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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I just discovered this website by accident. I've been a vegetarian for 15 years because I feel bad for the animals. I'm happy with my choice but there are times that non-vegetarians laugh and tease me with questions as soon as they find out I'm a vegetarian.

When I try to explain in long scientific detail, they would either call me boring or accuse me to trying to convert them. (which I never do. I frown upon people who shove their beliefs onto others.)

When I cut them short, they say vegetarians are rude.

When I don't answer, they think I'm offended (yes I am). they would say they are just kidding around and I am no fun.

I don't think they actually hate me but sometimes I'm truly annoyed. May I ask your ideas about the best way to respond to it? I'm looking for some good short answers to them so that would stop them from harrassing me but not too rude. It would be great if it's something that would make them think and be more considerate next time they meet a vegetarians. Some of these people are my friends, colleagues, business associates, or friend's acquaintances.

btw, "it's none of your business" is considered extremely rude in my culture. ^^;

Below are some questions I was asked during the years.

1. You eat vegetable. Don't they have lifes too?

(When I say they don't feel pain, they would go 'How do you know they can't feel?', 'So if the animals have damaged nerve system, you would eat them, right?')

2. Do you use leather products?

(They can't wait to call me a hypocrite. Well, I don't use leather products, but I feel that they are trying to dictate me what I can or can't do just because I say I don't eat meat. It pissed me.)

3. When you walk down the street, don't you step on ants and insects?

4. Don't you know what you just ate had animal products in it? (Someone lied to me that the food was vegetarian.) If you are a true vegetarian, aren't you supposed to know?

5. You got sick yesterday. Isn't being vegetarian supposed to keep you healthy?

6. *someone shoves meat into my face* Does it smells nice? Why don't you try it, just a little, come on?

(Anything other than a definite "NO" without ruining the table atmosphere?)

7. Don't you know we are omnivores!? We have evolved so far from those plant-eaters.

Any comments would be appreciated. Sorry for my English. It's not my first language.
 

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I don't have any profound answers for you, chihaya, I just wanted to mention that your grasp of the English language is excellent!! Far, far better than many of the people who post here regularly.

It's also refreshing to read a post where the person is actually CONCERNED with being polite while talking about vegetarianism and not being rude.

Nicely done! Welcome to VB!

Hopefully you'll get some answers to your questions as well.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by chihaya View Post

1. You eat vegetable. Don't they have lifes too?

(When I say they don't feel pain, they would go 'How do you know they can't feel?', 'So if the animals have damaged nerve system, you would eat them, right?')

2. Do you use leather products?

(They can't wait to call me a hypocrite. Well, I don't use leather products, but I feel that they are trying to dictate me what I can or can't do just because I say I don't eat meat. It pissed me.)

3. When you walk down the street, don't you step on ants and insects?

4. Don't you know what you just ate had animal products in it? (Someone lied to me that the food was vegetarian.) If you are a true vegetarian, aren't you supposed to know?

5. You got sick yesterday. Isn't being vegetarian supposed to keep you healthy?

6. *someone shoves meat into my face* Does it smells nice? Why don't you try it, just a little, come on?

(Anything other than a definite "NO" without ruining the table atmosphere?)

7. Don't you know we are omnivores!? We have evolved so far from those plant-eaters.

Any comments would be appreciated. Sorry for my English. It's not my first language.
I started to type answers to the questions you had listed and found myself getting angry on your behalf. I hope that you don't have these questions all the time! I guess I'm lucky and my friends don't push me on the issue. Maybe the most polite answer would be "I'm glad you're so interested in vegetarianism! I'll send you some good websites for you to look over." As I read the questions, I also found myself wanting to say "Now that you've pointed that out - I guess I'll need to become a fruitarian" just to see them backpedal. And if someone shoved meat in my face, I'd probably shove it away and just say, "You're being very rude."
 

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Check out the "Stupid Things Omnivores Say" and "Witty Responses to Stupid Things Omnivores Say" threads.

As for the specific questions you listed, I think the whole shoving meat in your face thing is downright rude, and I would (politely) point that out to them. ie "No, thank you. You know I don't eat meat, and I think it's very rude of you to disrespect my beliefs this way."

--Fromper

 

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Where are you from? And what's your relationship with the people who come up with those questions? Are they friends, relatives, co-workers?

I can provide various answers to those questions, but they would be my own answers, reflecting my own beliefs and situation.

Best advice I can give is to remain calm when faced with such rude questions (because they are very rude - and feeding you meat against your wishes is just plain unacceptable), and give the answer that you really feel like giving, even if it won't satisfy the other person. You don't have to explain yourself to anybody, and, anyway, by the look of things, these people aren't really looking for answers, they just disagree with your decision to follow a vegetarian diet/lifestyle. Think of them as misguided and a bit silly, ignore them if you want, and move on. If anyone is truly interested in answers, they'll probably ask again, and in a more polite manner.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by chihaya View Post

1. You eat vegetable. Don't they have lifes too?
Yes. Irrelevant. They're not sentient.

Quote:
7. Don't you know we are omnivores!? We have evolved so far from those plant-eaters.
We are beings capable of being healthy on a vegan diet, and we are beings capable of choosing our diet based on our ethical and other values. We are omnivores only in the sense of our body being suitable for processing meat etc., not in the sense that this is the only healthy choice.
 

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I like the idea of offering them websites. Here are my ideas for answers:

You eat vegetable. Don't they have lifes too?

By eating a plant-based diet, I contribute to less plant deaths than someone who eats animals. Do you know how many pounds of vegetable matter it takes to make one pound of beef?

You got sick yesterday. Isn't being vegetarian supposed to keep you healthy?

Though studies show that vegetarians are generally healthier than omnivores, a vegetarian diet isn't snake oil - it doesn't keep you 100% from getting sick. Nothing does.

*someone shoves meat into my face* Does it smells nice? Why don't you try it, just a little, come on?

(Anything other than a definite "NO" without ruining the table atmosphere?)

No thank you, I don't want any.

(The next time the same person does it) "Why are you challenging me?" or "We're all having a nice time; please don't ruin the table atmosphere." (maybe not that polite, but when "no thank you" doesn't work, I tend to take out bigger guns
)

Don't you know we are omnivores!? We have evolved so far from those plant-eaters.

The human body can live off a vegetarian diet. The fact that there are so many vegetarians who are, you know, alive, proves it.

HTH
 

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You know, the more I think about being lied to in order to trick you into eating meat, the more I think that punching the liar in the face is a good response.

--Fromper

 

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First: your English is fine.

If they're just trying to mess with you, it doesn't matter what you say to them. Otherwise, you might try telling them that your answer might be rather detailed, and ask if they really want to get into it.
 

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I just tell them i don't like eating meat .......If they come back at you just kindly say "well there must be foods you don't like and don't eat"

In NZ there was an All black rugby player Bull Alien was his name (and he had the build of a bull) and he was a vegetarian I have seen him on the tele been asked and he use to say he just didn't like meat ....end of question
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
@ Tempeh-Tantrums > Thank you so much for your comment on my English. It took me a moment to write it all down though. I still have a lot to learn.

@ cftwo > I get these questions every now and then. Some are often than others.. like 1 and 6. I really like "I'm glad you're so interested in vegetarianism! I'll send you some good websites for you to look over.".

@ Fromper > I read "Stupid Things Omnivores Say" and had a good laugh. There is a "Witty Responses to Stupid Things Omnivores Say" thread? I'll have to check that out. =D

@ mazikeen > I'm from Thailand. Most people who ask question 1-3 and 7 are those who I meet the first time.. like friends' acquaintances or Business associates (clients, suppliers). I usually get question 4-6 from friends and colleagues. Fortunately, my family members are very understandable. Feeding me meat (happened twice, after that I've been very careful) and shoving meat to my face (all the time) seem like a good joke to some of my friends. I'd love to hear some of your answers if you could share them with me.

You're right. They just disagree to my lifestyle. But since I usually have to see most of these people again, it would be great if there is a way to make the situation easier.

@ Fromper > I did want to but people who did that to me was my superior and another time it was a group of friends on april fool's day.

@ Sevenseas, SummerSn0ws, Tom > Thank you for your suggestions =)
 

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Chihaya, it sounds like you're doing the best you can in a difficult situation. I have a friend who used to live in Thailand and she said she got a lot of the same treatment.

I think we (as Americans or even other cultures) don't realize how truly lucky we are to have the people we live with/work with/are friends with be even moderately accepting of our lifestyle and dietary choices. I know Omnivores do say and do stupid things to all of us, but I think it's still minor compared to what some people put up with.
 

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If someone shoved meat in my face like that and I was in the right mood, that meat would be on the floor with my stinky non leather shoe print on it. I can be a really nice person but if you tick me off look out, and I think that would tick me off pretty good!
 

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Hey Tempeh, I didnt mean that because it was meat I would do that. If someone put anything in my face that they knew I did not like it would end up on the floor! For example, I HATE pickles. I hate them so much just saying the word gives me the heebeejeebies, and people have put them in my face when they found out about that, and it has ended up on the floor! I just think it is highly rude for someone to do anything like that period. I am not angry at all, I am very nice to meat eaters, heck my bf is one! It is the rudeness of it that would tick me off!
 

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I think one of the best things that someone told me to do when people ask questions like this, is to first of all make a joke. That way, they see you are just a normal person. Then, if they are really interested, they will ask again.

In response to vegetables feeling pain, well vegetables don't have a nervous system so cannot possibly feel pain. Most veggies wouldn't eat an animal with a damaged nervous system because feeling pain is one of the most basic responses when an animal is alive. It would be one of the last areas to be damaged as it is in the primitive nervous system. So, usually if an animal cannot even feel pain, they are dead or close to death - and veggies don't eat dead animals!

I also hate people trying to "catch me out" all the time by asking if I wear leather. At least I'm trying to make things better for animals!

As for stepping on insects, that is unintentional. Eating meat is intentional.

Lying to you that food is vegetarian is unacceptable and very rude. You could ask them how they would feel if you sneaked dog food into their meal.

About pushing meat in your face - even eating a little meat still means an animal has suffered and died. I consider that to also be very rude.

I would politely ask them to respect your beliefs.
 

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Hi Chihaya...I too have confronted some of these questions. I don't take it personally, I simply see it as an expression of their ignorance whether it be from lack of knowlege or plain malice. If they are deliberately baiting me, I walk away because I won't be baited. Here are some of my answers

1) yes, plants do have life...but they do not have a central nervous system comprised of a brain and spinal cord and that is one of the (key) differences between animal and plant life

2) I use whatever leather, wool, silk etc I purchased BEFORE I became veg'n and have not purchased any since. To throw out good leather shoes or a good wool sweater would truly be rendering the animal's life as meaningless. The least I can do is to honour the animal that gave up it's life, and so I wear the article till it wears out, or I give it away

3) I try very hard not to step on ants and insects

4) I am extremely conscientious about checking everything I eat. I will never knowingly eat any animal or animal by-product. If you deliberately mislead me about the food you are serving me, then I will take that as your expression of disrespect for my belief system, in which case I would then question the sincerity of your friendship

5) I take very good care of my body, but I am not superman

6) Politely but firmly I say 'no thanks'. Nothing more, nothing less. I will repeat those two words as often as I must; if the baiting does not stop, I then walk way

7) I disagree, if you have the time and inclination, lets discuss this at length over a nice pot of tea..or...a veg'n dinner.

Hope this helps and try hard not to let them upset you. In many cases, it is simply ignorance (lack of knowledge) on their part and for those who are just trying to wind you up, it's not worth taking personally. You do not have to defend your position, just state your beliefs quietly and with dignity. If it is not reciprocated in the same manner, then don't waste your breath.

cheers

Molly W
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mybaby7 View Post

If someone shoved meat in my face like that and I was in the right mood, that meat would be on the floor with my stinky non leather shoe print on it. I can be a really nice person but if you tick me off look out, and I think that would tick me off pretty good!
Haha..I agree. Im not particularly grossed out by meat, but someone doing that would seem like they were trying to mess with me. I dont like being messed with.

I usually ignore anyone who asks me about my diet, unless they seem genuinly interested in learning something. If they seem closed minded and judgemental at all, I just refuse to talk to them about it (usually laughing and changing the subject). I usually am laughing about how stupid they are, but they dont know this.
 

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Well, heres my take on things.

1) I've never had a plant look at me with adoring eyes, and I've definitely never seen one suffer.... till then.

2)Mollymw was right on, throwing out what you already have is just wasteful and anyone should be able to understand that.

3)Yes, it's unfortunate, but you do it too.

4)Everyone messes up sometimes, it just happens. However, if you were deliberately lied to about food being vegetarian, stand up and leave.

5)Yes, I was sick yesterday! and if I weren't a vegetarian I'd still be sick today
...Alternatively, Vegetarians can eat unhealthy too!

6)I always say "I'm good, thanks" a lot of my friends didn't know I was vegetarian for a while because of this. If people don't respect your decisions though, somethings wrong.

7)If we're supposed to be omnivores how come you asked me question 5!??!?!?!

Hope this helps
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Sorry for late reply. Thank you so much for your answers, everyone. <3 I used some of the suggestions in this thread the other days and I think it works!
 
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