So you just turned vegan...that's great but your family/friends aren't vegan...so that sucks, right? Because now the person who cooks in the household has to get 2 different dinners ready. Or, you can do it yourself if you live on your own... Also, lets not forget about the annoying remarks from friends/family since they still can't believe that you actually turned vegan. 'What to do', you might think. You can't go on for the next 40 years of your life explaining yourself about your vegan lifestyle to your friends/family. But you also can't just stop talking to your friends and family just because you went vegan. You can't also cut them out of your life just because you went vegan. So you need to find a way to be yourself in the presence of non-vegans. Is this hard? A little bit. Does it take time? Yes.
1. Be transparent
Many people who just went vegan won't scream from the rooftops that they're vegan. This makes sense, since many people still have a weird idea about going vegan. 'What do you eat then' is arguably the most used reaction from a non-vegan when you tell that person that you're vegan. However, your friends and family aren't just some random 'people'. These are people who have known you for a long time and hopefully know you well. Of course, with some friends/familymembers you have a closer connection than to others, so it's necessary that you should be open about your vegan lifestyle with these type of friends/familymembers. It's simply the best way to go about it. Because you aren't the only one that needs to adjust to a new lifestyle, your surrounding has to do this as well. And when you give them the time to adjust to your new lifestyle, they will have enough time to talk about it with you in a reflective and hopefully curious way. Therefore, communication is key.
2. Don't expect anything
It's basic human psychology to expect things from other people when you've shared something of value with them. Your instincts tell you that they should reciprocate the 'favor'. For example, when you tell someone you're vegan you expect an understanding reaction. You definitely don't expect them lash out on you or worse..*insert experience* (except the dairy industry). However, more often than not our expectations aren't met. And this often happens because our expectations are set to high, or they're just misplaced. So the point is, don't try to look for acceptance in other people for you being vegan. Keep in mind why you went vegan; for yourself, the animals and the world. Some people simply won't understand this because they just don't know much about veganism nor do they want to learn more about veganism. AND THAT'S OKAY. Live and let live.
3. Remind yourself of your 'why'
Why did you go vegan? Really think about this and write it down like a mantra, because you will need it. When you go vegan you will have to remind yourself of your 'why' simply because people will mock/tease you and ask you annoying and rethoric questions. Supermarkets can also be 'fun' sometimes. For example when they aren't providing any vegan options, or when their range of vegan products is so limited, that you need to go to the big supermarket that's a few miles away. And lets not forget about restaurants and other dining places. Though, more and more restaurants incorporate vegan dishes in their menu, it's still neglible in comparison with the choices carnists have. Your non-vegan friends/familymembers will always have it easier with eating out or grocerie shopping, simply because their range of products are considered to be mainstream and therefore they're more accessible. It's during these 'tough' moments as a new vegan that you have to stay strong and remind yourself of why you went vegan.
Do you have any other suggestions that could help a fellow vegan? Leave them in the comments below :)