VWPA Advice 035: How Do I Politely Tell People to Fuck Off When They Challenge My Veg*nism?

I’m a 20 year old college student and I share an apartment with 3 other people. We buy and cook our own food so that’s not the issue, my issue comes in when it comes to comments about my food choices, especially when I’m meal prepping for the week. I typically meal prep on a Monday or Sunday for food to eat throughout the school week. Every single time I’m cooking something or eating something, my roommates feel the need to question me about every little detail of what I’m eating, or sometimes make comments like “that looks disgusting, there’s no meat on your plate!” etc. etc.

I even encounter this with coworkers, who insist on trying to put meat on my plate or pressure me into getting meat when I tell them I want veggie (we can’t make our own food and have to get in line like a customer). One in particular, when he saw me eating told me I was going to “die trying to eat vegan/vegetarian” and that I need to stop.

So I guess my question is, how do I politely tell these people to go fuck themselves without coming off rude or like a preachy plant based eater? I don’t want to go spitting hardcore facts at them, especially because as someone new to this lifestyle, a lot of this information is fresh in my mind and ready to be spit out at any moment.

Any advice here would be great, since I live in the south where people act as if me being a vegetarian is a major issue.

– Kayla

VWPA Listener Becky W.

People can only meet you as deeply as they've met themselves

Callie

Congratulations on going veg! It is definitely intimidating to try to discuss veganism or advocate for it while everything is so new and your are still finding your way. Heck, I still stumble sometimes while trying to argue a point!

At this point, I don’t think it’s about you needing to prove that a plant-based diet is healthy, it’s about people around you respecting a choice you’ve made and not harassing you for it. I suggest focusing on that. Say things like, “This is a choice I am making for myself, why are you arguing with me?” or “I’m not mocking your choices, please don’t mock mine” or, if someone is being really pushy, “Fuck off and mind your own business!”

We did an episode about veganism being a boundary that I think would be helpful if you haven’t heard it yet. Because, yes, a plant-based diet is healthy, and better for the environment, and obviously better for the animals, but at the ened of the day this issue is really about people not respecting your choices and that is not ok. Vegan tends to put up with a lot because we figure we’re the ones choosing to be different, so we forgive a lot of bad behavior, but we shouldn’t have to.

Nichole

Totally cosign what Callie wrote – this is absolutely about people challenging your autonomy, trying to get you back into the fold. If you have a repeat offender, I would say something like, “It’s MY choice what to put in MY body. Your attempts to be involved in that decision are making me extremely uncomfortable.” For your coworkers, it’s totally appropriate to say, “I’m very uncomfortable having my personal choices commented on in a professional environment, please stop.”

Point out to them what they are doing in plain words. It might snap them out of it, it might not, but at least the truth is out in the open and they will likely become uncomfortable with being confronted this way. People don’t like having to look at themselves too closely when they are participating in shitty behavior. They may react back, telling you it’s just a joke, don’t be so serious, or trying to justify their actions. Give them a cool stare until they walk away, or simply repeat yourself in a calm tone. Don’t be afraid to say, “This conversation is over. Now hand me my fucking sandwich.”

I’m sorry you are dealing with this! I’ve had some frustrating experiences but never someone refusing to give me the food I asked for, that’s absurd and horrible. Find confidence in yourself, make direct eye contact when you use Callie’s suggestions, and hopefully you’ll be able to get some improvement with at least the people you see on a regular basis.

Congratulations on your journey and welcome to the community!

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