Author Bio: Rebecca Sykes is a recent college graduate who obtained a bachelor degree in communications. She is a writer, who hopes to influence people to change what is on their lifestyle to a vegan one. She is a passionate vegan who educates others on this wonderful lifestyle, whether that be posting articles written by PETA or Mercy For Animals on Facebook or just having a discussion with others on how important a vegan lifestyle is. You can follow her on her vegan Instagram blog @Got_Vegan.
All my life I have always fit in with others. I’ve always had a big group of friends; I constantly hung out with people, and had plans every weekend. Throughout my time in school from elementary to college I felt as if I belong.
That was until I became vegan.
When I first became vegan the only vegans I knew were my mom and my boyfriend. I was lucky to even have my mom and my boyfriend on my side because I am sure there are people out in this world who are vegetarian or vegan who do not know others who live the same lifestyle.
Feeling as if you are an outsider is completely understandable. However regretting being a vegan or telling others you are vegan should not be the case. I can admit I regret telling others that I am vegan because you can feel the sense of judgment coming from them. I have gotten questions like “what do you eat,” “do you miss meat,” “would you throw up when you are around meat,” and “how could you do that.” Now these weren’t hurtful, the hurtful comments included “I could never do that, I don’t understand how you could,” “God gave us animals” “leather bags are already made might as well just buy it.”
Not to mention I have gotten many strange looks from people shocked that I went vegan for animals. Most people assume I stopped consuming animal products for my health but I always correct people because I am proud for who I am and you should too!
Coping with not fitting in as a vegan can be hard but there are many alternatives to feel as if you fit in with others including non-vegans.
1.) Take your non-vegan friends to your favorite vegan restaurant. This can show them why you love being vegan and give them a taste of your favorite vegan food. There are many vegan restaurants that have food so similar to animal product food. For example, many vegan joints have burgers that are similar to a Big Mac from McDonalds. Have your friends try this and show them you don’t need animal products to enjoy food.
2.) Take your non-vegan friends to a farm sanctuary. Not only is this a fun outing but a great way to show your friends why you are vegan. Who doesn’t love animals? Your friend’s eyes might open and this will give them a chance to critically think about their actions. Also your friends can have the opportunity to speak to the people who saved the animals and speaking to strangers about animal welfare and rights gives them the chance to really engage in conversation about animal welfare.
3.) Cook your friends a vegan meal and show them how easy it is to make simple vegan meals. Prove to your friends that going vegan doesn’t have to burn a hole in your pocket. I always hear this myth from many people that being vegan is expensive. It can be if you buy too much products you don’t need. Planning your meals for the week and only buying what is necessary can help you save money. Personally I don’t buy a lot of sweets and snacks because that can be very expensive. Show your friends what you buy in a week and let them know that you are willing to help them buy vegan food.
Now if your friends are not willing to try any of these things and you still feel as if you don’t fit in as a vegan, do not fret, there are many options to feel as if you belong. And what better way to feel as if you belong than finding vegan friends!
This might sound as if I am telling you to find new friends. No! You can still be friends with people who don’t have the same beliefs as you. Though this can be hard, you can find yourself vegan friends to feel as if you belong.
Unfortunately this is easier said than done. But there are ways and you must not forget there are vegans near you you just have to look!
1.) Use social media to find vegans nearby! Whether that means making an Instagram that is solely used to post your vegan findings or whatever people do search for other vegans. My Instagram bio states I am vegan and I have a lot of people requesting to be friends with me that are vegan. Same goes with me, if I see people who say they are vegan I enjoy following them. I feel a sense of fitting in when I see others who share the same lifestyle.
2.) Looking for that special vegetarian/vegan someone? There are online dating websites that target vegetarian/vegans. This is an excellent was to find someone you want to date that has the same values at you including Greensingles.com, Vegandating.org, and veggieconnection.com. These are the perfect sites to find someone that you could potentially see yourself with for the rest of your lives.
3.) Not a social media or online person? Look no further than vegan festivals! There are many vegan festivals that happen throughout the world. This can be the perfect way to meet others that are veg and you can feel as if you belong. I know when I start to feel down about myself, not knowing a lot of vegans, I go to vegan festivals and I feel happy, as if I belong. There are so many wonderful people that attend vegan festivals and the perfect opportunity to make friends because you know most of the people attending live in the area.
Now if nothing I have written has helped at all with you feeling as if you fit it, do not feel down. You are contributing to the world and we need more people like you more than ever before. The animals, the planet and your health are thanking you for your lifestyle you have chosen.
I have felt down plenty of times before, I felt as if I didn’t fit in especially the people I have known my whole life.
Then I started meeting vegans on Instagram and at vegan events, I felt reassured that I do fit in and that there are many people who feel the same way. So do not give up and keep vegging!