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Lately I had heard from a few people who turned into vegetarians that they couldn't socialize much as in most times, They find themselves alone in a group of meat eaters! They tell me that either they will be compelled to eat meat with the peers or just left to eat alone or sometime the discussion changes to "why did they become vegetarians all of a sudden"? that would naturally make them feel uncomfortable to go out with people or be in a group of gathering where majority are meat eaters. Also sometimes, when you refuse after being compelled to eat meat, others think that u aren't respecting their wish or don't even want to eat it again for their sake.
Does it really necessary to be a meat-eater to socialize with people much? Frankly, Myself being a vegetarian since birth had never faced this kind of problem. When ever I go out with people, even If there is a vegetarian in the group or I am alone, I had seen people eating the food of their choice and letting me eat the food of my choice thus respecting my choice. Sometimes they even choose to not to make me feel uncomfortable and ate vegetarian food for my sake. Given my experience, the experience of Newly became vegetarians sounded really strange to me.
So, Is it really a problem for them or is it just their perception? Did anyone face the similar problem that they are becoming weak in socializing or had a problem socializing or being in a gathering after they have become vegetarians?
I think its just their perception, as new a vegetarian I would imagine you're automatically going to get defensive about your diet especially when questioned or at least I did sometimes still do depending on the angle of the person. I used to feel like I couldn't be around meat and couldn't be around people that ate meat.
But at the end of the day the people you choose to dine with are going to be friends, family and colleagues. And it shouldn't change because of the choices they make in their diet and you in yours. If people act crazy about dietary differences then they have issues and if they aren't a member of family or close friend, then they aren't worth the time. And if they are and get silly the best thing to do is laugh it off.
Isolation is lonely and veggies shouldn't do it to themselves unless of course they like being alone. If I go out with my friends to eat there is always something to eat whether its a vegetable side dish, salad or chips. At least its cheap and people can always eat before they go out to fill themselves up somewhat. These days you can always ring restaurants (depending where you are in the world of course) and inquire if its possible to meet your dietary needs.
It sounds to me, like the people who say they need to eat meat to socialise means, they just want to eat meat cause its easier. Which it is, which why I think most people go back to meat or still eat regardless of their thoughts. Or they weren't really that social to begin with. People need to be aware that you can eat what you want and meat eaters don't equal bad people and if they truly think this then look for veggie local groups. There's no shame in being different and there's no need to feel awkward :D
Also if people are heading to someones house to eat, surely people could tell them beforehand about their diet, and if they umm and arrr at this conquest of creating new food, then you say you will bring your own food stuffs around.
I know you weren't seeking advice lol, but just in case people wanna know what I do when met with socialising. Read above.
similar eating habits bond people. i enjoy being with other vegans and eating freely among them. food is such a big part of our cultures and it brings people together.
sure they do but it shouldn't interfere when socialising with meat eaters.
shouldn't is the key word here young lady.
I have been vegetarian/vegan for almost 2 years and I don't know any vegetarians in real life (except for two but I rarely get to see them)... so I find myself 99% of the time in group settings with my friends or family who are all meat eaters. Occasionally I will find myself in that uncomfortable situation where I am alienated or signaled out... but honestly its gotten to be a quite rare occurrence. I don't make a huge deal of my being vegan for the purpose of not starting an argument and of being respectful to them for their choice... and I notice in return most people are very respectful of mine.
Consumption of any type becomes a "place of agreement" in our social infrastructure.
"Places of agreement" in any culture are not only celebrated they are revered and protected.
The consumption of food is a special "place of agreement". The ritual of group dining is a "place of agreement" defined by heritage, geography, religious paradigms and politics.
When you make the decision to withdraw from the "old place of agreemment" and join a "new place of agreement" please understand that without saying a word you are "calling out" the past's "self deceipt".
I keep noticing a "they are picking on us" motif/trend/patteren occuring here in our discussions when in reality we are telling them "thier way" sucks (and it does).
Patience, tolerance and discipline is what we bring to the table along with some really excellent food.
Today i am attending a barbecue. I have allready prepared my vegan shish kabobs and designed my sides to be as un-"in your faceable" as possible. i really think i will get some compliments. "eye appeal" is always one of my endeavours. The "veg" section at my local supermarket is getting bigger and bigger. Evolution is a process. It takes work. Thank you Francesca_Bee, Stephen, Russell F, Elizabeth Clark for inspiration and support in the realiztion of "new agreements". All of your post gave me vegetarian food for thought lol.
I totally agree with your line 'they are picking on us......' on wards. Good stuff.
I would laugh if someone told me that by me not eating meat, I'm disrespecting THEM. What you refuse to put in your body has nothing to do with other people. Recently my parents finally told me they respect my decision to be vegan, and now are much better at including me in events- because of their respect, I return respect to them. Meat does not bind people, it's just being different that can exclude people. Eating in groups has always been a social activity- so it can of course get tricky when you have a particular menu, compared against everyone else. It is nice you have never personally had a problem with this- but since you have been a vegetarian since birth, I wonder if that has a bit to do with family harmony. I've been a meat eater for most of my life, so for my family it was harder to accept- why am I suddenly refusing to eat what they prepare? It is hard for them to understand. I've no problem socializing, I'd say the people with the problems are those who constantly make the person with the different diet feel alienated, and to have the constant need to defend themselves.
If someone's trying to bully you into eating meat, they're not your friend. Peer pressure doesn't just apply to alcohol consumption or smoking cigarettes.
I became vegan about two years ago, and before that I was vegetarian for about three; I've never had my friends try to convince me to eat meat, and aside from initial curiosity they've never badgered me about why I don't consume animal products. I eat what I eat, and they eat what they eat, and that's that. Your diet shouldn't play a role in how you're treated or who you can socialise with.
I would say the same for me depending on who I'm eating with. I mean usually it's totally fine but there are a few family members they go as far as they can to make me feel out of place. Some of it's joking around but after the first few jokes they just get worse and worse. So now during obligatory family get togethers on the holidays I just don't eat and usually sit in the other room to avoid them. XD But beyond that I haven't really expierenced this much if at all.