Big Issues

Why You Should Go Easy On Your Vegan Friends When They Slip Up

Trust us, they're much harder on themselves.

I have an amazing, progressive friend who identifies as a vegan, but bends her own rules quite often. She’s a liberal vegan.

And I used to regularly make fun of her for this here and there; “Wannabe vegan”, “part-time vegan”, “cute bit of cheese, you try hard vegan you”.

I dabbled in the idea of transitioning from vegetarianism to veganism, but when the time came I heard my own voice in my head. So I kicked myself. Hard. I hate when my friends take the piss out of me for tiny things like the gelatine in the lolly I accidentally just ate, or eating scrambled chicken foetuses (just stop with it already, it’s a fucking gross thing to say and you eat eggs too, you morons).

And I hate that for so long I was ignorant and rude to my friend who was actively trying to do something I wasn’t brave enough to.

So friends, take a page out of this chapter of my life and don’t be a dick when your mates slip up on their eating choices.

More Judgment Than On Judge Judy   

A lot of people think that vegetarians and vegans are constantly judging them, but it’s usually the other way around. I know a lot of vegos and vegans and they are, for the most part, open-minded people who don’t go around judging everyone they meet for not sharing their views. Because, yikes, that would be exhausting.

It can be pretty confronting constantly being hyper alert of people around you judging you for a personal choice you made.

Rachel Krantz wrote in Bustle that the hardest thing about being a vegan was “knowing people are judging me the way I used to judge vegans”. It can be pretty confronting constantly being hyper alert of people around you judging you for a personal choice you made. And it sucks when you know that judgement is negative. “Just eat meat, ffs”.

We’re Already Holding Ourselves To Higher Standards Than The Meat Industry Will (Ha!)

What else I’ve found is that quite often vegetarians and vegans hold themselves up to some pretty high standards. They usually really care about their impact on the world, their impact on others, or both! And they’re all about taking responsibility for their own actions.

This means if you critique them on something vego or vegan related, they’ve probably already critiqued themselves for it 10 times over. I can almost guarantee that more than once in their lives they’ve had an inner debate within themselves as to whether or not they should just eat the onion that was cooked in meat juice, or the cake with a cup of milk in it their mum made.

It can be hard. As Shannon Leparski wrote in her blog post, ‘My Vegan Story’, “Ever since I was little, I remember struggling with this internal conflict… especially towards meat”.

And she’s not alone. I for one, had an extensive couple-of-years-long inner conflict about whether it was OK to eat meat once a week if it’s free-range and sustainable, or maybe on special occasions? Then I finally landed on cutting it out once and for all.

So basically, just be aware that your vegetarian and vegan mates have feelings. Although banter is the bomb, so is being understanding and turning a blind eye every now and again in the name of kindness.

Marnie Vinall is a Marketing and Media Communications student at Monash University. She loves reading, writing and her huge collection of plant friends.

(Lead image: Friends/NBC)