VWPA Advice #006: Can I Pass on My Friend’s Event?
My friend’s special occasion is being hosted at a place that is against my veganism to patronize. What do I do?
Eeesh, this is always a tough one. You don’t want to rain on someone’s big day but you also don’t want to support something you don’t believe in! If you will be upset during the event, don’t go. It’s totally fine to pass on an invitation no matter what the reason, and no matter how big or important the occasion.
With most events, it’s usually ok to say that you aren’t going without giving a set reason why. A response like, “I can’t make it, thank you for the invitation, have fun!” is perfectly acceptable.
If you feel like being a bit of an activist, you can say, “I don’t patronize the [zoo, race track, Sea World, etc.] so I won’t be attending, but thank you for thinking of me.” This lets the person know that you are not going specifically because of the venue, but without giving them a load of information that they didn’t ask for. If they are curious as to what is wrong with the [zoo, race track, Sea World, etc.] they will ask and then you can give them a bit more information on why.
You might have the option of meeting up for drinks or a meal before or after the event, and that is a nice way to still participate in someone’s special day without having to compromise your values. And if all else fails, a lot of times it’s easy to ask if you can spend time with that person one-on-one to make up for your absence.
Big picture, you don’t ever have to go to anything. Though we all want love and support during our special occasions, we shouldn’t expect others to override their personal needs and beliefs for it.
Wow yeah this is a tough one… Well let me get my little disclaimer out of the way first ;) For this and ANY situation please know that you always have the option of saying no if you aren’t going to feel comfortable and/or safe. I know that is easier said than done, but really please know that just because someone (or many someone’s) expect you to push your own feelings aside, you absolutely don’t have to. We should always feel free and empowered to take care of our own needs. You don’t owe anyone anything.
So that being said, here is a little more practical “real life” advice. The world isn’t yet vegan, we still have to live in it even though most days our veganism puts us in conflict with what’s “normal”. If this special occasion is something you would want to be a part of (because of how you feel for the person, not because of the activity) then I think you should go. We can’t miss out on all of the important things in life because we are vegan. If you are uncomfortable because you feel that you are supporting the activity, try lessening your impact by not spending money at the venue/restaurant etc. I know this isn’t a perfect solution but honestly we can’t remove ourselves from life and do only vegan things with only vegan people, I don’t think it’s healthy and I think we lose perspective by doing that.
One last thing to keep in mind, sometimes it’s not about us. Some events we need to let other people have what they want and our role is to love and support them. Now this doesn’t mean put yourself in a bad or uncomfortable position, but we don’t need to be an activist every day and at every event (though if this is what you want, that’s ok too). I guess what I’m getting at is, if you want to show up and have fun with your loved ones, you can do it without guilt. You won’t lose your vegan card because remember no one can take it from you!