When some someone asks you why you’re vegan, what do you tell them? Do you avoid getting into it because maybe you’ve had one too many conversations that have spiraled into a vortex of frustration? Do you catch yourself rambling on because how could you possibly summarize all the reasons that you are vegan?
If any of this sounds like you then keep reading because for our first blog ever, we at TVTM Clothing would like to share with you what we’ve we learned over the years in having these conversations. After all talking about veganism is literally the reason we formed Talk Vegan To Me Clothing. So without further adieu here are our tips for having “the Vegan Talk”:
DON’T guilt the other person for not being vegan. Chances are, there was a point in your life when you too consumed animal products. And like it or not, how you represent yourself in this conversation will impact how your “engager” views veganism as a whole. So whatever you do, have compassion and don’t shame people for what they didn’t know before they knew it.
DO speak from your own perspective. People tend to close off when they feel personally attacked. Diffuse tension by phrasing your answer from a first person perspective. This reinforces that the conversation you two are having is about you and your lifestyle not them and theirs. Ie. say: When *I* learned about _____, transitioning to a vegan lifestyle was the logical next step *for me*.
Want to initiate a good conversation? Start vague. This allows you to get a good read on the interest level of the person you are talking to. Ie. say: I wanted to live in a way that was aligned with my values. If your engager is still on board, he/ she will invite you to elaborate on your values (at which point you can say: peace and non-violence, respect for the environment, etc.). If the concept of higher values is a touchy subject for them, they won’t ask and you don’t have to get into it! Yay!
Want to keep it brief? Feel free to be blunt and to the point. Ie: I love animals and do not view them as a food. BOOM.
Know when you’re just wasting your energy. Save your time and energy for people with open minds. Say it with us, save your time and energy for people with open minds. The trolls who are just asking you about veganism to make fun of it deserve none of your attention. If you find yourself in this situation, keep your cool but end the conversation immediately. We have all learned this the hard way. Another way to conserve your energy is to not get started in the first place. If the time and place isn’t ideal (ie. a loud house party, an emotional time for you, etc.), tell your engager that you’d be happy to discuss it over coffee another time.
Now that you have the do’s and don’ts, use these next four tips for some inspiration on what to actually say.
Share a little history on your journey. Ie. I came to the vegan lifestyle through my social activism background and then discovered how much better I felt not eating animal products.
Work in the three pillars of veganism: ethics, environment, health. Ie, I was interested in improving my health. Then as I learned more, I realized I also aligned with the ethical and environmental aspects.
Drop some stats. Ie. I heard a very shocking statistic that animal agricultural is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the world transportation industry. Note that dropping facts and statistics is not highly recommended as the reliability of sources can brought into question. So do your research and only reference credible sources.
Focus on values. Ie: veganism gave me a framework for living my values of peace and non-violence every day. After all, vegan conversions happen when a person realizes that their values align with vegan ideology. Also no one can argue with your values because they are yours and yours alone.
On a final note, don’t lose sleep trying to formulate the “perfect” response. You’ll discover yours by simply having more of these conversations. So throw on your Vegan For What Tee and get out there! Because the world needs people like you to wear, engage, and inspire.
Andrea, Janel, Laine
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