The question then becomes, “How do you have fun as a vegan?” That’s a great question because many associate fun with drinking, smoking and eating fried chicken. Since I don’t do any of those, people naturally assume that I don’t have a social life. Admittedly, I am a homebody, but I can be social too, Boo! I am a fun-loving person that enjoys live music, festivals and sports. ALL of those things are already fun for me, so I don’t feel the need to drink, smoke or eat fried chicken in order to enhance the experience.
Last night a cute guy knocked over my beverage by accident at the bar and he was so apologetic about it. We were talking throughout the night because he was in town from Miami and he was at the bar by himself too. As an only child, I go out a lot by myself. I have never needed an entourage! When I told him not to panic and that it was only ginger ale (with lime) he chuckled. He said “You don’t drink, you don’t smoke, what do you do for fun?” I pointed to the big TV screen full of excitement and said “This”. He replied “Touché.”
Assuming that you care what folks think to a certain extent, remember that people follow YOUR lead! If you are uncomfortable with your lifestyle choices, others will be too. Before entering into social situations, make sure you are confident and able to demonstrate that your choices are not a burden to your happiness. Trust me, people will talk about you anyway so keep your life interesting!
It may sound simplistic to people, but I don’t participate in social activities that I am uncomfortable with. If I have to attend due to work obligations, I show up, laugh and then leave. It’s my right to protect my energy and accept responsibility for the energy I bring into social situations. This may make me lame in the eyes of others, but my concern is solely to stay true to Darilyn and if that makes folks uncomfortable, oh well!
Now to the good stuff. . .
5 Tips for Social Vegans:
1. Cookouts: Bring veggie burgers, veggies for grilling and sides with you so you aren’t hungry. Feel free to also bring your favorite cupcakes, sorbets or fruits for something sweet. There is nothing worse than being hungry and angry (hangry)! People will ask why you don’t eat meat. Speak your truth to the best of your ability. Make it succinct and let them lead the questions. Be nice and smile. Don’t be the disgruntle vegan if you can help it.
2. Parties/Clubs: Ginger ale, ginger beer and good ol' sparkling water is always a winner. Don’t forget the lime. Also, people will buy drinks for you all night because ginger ales cost nothing. Such a win!
3. Family Gatherings: Your family loves you. They will probably judge you and laugh (maybe that's just my family...) but it’s okay, every action has a reaction. Lead by example and don’t persecute them for their choices if you don’t want the same treatment. Have a sense of humor about it! Differences do not have to equal disharmony. If it does, get outta there! It’s not worth the hassle to stay somewhere if you are being judged.
4. Kick Backs with Friends: Same rules apply. Bring your food. If the hosts want to accommodate you, let them! They are at least trying. Warning: well-meaning people often confuse vegan and vegetarian, so make sure you clarify the differences before eating a morsel of their accommodations. I don’t want you to get sick on their fixins.
5. Restaurants: This is the easiest one, but other people make it complicated. Check the menu ahead of time, inform your waitress that you don’t eat meat, seafood, dairy or eggs. When you say “vegan” they don’t always know what that means. Honestly, I try not to go anywhere without something on my stomach so if the food is whack I won’t be too disappointed or hangry. Utilize the salad bars, sides menu and appetizers to create-a-meal if need be. Carry your favorite snack/energy bar with you and eat it before going in if you haven’t checked the menu beforehand.
Remember that being social should be fun. Don’t allow your cruelty-free lifestyle to be cruel to you. Get a grip on why you are choosing veganism or holistic living and why it’s important to you and you won’t lose. Hopefully, my Warriors won’t either!