive a completion certificate when you’ve completed all three courses, and add a new language skill to your resume. You can also receive language credits if your school approves it. You can check out the Top 10 & 25 signs to get you started with knowing the basics such as hello, how are you, my name is.. etc. This is enough for you to at least sign up with Social ASL with some basic signs of introducing yourself, then from there with the people you meet or with taking Start ASL classes, you can become fluent just like that. ASL is not just about learning and knowing another language, it is a language that bridges the gap between Deaf and hearing people, building connections and a community. Socializing is big in the Deaf community, that is why Social ASL is perfect for virtual interactions with other Deaf singles, Deaf friends, or fluent ASL signer singles or friends. Read more here to learn more about the Deaf community. Often times, people who know ASL are not getting enough practice in or are seeking to further their skills to become an ASL interpreter and they wonder how they can improve their signing skills. Deaf events are starting to happen again, so going to the events is one good way to use ASL in real life and with other people. It is nice to go to a Deaf Event and meet your online friends in a safe space. Then you don’t have to be nervous about going to a new event alone. Also, getting together with Deaf friends to play sports, or go to the bar, or have dinner is another great way to continue to practice and use ASL.
How does Social ASL work?
It is easy. All you have to do is create a profile that has information about yourself and what your preferences are. Then you can search for people who have similar interests in your area or search for people outside of your area.
Here are some other useful signs that will come in handy:
I love you (2 different signs)
Fall in love
Sweetheart (2 different signs)
Here are some misconceptions people may have when it comes to Deaf dating:
1 – It is difficult to chose the location for the date.
It should not be hard to choose a location. Just because a person is deaf does not mean they are not able to enjoy a date like any other non-Deaf people. It should be about being able to enjoy and know one another despite of the date location. Something to consider when picking a place is do they have good lighting for seeing signing. Dark places can be difficult to see signing.
2 – It is challenging to date a deaf person.
There are a lot of assumptions that a Deaf person must date another Deaf person, but that is not true. A Deaf person can date a hearing person. As mentioned in the article, “Deaf Relationships and Dating”, Deaf people have different histories and stories of how they were raised, communicate, etc. Rule of thumb, don’t judge a book by its cover and actually try to get know the person for who they are.
3 – Dating a deaf person is a lot of work.
A relationship with a hearing person is different than other relationships in that the person would need to find ways to communicate with the deaf person either through learning ASL or texting back and forth. On a side note, all relationships take a lot of work and effort to have a successful and healthy relationship, not just a relationship with a deaf person.
4 – Intimacy with a Deaf person must be gentle or have different needs.
It doesn’t matter if the person is deaf or not, he or she can enjoy intimacy just the same as someone who is not deaf; and a deaf person does not need “special treatment” in the bedroom.
Read more here about other misconceptions about Deaf people.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when interacting with Deaf people.
- It is important to make constant eye contact because if you do not, it is considered rude. It shows that you do not care or you are not interested.
- Deaf people are independent and will find ways to get around. So, don’t immediately assume or jump in to help. First, ask if the Deaf person needs help, if yes, then by all means help; otherwise it is best to leave that person alone to take care of it himself or herself.
- Deaf people read expressions and body language, so it is important to take off your mask and face the person you are speaking with.
- If there is an interpreter, do not talk to the interpreter, talk to the Deaf person you are talking with. The interpreter is just there to bridge the communication gap.
- Don’t over exaggerate body language or over enunciate, just talk naturally and normally.
If you have questions regarding how dating works with Deaf and hearing people, read more here.