The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

Tips on Trying to Talk to Others About Veganism

Posted on August 08, 2016 by The VRG Blog Editor


By Heather Francis, VRG Intern

1. Don’t introduce yourself as a vegan.
Every conversation you partake is not necessarily an opportunity to press down on veganism — “My name is Jo, and I’m a vegan.” The vegan conversation is bound to be a topic of conversation at any party, barbecue, picnic, restaurant, or any place food is involved. Eventually, you will ask the person at the grill if they have a veggie burger or someone will notice your plate is filled with salad and fruit instead of chicken wings. Then you will get the question, “Do you eat meat?” and the conversation will begin. This will give you an advantage because they won’t be turned off. Instead their mind will be intrigued. So l recommend you don’t introduce yourself as a vegan. Eventually people will figure it out. Eventually it will come up, and the conversation won’t be forced. Even if it’s your first time talking with someone, you shouldn’t feel the need to broadcast or unveil your veganism.

2. Ask questions.
When someone asks you why you’re a vegan, you can ask them about their diet. You will be able to make more of an impact by understanding their choice of diet, rather than constantly talking about your own beliefs. Remember everyone is different. Some believe hunting is a sport. Some grew up eating kosher. Some live with a family where milk is served with each meal. The way someone chooses to eat emphasizes certain aspects and importance of them. It’s important to ask and listen, rather than spend the entire conversation talking about why veganism is necessary or it’s the only way to eat. Personally, I have noticed the most change when I ask multiple questions.

3. Be Honest.

  • Talk about how your family/friends reacted
  • Explain how easy or hard your transition was
  • Explain what foods you can and don’t eat
  • Show them different options or ways they can eat vegan
  • Say “I don’t know,” if you can’t answer any questions
  • Refer them to documentaries, groups, and/or articles on online

  • 4. Remember how you thought before veganism.
    Unless you grew up without eating animals and/or dairy products and eggs, there was a time where you felt you couldn’t live without meat. So remember before encountering a person in a conversation that they are in that same place. Frustration may happen especially when talking to those who have Sunday dinners with their families which consist only of chicken Parmesan or baby back ribs. For some people they could be more willing to change their diet, but not everyone will. Just try to recall moments where you felt you couldn’t go without meat, fish, milk, cheese, eggs, etc.

    5. Follow Up.
    Conversations shouldn’t end after an hour at a coffee house, especially with such an important issue as animal rights. The biggest impact made is with an ongoing conversation. If you meet someone at a party who seems interested in veganism, get their cell phone number or email so you will be able to send them links to websites or articles they might be interested in. Try getting together with someone again and take them to a vegan restaurant. You don’t even need to keep talking about animal rights, just let them know that if they were ever interested or wanted more information they could rely on you.

    6. Don’t talk.
    I find this tip very useful with family members and close friends. By not talking, it creates a huge and long lasting impact. I know with a lot of my friends and a few family members who have decided to become vegetarian/vegan, it wasn’t because I told them to or gave them tips on how to. Sure, I influenced them because they were around my veganism, but they decided for themselves to become vegetarian or vegan. Of course, I’m not saying don’t talk about issues that are important that you want to share with them, but I mean stand back on trying to directly influence them. By just continuing your day to day life and setting an example without preaching or trying to convert, it will make an indirect, but also deep impact in helping your friends and family to eat less meat. They’ll be eating a burger, while you’re eating a veggie burger. Making comments or faces might only make them want to eat another burger rather than think about trying a bite of your veggie burger. Also, while discussing veganism constantly, it could help someone decide to convert, but they may feel like it wasn’t their own decision. The vegan movement is growing and it’s important to make an impact that will stick.

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