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One of the first lessons that we go through as vegans is the matter of setting boundaries and guiding our environment on how to treat us. As vegans, we get quite a lot of feedback about what we eat and the lifestyle we chose. Especially at the beginning of our journey, when the subject is all new for us and for our environment.
If there is something people like to do is give advice, not necessarily because they're experts in the subject.
So get ready to get lots of advice about your diet - protein, vitamins, minerals and all sorts of terms that most people have no idea what they mean.
Another thing that people like to do is to joke, especially about someone else. So expect the jokes about being vegan to come. It is likely that you'll hear most of the jokes more than once.
So how do you deal with it? The serious challenge is not with casual people, because we rarely meet them. The real challenge is dealing with your family and close friends.
When I switched to veganism I had one vegan friend, and she was the only vegan I knew (today I'm married to her). The family and close friends didn't understand why I had made this radical change in my life, especially since I ate more meat and animal products than most of those around me, and I received a lot of feedback from them.
Although I'm a person who fights for her faith and doesn't hesitate to express an opinion, I have been patient enough to breathe deeply, at least most of the time, to instruct them with pleasant and assertiveness, how to treat me. What I'm willing to hear them say and what's considered a red line for me. Even the jokes, the fact that I laughed from some of them, allowed me to set limits and say that certain jokes I'm not willing to hear because it doesn't respect.
About the advice I received, for some, I would let them pass on, and some others, I explained pleasantly and in a reasoned way why they were not correct. Every such discourse is an opportunity to do positive publicity, and this explanation is the most productive when it is pleasant and positive.
There is usually a lot of work with our close environment, but it's important to remember that it's a long marathon, because these are relationships that are important to us and we do not want to stain them. Therefore, it is worthwhile to be conducted with infinite restraint and patience.