Mingling and Retinitis Pigmentosa are not the easiest combination. There are many visual cues that people catch in this type of social setting that I simply miss. Its so much easier with a cane or guide dog as others have an easy visual cue that I am blind. I recall one dinner several years ago that we were attending. For some reason I didn't have my guide dog with me, cane was in my purse (its pretty unhelpful there) and a gentleman came up to me and started visiting and apparently he was holding his hand out to shake mine. Steve saw the situation unfolding and helped us out of this awkward moment that I was unaware that it was an awkward moment. Mingling is a part of life with church, work, social situations.
Some of my tips are: *Smile and be friendly and generally people will come talk to me rather than me finding someone, *Engage in the conversation - get to know them, *If it is an event where I know others, I may say to someone I am visiting with -- have you seen so and so, can you help me find so and so. This becomes a natural break in moving on to mingling. *Reach out my hand first to shake hands. Let the other person find my hand. *Brief introduction of Cricket so we can move on with the conversation and other topics. However, she is often an intriguing topic for others that haven't had an experience with a guide dog and I am happy to share her amazingness. Recently at a dinner with a table of people that had never met a guide dog before, the question came up - now just what does your guide dog do for you. That was a conversation for a while on Cricket's amazingness :).
Preference is to sit down with a group of friends at a table and enjoy an evening, but I know mingling is part of so many events and although its a little challenging, I wouldn't miss. We have fun.