How will vegetarianism or veganism affect your social life?
Don’t worry! Going vegan, and especially vegetarian, will not make a huge difference in your social life. Your social life will change a bit, though. Here’s how…
Restaurants and Take-out:
When you eat out, you will have to search through menus for vegetarian or vegan options. There will be a few good things that you can eat. But no matter where you are, you will be able to eat something, like rice or french fries.
But, even if there’s nothing on the menu for you, you can ask the chef to make something special. For example, when my friends order pizza, I ask for a pizza without cheese. When I go to a larger restaurant with no vegan options, I ask for pasta with olive oil and veggies.
But don’t worry, there is almost always something good on the menu, especially if you are vegetarian.
If you are worried, then before you go to a restaurant, pack yourself a dinner or snack.
Sleepovers and Parties:
When you go visit your friends’ houses, your friends will need to make a vegetarian or vegan meal for you. However, this is not too hard. Show your host this article about making plant-based versions of familiar dishes, this article for a list of a list of foods that vegetarians and vegans eat, and this article for cooking guides.
Those two ways above are the only ways your social life will physically change. However, there are some other changes that you want to be prepared for…
Other people might judge you at first.
This will happen more if you are vegan, rather than vegetarian. Vegans are stereotyped as pale, sickly, angry, preachy outcasts. When people who don’t know you well hear that you are vegan, they may assume that you fit the vegan stereotype. To deal with this problem, only tell someone that you are vegan after they know you.
Everyone will ask you questions.
Some of these questions are annoying. For example, I hear “don’t plants have feelings too?” all the time. If you want, respond to these comments with a joke. When I hear that question, sometimes I say something like “I’m actually vegan because I hate plants, not because I care about animals.”
People will also ask you nice questions, but you will hear the same questions over and over again. For example, I hear “where do you get your protein?” all the time. Sometimes I get tired of answering the same questions over and over again, but I always try to answer these questions nicely and with detail.
Here’s a list of common questions and responses people have about vegetarianism and veganism. Go over this list so that you know how to respond to questions when they come up.
You might not know any other vegetarians or vegans.
To fix this problem, find vegetarian friends. Starting a club is a great way to meet other vegetarians and vegans. But of course, still befriend non-vegetarians!
Overall, you will not suffer socially, unless you become the vegan stereotype. The vegan stereotype is a friendless, preachy, unhealthy person who hates everyone because they eat meat. Prove this stereotype wrong by staying the same person you were before you went vegan, just more aware and compassionate about animal suffering and/or environmental issues.
Lastly, your social life can also be a way of activism. Your friends will learn about vegetarianism and veganism from you, and some of them will be interested in learning more. So far, four of of my close friends have gone 95 percent vegan, and a couple of more vegetarian. I never pushed them– they decided to change their diets on their own.
Never preach. People are turned off by preaching. Have interests aside from vegetarianism, so that others see that vegetarians and vegans are normal, interesting people.