If you are the first to become a vegetarian amongst your family or friends, you will be regarded as a freak at first, and you will have to answer the same questions for a thousand times.
You will find yourself in some pretty awkward situations, which will possibly be even more awkward for people surrounding you, because they have never met a real-life vegetarian and don’t know how to deal with it.
Most people will try to be respectful, but those closest to you are going to try to change you back to your “normal” self. They will explain how they worry about your health. And if you try to explain that meat is not that healthy, and that they don’t have to worry about your proteins, they might even accuse you of joining some cult. When you meet someone new and they find out you are a vegetarian, they will try, in a way, to justify themselves to you by saying that they hardly ever eat meat, too. You will find that people feel judged by you, even if that’s not the case, and they will try to explain themselves.
What Do You Eat?
Every single vegetarian in the world had to answer the same question. After a while, you find yourself answering without thinking – it feels like repeating a song you know by heart. “I eat everything but meat” – this is usually enough. But sometimes people want more specific answers, so they ask what you put in your sandwich, or if you eat fish. And you have to explain again that you don’t eat meat.
When your friends or family members invite you for a dinner they will ask what to prepare for you. This will probably make you feel uncomfortable, like you are making them do something special just for you. On the other hand, be thankful that they are thinking of you, instead of just inviting you to a dinner where there’s only meat. This happens also, and when it does you can be sure that they have accepted the new you, because they are not thinking of you anymore as “my vegetarian friend/cousin”. When you find yourself in such a situation and they notice that you are not eating anything, they will start offering everything without meat they have in their house just to show you that they really do care about you. And, once again, you will feel uncomfortable. The best thing to do is to invite people you know to your house for a meat-free dinner. You should try making something they have never had before and you think they will like, but also something they usually eat but haven’t realized it’s something vegetarians can eat, too.
After a while, new strange and unusual things will happen and your decision will become old news. People will get used to you being a vegetarian and they will stop thinking about what you eat, and how you survive without meat. At this point, you can expect the inevitable jokes about you eating grass. Almost everyone will say it at some point, because they are all thinking it. If they joke, that means they are not that uncomfortable anymore. They will stop asking what you would like to eat, and instead they will always have something prepared for you. They will ask for recipes, because they now know that “your” food is not poisonous.
Finally, if you have decided not to eat meat, stick to your decision and everyone will respect you for it, eventually, and maybe even be proud of you. Just accept the fact that you will have to endure hearing the “jokes” about you eating grass fifty times, because they have to get it off their chests. And smile, you’ve made a good decision.