Author Topic: When matchmaking - should you reveal the other person's disability?  (Read 4708 times)

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LifeOnPluto

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I have two friends - "Carrie" and "Jim". Both are single, and have told me that they are actively looking for a relationship. Both have stated they would be happy to be introduced to someone new.

I think Carrie and Jim would be great for each other. They live in the same area, follow the same religion, have similar life values, and tastes (in terms of music, hobbies, etc). I would like to set up a casual meeting and introduce them.

The only issue is, Carrie has a hearing impairment. She gets by with a combination of hearing aids and lip reading. Her speech is understandable, but a little slurred. Her impairment also causes some mild problems with her coordination and balance, etc. Overall however, her impairment doesn't really restrict her lifestyle that much, and she gets by just fine.

My question is, do I need to inform Jim in advance about Carrie's impairment? Is it rude if I don't? If a friend was setting you up with a potential date, would you like to know about this sort of thing in advance?

gollymolly2

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Re: When matchmaking - should you reveal the other person's disability?
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2012, 09:05:03 PM »
I think the answer to this depends on the nature of the disability. Here, since Carrie's disability is probably readily apparent, it's not something that carries a stigma (eg mental disease), and it could be helpful to Jim to know in advance (for example, so he could pick a quieter restaurant), I would tell him very casually in advance.

If it were a different kind of disability, I might be more hesitant.

EmmaJ.

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Re: When matchmaking - should you reveal the other person's disability?
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2012, 09:06:56 PM »
Rather than a blind date, can you have a group of friends come over for a pizza and movie night?  Or a board games night?  Something very casual, where Carrie and Jim can meet naturally and decide for themselves whether or not they are compatible.

It's so much easier meeting someone when you're amongst friends and on familiar territory.  Blind dates can be so awkward and stressful!

HorseFreak

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Re: When matchmaking - should you reveal the other person's disability?
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2012, 09:11:46 PM »
I would give Jim a heads up just so he knows he needs to speak clearly and face her. In general, though, I'm not happy with the pressure of set-ups unless it's in a small group setting.

Mental Magpie

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Re: When matchmaking - should you reveal the other person's disability?
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2012, 09:21:39 PM »
Why not ask Carrie if she minds?  That way you know you're in the clear.

Personally, I would tell Jim simply so he can be prepared to handle it (and not think immediately, say, that she's drunk).
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blarg314

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Re: When matchmaking - should you reveal the other person's disability?
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2012, 04:34:58 AM »

I would tell Jim so he knows how to behave to communicate- "Carrie's hard of hearing and relies somewhat on lipreading, so be sure to speak clearly and face her when talking".

With other issues I think it would be more tricky.  When you're setting someone up on a blind date, you're giving a recommendation for the person you're setting them up with - that you think they'd get on well together, and that the person is a good bet for a relationship.  If you know information that could affect whether or not your friend would want to go on a date with that person, but don't tell them, they could legitimately be peeved with you later.  And if you know something, but don't want to mention it because it might prejudice your friend against the date, then you should probably reconsider setting them up.

This is for a deliberate set-up, however. If you invite people to a mutual event in the hopes they'll hit it off, the situation is very different.

Bethalize

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Re: When matchmaking - should you reveal the other person's disability?
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2012, 04:47:03 AM »
In this scenario I would create an opportunity to introduce them. I wouldn't inform people in advance if someone has a disability. Either it's a non-issue or my friend will say "Please make sure I'm looking at you when you're talking as I lip read".

lady_disdain

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Re: When matchmaking - should you reveal the other person's disability?
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2012, 08:18:10 AM »
I think the approach mentioned by PP of giving him a head up of how he should behave is good. You aren't "warning" of a disability, you are giving him advice of how to make a person more comfortable during a blind date. I would also tell him a good subject to bring up, for example, or favourite food, if he wants to ask her out for dinner.

dawbs

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Re: When matchmaking - should you reveal the other person's disability?
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2012, 08:23:35 AM »
I think some of this is governed by 'would I possibly mention it in a different context?" rule.

I can see mentioning to a (non-set-up/same gender/whatever) friend 'Oh, *blah blah blah, story that involves Jeremy*.  He's a retired navy seal--he's missing the fingertips on his left hand from when he threw himself on a grenade and then was attacked by flying bumblefish * relevance to story here as you regale people w/ stories of Jeremy's complete inability to flip people the bird because of short fingers or whatever*'

I can see conversation about Carrie involving her disability.   That doesn't mean you throw out tact but may move it to 'just plain relevant to conversation'.

MrTango

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Re: When matchmaking - should you reveal the other person's disability?
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2012, 09:22:36 AM »
Rather than a blind date, can you have a group of friends come over for a pizza and movie night?  Or a board games night?  Something very casual, where Carrie and Jim can meet naturally and decide for themselves whether or not they are compatible.

It's so much easier meeting someone when you're amongst friends and on familiar territory.  Blind dates can be so awkward and stressful!

POD to this.  That way, if they decide they really don't like each other, it's no big deal.  If they do end up together, they'll (hopefully) remember that it was LifeOnPluto's party where they met.

LadyL

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Re: When matchmaking - should you reveal the other person's disability?
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2012, 09:55:51 AM »
I like the suggestion of asking Carrie if you can mention it, or introducing them in another context. If I were Jim, I'd want to know in advance, only because people on dates are nervous and I'd find it socially awkward to have to adjust on the fly to someone's disability (not out of any bias but just the 'curveball' nature of the situation). When I tutored students with disabilities I always appreciated a heads up because I could go in prepared to communicate clearly with them instead of spending that awkward minute figuring it out, KWIM?

Deetee

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Re: When matchmaking - should you reveal the other person's disability?
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2012, 10:15:46 AM »
As they have said they would be happy to be introduced to someone new, you can just introduce them. (I agree with others that inviting people to a party and see if they hit it off is the best deal, but I know that isn't as easy as it sounds. I did that once, but as both were often out of town, it was over 6 months before they both ended up at the same party and by then any pretence of it not being a set-up was lost-on the other hand, it's 10 years later and they are now married with a kid)

Let Jim know beforehand. Just say she's a bit hard of hearing and he will need to face her and talk clearly. I think that would be a reasonable thing to let someone know even if they weren't in a semi-date situation.

Cami

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Re: When matchmaking - should you reveal the other person's disability?
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2012, 11:49:35 AM »
Well, if I'm meeting someone for the first time and they have an hearing impairment, I'd like to know about it so that I can make sure to face them while speaking and to be extra careful about speaking clearly.   So I'd certainly want to know if my friend was setting me up on a date too because I'd hate to embark on it and then make the person uncomfortable and then I'd be uncomfortable -- how would that be a good start?

I will also state that I would also tell someone about an issue like that to see if they can handle it before exposing someone to a problem.

It's been my sad experience that many people have dealbreakers that reveal an absence of character that was heretofore hidden. I'd hate to have this woman go through what a coworker of mine did on her blind date when the guy took one look at her and said, "Sorry, I don't date women with A-cups. Bye."  (Not that I think a smaller chest is a disability, mind you.)

EmmaJ.

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Re: When matchmaking - should you reveal the other person's disability?
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2012, 11:57:56 AM »
I'd hate to have this woman go through what a coworker of mine did on her blind date when the guy took one look at her and said, "Sorry, I don't date women with A-cups. Bye."  (Not that I think a smaller chest is a disability, mind you.)

Oh my word!  :o

TurtleDove

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Re: When matchmaking - should you reveal the other person's disability?
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2012, 12:13:08 PM »
It's been my sad experience that many people have dealbreakers that reveal an absence of character that was heretofore hidden.

I just wanted to point out that dealbreakers, yes even a preference for chest size, do not reveal an absence of character.  They reveal preferences for a life partner.

For the OP, I agree with the posters who say make this a casual meet and greet among several friends rather than a deliberate set up, and ask Carrie how she wants to handle the situation.