Dear reader, please enjoy this guest post, crafted by my friend A.M, all the way from the South (but we won’t hold that against him).
That’s “Host Of Vegan”, for those who don’t know. Which is probably most of you. Since I think I made it up.
First things first. My name is A.M., and I am a meatatarian. I have been Kay’s friend for nigh unto 5 years, so I’ve known her pre- and post-veganism. I am by no means a writer or a blogger, so I’ll thank you to lay off the critiques of my grammar and structure, though odds are it’s better than 95% of the bloggers out there. I offered to write this as a backup for Kay in the event that life got in the way, at least she’d have something to post. She accepted, though I assume it’s mostly to give her something to mock in the future.
Yeah, we have that type of friendship. And it’s awesome.
And yeah, we had that type of friendship before she went vegan. Nothing changed about our relationship.
You hear that? Nothing. That’s the point of this particular entry. There are two sides to every friendship, and every choice that gets made within it that could affect it. And it will only become an issue if you let it.
Kay made a decision a couple of years ago to go vegan. Without any judgement, we asked why she was making this choice. And once she explained her reasons, we asked if she’d still be hanging out with us even though we would not be joining her in veganism. The unequivocal answer was “Yes.”
From that point forward, we all made changes. Minor ones. With this thing called the internet, which you are presumably using right this moment, the resources are nearly endless. It was not very difficult to make small changes to side dishes and desserts to accommodate the new needs of our friend. Kay usually provided her own entree to make things easier, but occasionally we cooked something that everyone would eat.
Now, mind you, I’m not talking about 3-4 people in total. We would often have 10 or more people at these weekend gatherings, with many of them having no idea that most of the food there was vegan-friendly. I can’t tell you how many times someone was busy plowing through a bowl of chips and dip, freaked out when Kay helped herself, freaked out more when they were told it was vegan, then shrugged and kept on going. My wife still counts the vegan red velvet cupcakes that we made as one of the best (if not THE best) desserts she’s ever made. And believe me, she’s made some incredible ones that were decidedly not vegan-friendly.
Kay, for her part, does not moralize to us. She does not force her beliefs onto us. She does not expect us to go out of the way to cater to her. Some of the substitute ingredients are expensive, but she freely offers to provide them to us, so that we don’t need to purchase them solely for her benefit.
All friendships should be give and take. I would venture to say that our friendship is stronger now than it was before, because now we have a major difference in philosophy. But there’s no need for that to be a make or break proposition. God forbid people attempt to understand and respect someone else’s point of view. (And yes, you can apply that statement to an awful lot of arguments out there these days.)
So if you’re having trouble convincing a friend that it’s not the end of the world that you’re going vegan, and you’re pretty sure you want to try to keep them as a friend, feel free to show this to them. If they’re a good friend, this should be all the convincing they need.
Though if they’re a real friend, you shouldn’t have to show them this at all.