Hi all, this is my first real discussion post, and I have a question for the vegfriend community.

Becoming a vegetarian hasn't been too hard in terms of transition to a non-meat dietary lifestyle, however one of the hardest parts about being a vegetarian is how meat eaters react to your decision and what is even harder for myself is the noticing the lack of empathy some meat eaters can have when it comes to animal welfare. For example, at my workplace (I work in a restaurant, which I cannot stand) the cook and I were having a discussion and my manager walked up and starting blabbing to everyone I was a vegetarian. It is not that I keep it a secret, if someone asks me I am more than happy to have a friendly discussion about my diet. I don't like telling everyone I meet just because not everyone is open minded and receptive, and I believe work is not really the place to get into a heated discussion about my lifestyle. The cook started talking about how vegetarians eat chicken and fish, so I politely corrected him on the terminology and definition and told him that chickens and fish are some of the most abused and mistreated animals on the planet. I offered to send him some videos on the subject and he then told me, and I quote, "I have already seen a lot of that stuff, it doesn't phase me". I feel my relationship with this person is now damaged, as seeing footage of mistreated animals changed me as a person. 

Does anyone else know what I am talking about? Are some relationships damaged between yourself and new/old friends because of some their attitudes towards animal welfare, or do you think I am just being melodramatic? How do others deal with this lack of empathy?

I would really love to hear peoples thoughts and opinions on the matter, but please try to remain respectful :)

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I have definitely experienced these types of things, and it is heartbreaking. I, like you, have no idea how people can watch videos of how animals are treated and then just brush it off. Like you said, it changed me. 

Many times, meat eaters react poorly to vegetarians because we are the foil that shows them their weaknesses. No one likes to be reminded that what they do is wrong. I have lost a few friends over my choices because they felt that I was "judging them." To that, I say that of course I judge people who refuse to end animal cruelty for the sake of having a meat snack. However, I would never have let that ruin those friendships. They made that choice because they didn't like the guilt that I made them feel just by making vegetarian choices in their presence.

No, you aren't melodramatic at all, i had similar experiences when i dedided to change my diet, some people really take it badly, i recall how other people make fun of me even!!! ,but you know with time people around you get used to it and gets easier, the important is that you feel happy and comfortable with your new diet and convictions!!!  i definately understand you, but no matter what the most important is to be proud of it, personally to me has been the best decision ever!!!  Be sure that you make the right choice as well!!! 

my friends and family pretty much support me. I don't judge them being meat eaters and they don't judge me. But I do feed my family meat, mine is meatless. Im not going to stop cooking for them cuz they still choose to eat meat. everyone has their own opinion and they will share but just say thanks for your opinion and be done with it.

Just fuck those people and find new good one!

Yes, becoming a vegetarian or vegan is a fundamental change of lifestyle, so you will inevitably lose friends. But you will gain others.

I became vegan mainly because I wanted to improve my health. However, along the way, I have gradually developed empathy for animals.

Maybe this is because, as my bodily state has cleared and energized, my mind is more open to reality as it is. When I was a meat-eater, I was too dull-minded to really know what I was doing. I lacked the energy to care.

When I speak to meat-eaters, I try not to judge them, as I remember back to when I was more ignorant. And I have a long way to go. Cheers.


Dear Christie,

it is really sad how society makes you a pariah just because you've made a decision. I've been vegetarian for 22 years now and to be honest, i think it won't ever change. You just have to live with that. I've already given it up and just don't give a shit anymore.

Always be yourself. Nevermind what they say.

I think the apathy towards animals is affected by the way we are brought up. No disrespect to anyone! But as a kid if you see dead animals being cooked and eaten by everyone, some part of our conscience thinks that its ok to kill and eat. Boy, my parents would kick my butt if I even touch meat!

But that doesn't necessarily mean that those guys are bad. Some of my best friends (and good people) are meat eaters and apathetic towards animal suffering. And I think its because they don't know any better or choose to ignore it. Just accept them for what they are and play your part by having violence free meals!  


Here's some good news! You're not alone.

The amount of vegetarians & vegans is growing worldwide and the ability to interact globally should help you feel more connected to others that feel about animals the same way you do.

It is very unfortunate to lose a friend or see a relationship lessen. But: you're a shining light to others that might play with the idea of becoming vegetarian and attract a different kind of energy and people now. Have hope and keep your head up. In 1971, 1 percent of U.S. citizens described themselves as vegetarians. A 2013 Public Policy Polling survey found 13% of Americans identify as vegetarian (6%) or vegan (7%). US vegetarian food sales doubled in the last 5 years!

It's also important not to focus on yourself too much right now. We all have a different timeline, a different capability and awareness. Some things take time. I mean, you haven't been a vegetarian all your life. It took research and your own compassion to make that transition. Just take a deep breath and be the caring person you're towards your own self. Don't try to defend yourself or try to squeeze empathy out of others. It won't work. 

Becoming vegetarian or vegan is a lifestyle choice. Imagine, you would have decided to become a surfer or live in a tiny house (80-120sqft). How would some of your friends and acquaintances react to that? Same way, probably: skepticism, doubt and some support. But in the end, you'll probably make some new friends!

Don't sweat the small stuff. Look to your inner self and find happiness there. Wishing you all the best!

I feel the exact same way. It was hard for me to make friends before, but now it's crazy hard. Although I do have a few select people that accept me for who I am and what I believe in, I cherish those certain people and focus all my love and energy to them. Other people, I can just ignore.

I went to a going away party , they were serving huge ribs I walked in and everyone was eating them like it was no tomorrow. It was really gruesome to me soo I talked for a few short minuets then said my goodbyes and left. It was just a bad experience for me. That's the first "party" I've been to being a vegetarian. So I understand what your going through


I feel your pain. I live in Nevada which is one of the biggest "cattle for meat" states. Every restaurant, event, social gathering, etc. is geared towards ribs and steak. It's disgusting. Most people try to argue with me all of the time about the benefits of eating meat. It makes me want to vomit when they open their mouths while their talking to me and seeing a dead animal being chewed up like it was a piece of gum to them. But I have also noticed when I try to calmly talk to them about the actual abuse animals endure in factory farming, they are looking at me with a blank stare like saying “I don't give a shit". Just know that we are doing the right thing, regardless of what the uneducated say. And a lot of meat eaters just plainly do not care that the cow they are eating was set on fire while alive, then dragged to the slaughter floor still alive and in excruciating pain, seeing that it will now be beating over the head with a steal bat. And the first swipe did not do the trick. It took 8 more slams to the head before that poor defenseless cow saw the end. They just don't care.   


I don't know. Hopefully the world will become a better place for animals but I doubt it. I guess I’m pretty pessimistic when it comes to the human race.


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