How Should I Tell My Close Friends and Family I’m Vegan?
There is no doubt that becoming a vegan will involve some big changes in the diet we were used to eat on a
daily basis. But moreover, dealing with our social environment is not simple at all. We choose to adopt values and standards that are different from what we had, and we expect that the environment will just accept it.
So how do you do it?
Through explanation and a lot of patience and embrace.
The fact that you see something, doesn't mean that the person next to you can see the same thing, no matter how so clear it seems to you. Before I tell you a little story I have to mention that there are lots of ways to share the vegan message with others. There is no one ideal way, but in this specific situation I chose this way.
I searched for a lecture that is just under an hour. I felt like it's not too long but not too short so they can get a lot of value from it. I sat with my family in the living room to watch it. Before I pressed "Play", I explained to them that it is important for me that they'll watch it, because I choose to be a vegan from now on, and this lecture explains why. I added that I really don't expect them to become vegans as well, but all I want is for them to try to understand me and why I chose this path, which was new to me.
At the end of the lecture my sister chose to become a vegan as well, and together we started to learn the subject.
My mother really understood me, and considered becoming a vegan. But she realized that it required a lot of changes and she passed. Some will say it's disappointing, but I'm grateful that at least she respects my decision and doesn't bother me or preach to me to do otherwise and go back to eating animal products.
My father still makes jokes about the subject, not from a disparaging place, but rather because he does not see what I see. Even though it all seems very clear to me. He simply thinks it's okay to joke about it. As long as they respect me, I embrace them.
At first I had to set limits. To tell them what I was willing to laugh at and what not. When some of the jokes were not pleasant to me and I felt like I'm not ok with them saying stuff like that, I would note it in a pleasant way, and so slowly and stable both sides learn to deal with the new path.
As for my friends, I acted more or less in the same way. The reason I did this is because before going vegan, my diet was 95% animal products. I would eat lots of meat, of all kinds. In my youth, every creature that was possible to eat I would want to taste. Therefore, because the change I chose to make was very extreme to the other side, I felt that I needed to explain to my relatives why.
I didn't just send them a link to watch, because it was important to me that they actually watch it and won't procrastinate it and don't watch it eventually. I made it clear to everyone that the reason it is so important for me that they'll watch the videos, is not because I want to preach and not because I expect them to make any change in their diet, but only because I want them to understand and respect me. So I sat down with them, pleasantly. I grabbed some beers and snacks to make it more fun. Again, I chose the shortest and most concise lecture I could find, so as not to make them exhausted.
At the end of the lecture I thanked them for watching it with me and asked if they can understand me now and respect my decision. Everyone answered yes, and since then it's much more simple for me.
I understand that the way I see things (health, the way we treat animals, the environment, etc.) now is a lot different than the view of those things I had in the past. And because I know that, I understand that my surrounding, my close environment, probably don't see or will not see what I see today.
I believe that the future is vegan, but I understand that this is a process that will take time.