The biggest thing I lost due to my vegan lifestyle was a friendship I thought was harder than a diamond.
Our relationship was falling apart for many years prior but I was willing to look past her selfishness, derogatory comments and slight homophobia because I could tell her anything. Apparently, she didn’t think the same.
She had no problem telling me about the spiders she killed (read more here), the steaks she ate and she absolutely had no problem showing me all the leather shoes she was buying. As I’ve learned, just because someone knows all your secrets doesn’t mean they will support your growth and won’t act immorally in front of you.
This friendship eventually ended and I have learnt from it and I moved on. But she wasn’t the only person who decided I wasn’t worthy of her friendship anymore because I was vegan.
The other two people could only be described with the use of a quote from my favourite book, The Great Gatsby: “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.”
Needless to say, I won’t be wasting my time talking about how rotten they were and how needlessly I was manipulated and hurt by them. As with the first friendship, I have learnt my lesson and grew stronger and better.
All these people saw me only as a vegan, not as a person. I would understand if the ending of these relationships were because of other differences but it was veganism, not anything else I might have done, that was the main cause of the fall.
Many vegans experience this. They start living this beautiful lifestyle and realize how much lighter they are feeling in their heart now that they are better and more ethical.
Naturally, they expect others to support them and help them when help is needed. But the world is not that good, is it?
You see, when you show other people that you can survive and thrive eating plant-based and that it is absolutely wrong to exploit other animals, they will defend themselves. They will defend their ignorance and fear of learning the truth.
So how do you actually deal with the fact that your friends don’t like your new vegan lifestyle?
- You check the pulse and see if this friendship is even worth saving.
- You set boundaries.
- You have an honest and open conversation about why being vegan means a lot to you and why you hope they will support you.
Sometimes these three steps will work and sometimes they won’t. Sometimes friendships end and it’s better that way.
You cannot make people more supportive than they are willing to be. No amount of sadness will change the fact that some people just aren’t real friends, no matter how hard you try to make this relationship work.
Just remember that there are millions of other people out there who are living a vegan lifestyle and who would be more than happy to know you. No, you won’t like every vegan you meet but the more of them you talk to, the more chances there are of you creating a new beautiful friendship.
But then again, maybe you will make it work with people who used to hate your vegan lifestyle. Perhaps all that is needed is a good heart to heart conversation – it’s worth trying.
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And let me know in the comment section, are your friends supportive? Have you ever been abandoned by your friends when they found out you are vegan?