Reconnecting with old (non-vegan) friends

October 8, 2010

A question/topic suggestion from Colleen this time: what do you do when you’re reconnecting with someone you used to know back in your non-vegan days?  It can be a bit awkward if you wait too long, but bringing up the topic altogether can be a challenge.  Here’s my take on it:

And this rhyme’s too good to miss if you don’t have the 3 and a half minutes: if you can control the venue, you can control the menu. Booyah.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Erin October 10, 2010 at 11:20 am

I just had two sucessfull encourters. The first was with a group of friends from high school who I had reconnected with on facebook. I tend to post about my cooking quite often, so most of my facebook friends already know I’m vegan. I hosted a BBQ with these friends while I was visiting family, and I just said that we’re vegan and so we’d be makinb Boca Burgers. It turns out, another friend is vegan as well (but I didn’t know) so she happily brought a great salad. Another friend didn’t mind making some hummus, and another brought fresh fruit. It was a great get together with great food. No one even asked, “Well do you mind if I bring a cow burger to throw on the grill?”

The second one was a pleasant surprise. We were in San Diego and my husband said one of his high school friends had just moved there. When they got in touch, the friend suggested dinner. I was nervous thinking I would need to make some calls and such, but then my husband said, “I guess this friend went vegetarian since I’ve seen him, so he suggested a really good vegetarian restaurant nearby.” It was a great meal and of course there were plenty options to choose from.

You never know, that friend who you are worried about reconnecting with may have some news for you too. Best to just put it out there politely and see what happens.

Meridith October 10, 2010 at 4:55 pm

I went vegan shortly after graduating from college so I had a similar situation when I met up with one of my former classmates. My friend was in town for a conference so we really only had time for lunch. Unfortunately there are no vegan restaurants in Indianapolis and the only all-vegetarian restaurant is an south Indian place that was out of the way from her conference location. In this instance I chose P.F. Chang’s. Sure, it’s a chain restaurant, but they have a vegetarian/vegan menu so we both had options. It worked out better than I expected — I had a variety of menu items to chose from, my friend sampled food she might not otherwise have tried, and we got to catch up without any awkwardness.

If at all possible try to suggest the restaurant. HappyCow, VegGuide, and Vegan Eating Out are indispensable resources. If you live in a town with few vegan food options stick with chain restaurants that have to provide nutritional and allergy information, or look for “international” restaurants (e.g., Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Italian, Thai, Ethiopian, …) that have menu items that can easily be veganized.

James October 10, 2010 at 9:54 pm

I have to admit, I’m vegan and even I hesitate when I hear that someone has gone vegan. I worry that they’ll jump the rails and start blogging about the evils of microwaves and vaccines.

And sometimes that happens.

Colleen October 14, 2010 at 6:06 pm

Finally found a pair of earphones so am getting caught up; thanks for addressing my question…If it were just meeting for dinner, I wouldn’t even worry.

But he’s invited me to his house for dinner and really wants to feed me. I’ve tried the whole “I’ll bring this awesome thing” tactic in many ways and my question was supposed to really be about, but which I obviously totally failed to convey, is that I’ve never ever ever successfully done this. It is always taken as a mood-killer in some way, no matter how game, grateful, etc I am and dinner is either awkward or just plain cancelled. 🙁

Jason October 14, 2010 at 9:00 pm

Oh, the question was probably clear, I just forget things – one of the problems with not wearing glasses on video (it’s a glare thing, plus the secret identity so I don’t get mobbed at malls) is that I can’t leave notes for myself off camera! Plus, I didn’t have the heart to tell you what a mood killer you are anyway 🙂

Plan B which doesn’t help you from what you told me but might help someone else is to not be the only vegan – bring a vegan friend and now you’re not the lone inconvenience and you may be on the verge of outnumbering the carnists. If you have to go solo, it sucks, but eat a snack beforehand or have something handy for later on in case it goes really badly…

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