I was wondering how you all deal with people in your life that love to make fun of you, ask you irritating questions (on purpose), and those that just want to argue about the many reasons for going vegan?
For example, I went to a family birthday dinner with my boyfriend and one of his relatives gave me a hard time about it. Everyone else just gave me weird looks even though I have been on this path now for 3 months. I have no intention of ever going back to my old habits. Anyways, so he would ask me the "basic vegan questions" that everyone is oh so fond of but as I respond, he looks around at everyone and is smiling... Okay, that pissed me off so bad because he wasn't even giving what I was saying respect. When he asked me what made me want to stop eating meat I told him I do not eat animal products and it is because I have heard it working for people with depression and bipolar mania. Right then he shut up. Which was great, because I could enjoy my huge salad in peace. Mind you, I in no way tried to force my opinions on him and tried to like convert him or something.
I thought it was so funny how he was attacking me up until I said brought up my life long struggle with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder. A clean vegan diet has helped better than any medication I have ever been prescribed.
Its almost like, if I were to tell him I became vegan because of animal rights (which is another one of my reasons) he was so ready to pounce and attack anything I had to say. This especially sucks because that seriously pushes me away from him.
What stories do you all have that kind of go along with this? I would like some helpful advice so I can better handle attacks from people in the future.
Also.. I find it so funny how everyone always says that vegans are pushy jerks.. Yeah well, ya might want to look in the mirror because right now, its the non-vegans who are bullying and being pushy jerks.
In the book "The Pleasure Trap", there's a chapter devoted to the question of how to deal with friends and family when embarking on a healthy lifestyle. It's the best answer to this question I've ever come across, and the whole book is really good. Pick up the book, and that dilemma will cease to exist for you.
Thank you! I always love getting book suggestions. I will add it to my book list! :)
Thank you Ralph!
The redneck comments you get are easy to deal with. Its the jealous hatred you get from other vegans that is the hardest to overcome as its least expected.
Some of my boyfriend's family are quite "redneck." I was born in the north where I spent most of my life. Moving to the south was a HUGE culture shock.. especially when it comes to food and religion. I stand out quite a bit and I get a lot of crap for doing things my way. Regardless, my guy loves me for who I am which is all that matters really. I suppose I am lucky I don't have to deal with other vegans trying to bring me down.
Also, thank you Durianrider! Both you and Freelee are two amazing people. I love and support what you do for others, I just wish there were more people like you in this world. You both were the catalyst for me wanting to dive into this new life. Thank you! :)
Wow.. Stories like that make my blood boil. Family members should want to be supportive (especially if it is something healthful!) and at least attempt to try and understand their loved one's logic. I agree with you about how it reflects on them and to them that is interpreted as a threat. Individuals who have a wall built up are frightened by change. They become combative when they see others changing. It is a tough idea personally for me to accept and understand the logic of someone who feels that way. All in all, I know it isn't really me that upsets him (I guess, lol) but it is the idea of something so "extreme" as following a vegan path that ruffles his feathers.
Anyhow, that said; thank you for the advice! I appreciate it and I don't feel as alone.
Building self confidence takes time but its worth it.
The problem isn't what people are saying to you...its that you are just getting started out, so you don't know how to discuss these things with people yet. You never have to tell people about your health/medical history if you don't want to, its none of their business.
For the time being, here are a few suggestions:
-Keep it short and vague. "I feel great eating mostly raw fruits and vegetables. Eat whatever you like, but fruits and vegetables are what I like the most."
-Talk about specific results. "I like to wake up every morning feeling energized and I'm training for a marathon." Most people eat
-Avoid arguments: "Eat whatever makes you happy, I love my vegan diet and wouldn't change it for anything." Trying to beat people over the head with animal welfare or health arguments don't work. People are not rational creatures. The only thing that works is showing people RESULTS that matter to them.
I used to struggle with the issues you are describing, now its a complete non-issue. I'm "that fruit eating guy who runs ultra marathons". There is nothing anyone can say or do to make me uncomfortable.
Them: "You need to eat meat to be healthy! Vegan diet will make you sick!"
Me: "I rode my bike 172 miles over the course of the last 2 days, I ran 100 miles non stop 6 weeks ago, and I'm training for an Ironman in 8 weeks. Would you like to come train with me after work today?"
Them: "Uhhhh.....let me think about that....ok..uhhhh.that's amazing...."
Hey Luna :D My mum and I have dealt with this a lot! One of our bosses once was teasing us about the live crabs she brought into the work place and put in the fridge....about how yummy they were going to be. They planned on boiling them alive for dinner when they got home :'( They called us later on to laugh and guffaw about how one of the crabs escaped and was cruising around the fridge... made me cry...I wonder if they were teasing or honestly thought it was funny. Earlier Mum and I had offered to buy the crabs (we were going to put them back in the ocean) but they wouldn't agree to it.
I think your morals and diet force others to have a look at themselves. Most don't want to do that. They don't want to have to change. They want reinforcement that their crappy diets and lives are good. They will staunchly defend their diet because it is what they know, love and are comfortable with. Most won't change unless a heart attack or cancer forces them to and some can't even change then! O_o
We get taunted, teased, attacked and manipulated (family members assuring you a dish is vegan when in fact it is not) constantly. Over the years we have learned to keep to ourselves and take our own cruelty-free food when we do go somewhere. It's funny cos 99 out of 100 times, it is not us who brings up the issue! Deep down, people know it's wrong to eat the flesh of and enslave our sentient friends...they just don't care enough to change :'(
there are millions ways you can answer them. You can make them laugh, you can make them look stupid, help them with their health, you can look really smart or you can choose not to answer at all. This is the beauty of being asked the same question over and over and over ... It is up to YOU.