Unfortunately, some vegans come off as demanding, difficult, and even elitist to unsuspecting omnivores, especially in a situation that involves food. Here is a random and possibly incomplete list of etiquette that I, personally, have found to be beneficial in remaining likable and respectful to others while still holding tightly to my ethics.
1. When eating at a friend or relatives house, do not expect them to make anything special for you to eat. They probably will, but if you don’t get your hopes up, you won’t be disappointed. Always eat a little bit before you arrive so you are not famished. Also, bring something small that you know you can eat (side dish or dessert). If they successfully and purposefully make something you are able to eat, let them know how appreciative you are -even if it tastes like rubber.
2. When out to eat with parties of 3 or more, order last. If you order last, the rest of the table might not notice you giving the server the third degree about the possibility of butter being used to cook your veggies. Also, if the server has to go back and speak with the chef, and decides to do it at that moment, the rest of your party might get irritated that they have to wait to place their order.
3. Always, ALWAYS be courteous and appreciative to the server when requesting your food to be prepared in a specific fashion. Emphasize your “please”s and “thank you”s, and let the server know how important your food preparation is to you. For the love of god, DO NOT make demands or place your order in a threatening fashion. (Ex: “If I find a molecule of cheese in my salad, I will send it back, and then leave and never return.”) By nature, people are more willing to help others when they are treated with respect and compassion.
4. If you are going out to eat with omnivores, do not think for one second that they want to go to a vegetarian or vegan restaurant. Unless they specifically say they want to, always choose a restaurant where both of you have plenty of options.
5. Do not preach the health, environmental, and ethical benefits of veganism with every opportunity you get to speak. If somebody wants to know, they will ask.
6. Do not look at anyone’s food/ leather items/ pure bred poodle with obvious disgust, even if you are disgusted. You wouldn’t want anyone to give menacing stares to your seitan dish or hemp handbag now would you?
7. Most importantly, if anyone disrespects your beliefs and purposely attempts to make you feel ashamed of your lifestyle, do not hesitate to either walk away (far away and don’t turn back), or stand up for yourself and your noble beliefs. Don’t stand for ignorance. Either avoid it or prove them wrong.
This list just includes some things that have worked for me personally. I find that just using common sense, compassion and good ol’ fashion manners are the best ways to remain on everyone’s good side.
Are there any rules of etiquette that you frequently use or have had to use at one time? I’d love to hear some stories!
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