July 28th 2015
Sometimes a thought takes hold of me, and continues to stay at the back of my mind until I have finished thinking about it.
Recently I have explained the principle of networking. Every network consists of a warm subnet which is family, close friends, and close acquaintances/colleagues. Then there is the lukewarm subnet which is made up of friends of friends, a neighbor with whom you occasionally chat, and then there is the cold subnet, which consists of distant contacts, or contacts that you haven not met yet, but are searching for, such as the human resource worker in the company.
Once I had a question in mind about what sort of a network I actually have. And, is this network one of hearing, or non-hearing people? At the moment, it is fair to say that my network is very mixed. Once, my network consisted of mostly normally hearing people. These days, there are many hearing impaired people within my network. I met some through my volunteer activities. That most of my friends are hearing probably has to do with the fact that I am late-deafened, and have only really noticed my hearing loss in the last 10 years or so. Before then, I had only moved within hearing circles, because hearing loss was no issue to me. It was only when I began to deal with hearing impaired people as part of my job description that hearing loss was given a “face” for me, privately.
A mixed network has its advantages. I can trade experiences and advice with my hearing impaired contacts and do not have to explain my hearing needs. I need to remind my hearing contacts about my needs, but once they know about it, they attempt to make sure that my hearing impairment does not affect my interactions with them. When I think about it, its actually an ideal combination for me, and I feel comfortable with it.
This is why I am a member of a women’s debate group where all members are hearing impaired. Even though the discussions usually don’t relate to hearing loss, our way of communicating is comfortable for us. I also love to go out with my hearing husband and friends to watch a soccer game in a pub. Not too often and not too long, but fun it is still.
The phrase, “show me your network, and I’ll show you who you are” has in my opinion a kernel of truth to it. Just as you can define yourself by your work, so you can show your interests and predilections through your network. In today’s digital world, one can expand one’s network through the use of various social media groups. For example, I have some friends on Facebook that I have never met, but with whom I get along very well. Even so, I am very careful about who I add to my network, and I prefer meeting someone in person.
I treasure it very much that I recently could ad a hearing impaired acquaintance to my circle of friends. I don’t have very many real friends, but the friends I do have, I value highly.