In this article we're going to discuss how going vegan can influence your relationship with your friends and family. We briefly talked about this subject in part 2, but in this article we'll go more in-depth. So without further ado, lets get started!
1. Dealing with reactions (negative/positive)
So you made the decision for yourself to go vegan. Now you still have to make the decision to tell your friends, family and maybe your partner as well. At first you might be curious about they might think of your decision to go vegan, but this could turn into some sort of anxiety.. It's very normal to be a bit anxious when you need to tell your loved ones that you made the decision to go vegan. There are still many myths and stereotypes that are not debunked so it's easy for the masses to accept what they read on the internet or see on television. Getting negative feedback about something that you're passionate about is never fun. However, it's what comes with the territory. Accept the negative reactions, don't try to fight against it. Realize that you were once in their shoes, but that *something* happened in your life that caused you to make the switch. Don't let negative reactions get under your skin. Keep in mind, you're not the first vegan who's received negative reactions when they told their loved ones that they went vegan. It's common, and it will be common for some time more.
On the other hand, when you receive positive reactions on your 'coming out as an vegan', you should definitely appreciate it. Also use this opportunity, to tell more about veganism in general. Be their wikipedia about veganism. This will increase their acceptance and it will also help building bridges during the transition.
2. You don't have to avoid eating out with friends
'Have to' are the crucial words that you should pay attention to. Veganism is not a lifestyle of restrictions, but one of compassionate decisions. You can still go to lunch with you friends or with someone else. You don't have to cancel on them. However, your range of options will most likely be severely limited. And then ofcourse, restaurants and cafe's are know to 'sprinkle' on everything cheese.
The important thing about avoiding awkward situations with your friends who ask you out to have lunch with them is to be upfront about it. Tell what you can eat and what you can't eat. If you do it right, you only have to do it one time in your life. They will probably ask a lot of questions that may feel annoying to you, but they are probably asking it from the right intent. So answer them in most thorough way possible so that they will understand your lifestyle. Communication is key!
3. You might lose friends, but you will definitely gain a new family!
People should accept you for who you are, regardless of being a vegan or not. If you have people in your life who start to dislike you for your lifestyle change, then these are the people who need to get out of your life. It's the blunt truth. You can't put yourself in an environment with people who think you're weird or below them. To surround yourself with positive people, who embrace your new lifestyle change, we recommend to join some facebook vegan groups. Most of these groups are very positive and welcoming to new vegans. This is an opportunity to learn more about the lifestyle as well as creating new friendships. You're not on your own. You have a whole community on who you can rely one!