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Some story’s making the rounds about a vegan who became a former vegan:

In the video I say I’m not linking to the story because I don’t care, and that’s not totally true – I care about why people stop being vegan (it’s kind of why I’m here,) but I don’t care about an individual attention seeker. I’m just trying to make shorter videos, is all. And shorter posts, so forgive me for trivializing this person I’ve never heard of.

And the odds are, you haven’t heard of her either, but you’ve probably heard about some friend of a friend who stopped being vegan. Why is it so important for people to share these stories with you? Is it because they think you won’t last, or that they hope you won’t last, because that’d justify their life choices a bit more?

Also not mentioned in the video, but applicable: have people told you “you’ll be back” to eating meat later? My reply works equally well in that scenario.

So is it just me, or does this stuff happen to you too?

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With this being new baby week here at Staying Vegan, we’re buying ourselves a little time by posting a few revised versions of some past newsletters that we think could use a fresh look (or a first look if you haven’t seen it before, since we don’t have a list of archives available.)  The Staying Vegan Newsletter goes out every Monday afternoon with original content, click here to sign up for your free subscription!

This newsletter originally went out on Dec 21, 2009:

Since there tend to be a lot of get togethers this time of year, and with that a lot of “opportunities” to interact with omnivores over food, I thought it’d be a good time to share some advice I got from some marketing folks some time back (Jeff Walker and Eben Pagan I think – it’s been a while, but this approach hasn’t left my brain!)

When you’re interacting with someone who eats meat and veganism comes up, there are two things you’re probably going to think, almost instinctively, and today I’m going to tell you not to do that.

The first thing that’s going to come into your mind is “you’re wrong.” This is totally natural – if you’re talking with someone who eats in a way you’ve sworn off because of issues like health, animal compassion, the environment, or other reasons, and they’re trying to defend their position, a position that you’ve clearly rejected already, then yeah, they can’t possibly be right, right?

No, this isn’t the part where I’m going to say that there’s an element of truth in their words – you’re right, and good for you! 🙂

That said, when you say or think “you’re wrong” you shut off a TON of your brain, whether you know it or not.

So what’s the big deal, right? After all, they’re wrong, and if your brain isn’t listening to wrong stuff, how can that be bad? I’ll tell you why by telling what I think you should be thinking instead of “you’re wrong”:

Ask “why?” instead.

There’s a reason someone says the things he or she does. Sure, it could be that there’s just a lot of idiots in the world (or maybe just at your parties – what’s up with that? I kid!), but if someone has different beliefs than you do, there’s probably a reason. You might not be able to figure that reason out in every case, but if you approach enough people with “why” instead of “you’re wrong,” I think you’ll find some patterns.

Once you know some of the reasons, you’re going to be less frustrated in these encounters. You’re going to have some counter-arguments ready that go to the core of the beliefs of the person you’re talking with. You might not convert anyone to veganism with this approach, but you’ll have a better chance, and like I said, by learning more about the people around you you’re going to be less annoyed, frustrated, and irritated about being the vegan in a meat-eating world and you’ll instead start being – I’m sorry in advance of how corny this sounds – the lever of change.

Next time, I’ll go into the other thing you can’t think – I’d put them together, but people tend to skim these newsletters and I want to make sure some of the ideas get through!

In the meantime, what do you think? Am I wrong? 🙂 Let me know in the comments!

Related:

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Vegan children, meaty world: dealing with overlap

March 3, 2010

This week’s question to the Council of Vegan Parents actually spanned two weeks of puzzles! While we’ve got over 30 parents on the Council now, some problems are still common enough that it’s hard to find examples of problems and solutions that worked. (And of course, that’s a cue for another call for volunteers!) Council […]

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How to start (or find) vegan parenting groups

February 9, 2010

OK, Spawn Better is an awesome vegan parenting resource, and we’ve heard some good things about the internet in general (it got a lot better once they put it on computers, I think,) but what about good old fashioned, face to face meetings with other vegan parents? Do vegan parenting groups exist? How do you […]

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How to handle Anti-Population people

February 2, 2010

This week’s question came from a member of the Council: what do you do when you’re confronted by people who feel that the mere act of having children is wrong? That might sound a little weird, but there is a subset out there who believes there are more than enough people on the planet, and […]

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Vegan birthday parties: be ready to negotiate!

December 23, 2009

True story: as I’ve been writing up these posts about vegan birthday parties I’ve been humming “who likes to rock the vegan birthday party? I like to rock the vegan birthday party!” in an homage to Flight of the Conchords. Anyway. In today’s installment, Katrina sends her thoughts: “In the classroom, we have an agreement […]

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Vegan birthday parties: start studying

December 22, 2009

For the past while, we’ve been talking about vegan birthday party tips and tricks, but what if your child is too young for most of this to be an issue yet? That’s the position Steph’s in, but she’s getting ready for it, as she writes in: “My guy’s too little for his own birthday parties […]

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Vegan birthday parties: be honest

December 15, 2009

Pippi sent in some of her stories about her six year old’s adventures with vegan birthday parties, as part of our ongoing series – there are so many great emails coming in from our Council of Vegan Parents, thanks so much! Here’s what Pippi had to say: “The short answer is that I have always […]

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Vegan birthday parties: Don’t forget the ice cream!

December 14, 2009

In today’s installment of the (extended) week of vegan birthday party tips, Dianna writes in: “As for birthdays, there’s a cluster going on right now for my four year old son.  I also tell the parents that I’ll glady bring vegan cake & ice cream for my son and myself and not to worry, since […]

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Vegan birthday parties: I want a falafel cupcake!

December 12, 2009

In today’s installment of dealing with birthday parties, Joanne wrote in with her experiences. When she’s hosting the party, it’s not much of an issue making it a vegan event. By now, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to see yet another mention of cupcakes – I had no idea these things were […]

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