• Curious about veganism or vegetarianism? Why not ask us a question? (You don't have to sign up, or be vegan or vegetarian!)

Question Conversation problems

G

GRH

Guest
Hello,
Bear with me on this its a long winded question.

I am asking about how does one tackle conversational road blocks with someone when discussing ones diet. Im neither vegitarian or vegan but have been doing alot of research and i wouldnt mind giving either lifestyle a go. However some close to me has decided they do no understand my preference for vegitarian food (sometimes vegan i do not use dairy at all). This is kinda like a slow change, as thats better for me personaly that stop and starting randomly one day. i have tried to tell them i find the food tastey, ethical benefits, health benefits, how i feel. Its strange they now drink soya milk occasionaly yet still seem to tell me to eat more meat and that i shouldnt be buying "things for those people"(yes those people means anyone vegitarian and vegan, its coz ive started buying from a nearby vegitarian shop for supplies).

So my question is has anyone had a similar exsperience and how can i work a conversation like this in the future without annoying them or getting frustrated myself.

its like getting backlash for even considering the idea and i do not want to give up.
 

Indian Summer

Cult Leader
Administrator
Hi there GRH!

I think the best way to deal with the issue would be to try and figure out where this person is coming from, to try and understand why they have this attitude. Then you can adapt your arguments so they address their concerns.

Some people seem to lack the preconditions for understanding the vegan / vegetarian point of view. Maybe their brains have underdeveloped empathy components? Or maybe they're just old and set in their ways.

One thing to look out for is this thing called cognitive dissonance. A lot of people feel threatened and defensive even by being in the same room as a vegan. It's probably because it makes them think about what they're eating. On a subconscious level they realize that eating meat is ethically indefensible in most cases, but they also realize that following that realization to its logical consequence means they will have to make a lot of changes to their lives, and they might be afraid they have to give up their favourite treats and so forth. Also, they realize this means admitting they have acted wrong in the past. So, again subconsciously, they invent excuses and reasons why veganism is wrong, or they attack the character of the person making the vegan argument. Cognitive dissonance can take many forms.
 

Katrina

Deity
Indian Summer pretty much hit the nail on the head. People can get very defensive when it comes to the subject of vegetarianism.

It's hard to give advice without really knowing how these conversations come up exactly. But there's a difference between asking about your diet and actually telling you what to eat. If they keep telling you to eat meat, I would respond by saying that you don't mind answering their questions but that you don't appreciate them telling you what to eat. If these people aren't getting it, no matter how much you explain, you can fall back on the response of "it's important to me" or "this is what I've chosen to do."

Some people are genuinely curious and want to understand, while others just want to be argumentative. Over time you'll start to see who falls into which camp and respond accordingly.
 
Top