Vegans have a rep for being pushy but what about vegetarians and omnivores?
"Vegans are so pushy! Why can't they do what they want without ramming it down everyone else's throats!"
Have you heard anything like that before? I have. I think I am also 'guilty' of being a bit pushy with certain people before realising how it made them feel. However, regardless of how I was, and how others are today, I know many vegans who aren't pushy in any way whatsoever!
I know people who don't talk about their beliefs at all. Some of the reasons behind this silence include fearing of ridicule, judgement, and being subjected to an on-the-spot health assessment in the form of an interrogation.
Which is greater? The number of pushy vegans or pushy vegetarians and omnivores?
'What?' I hear you say? 'Vegetarians and omnivores? They just go about their business, but they get riled up when vegans start telling them to go vegan!' In my experience, this is far from the truth.
I've been vegan for nearly 10 years and in that time, I've met more pushy vegetarians and omnivores than vegans, and I have no idea why it doesn’t get discussed much.
When I went vegan, I had vegetarians and omnivores tell me that I shouldn’t do it. I was told that everyone should eat everything. I was warned about becoming ill. It was also assumed that it was a fad that wouldn't last long!
The funny this is, I hadn’t asked for their opinion and I wasn’t going around announcing that I’d gone vegan. So what compelled them to share, judge, dwell and assume?
Somehow it would come up, I would have briefly stated that I was vegan, and then it would begin. They would even ask me why I went vegan but they would be closed to hearing me out. They wanted me to share my reasons so that they could use them against me, and debate further.
How I dealt with pushy vegetarians and omnivores
In the early days, I was very frustrated, adamant to be heard, and offended by the whole experience.
Following a few of these upsetting events, I decided not to discuss any of these things at the dinner table, even when I was pushed to do so. I would explain that others may not want to hear my answer and we could pick it up later. Sometimes that would happen, at other times, I was asked to share, but because everyone had 'opted in', it positively changed the dynamics of the conversation.
When I was interrogated about my health I would simply state that the results of my last blood test so that they knew I was in good health. That nipped any conversation predicting poor health in the bud.
Where others felt the need to push that everyone should eat everything, I learned to listen silently. It was hard at first but it was good for me, and there's only so long that someone push a point without an audience that's engaging verbally.
Some questions for you
Have you come across this type of thing as a vegan, and have you developed any successful strategies different to the ones I've shared above?
Were you ever a pushy vegan? If so, have you changed? If yes, what motivated you to be different?
If you are a pushy vegan, what's the most successful conversation you've had when you were being 'pushy'?