"What DO I Tell My Friends and Family?!"
By now you've gotten accustomed to having a few meals without meat. Maybe you've even cooked a few yourself. You understand that there is more to a label than what the big letters say and you think that life is sailing. Then it's time to tell your friends and family that you have met this wonderful person. "They're beautiful, funny, intelligent...everything you could ask for." "Well, we want to meet him/her." your family says, "When do we get to meet this fantastic person?" your friends say. "Bring them over saturday, we'll have dinner." your family says. "Let's get together saturday." your friends say. "We'll have dinner/lunch." they both say. "Sounds good!" you say, you're getting into this! "Lets grill something, let's have pizza, it'll be great!"
"Uh...well, hummm, there might be a problem with that."
This is where things can get tricky. But fear not! You are prepared, you're edcuated and most importantly of all, you've been there. When you finally tell your friends and family about your newfound love you're going to hear all the questions that you yourself asked during those first few weeks. Only this time around you know the answers when your friends and family bombard you with questions.
No, they don't eat meat.
No, they don't eat cheese or milk either.
Yes there are plenty of things for them to eat.
Okay, it is a little weird, but there is nothing wrong with that.
Yes they swallow.(Your family probably won't ask that one.)
No no no! They're very wonderful they just don't eat any animal product!
It's probably a good idea to prep your family and friends before springing a vegan on them. Espically your family, older folk can be very set in their ways and may have a hard time relating to something new such as this. I'm very lucky in the fact that my family has welcomed Denise into their home and really do go out of their way when we come over for dinner. Just sit them down and explain the hows and espically the whys about being vegan, even if you don't totally understand them yourself. You could even go as far as to offer to cook or help prepare the meal yourself. Your significant vegan will probably be able to give you some hints and tips on how to make this kind new ground get covered a little more smoothly.
With a little understanding from both sides a vegan can coexist with non-vegans. Your significant other will be a big help those first few visits and may even eat something that has some whey or something in it just to make the transition go a little smoother. (Yep, that'll incite some people.) It's your job to scout of those offending products and persuade your family not to use them in the future when you and your significant other come over, or provide your own vegan-approved alternative. It can really work...really it can. Unless your family is just impossible then that's leads to a tough choice that I don't think that I can help you with.
Your friends may tend to be a little more open minded (depending on the type of people you hang out with) but they can also be more "In your face" about the percieved strangeness of it. Yes, there will be the jokes and the comments, but generally, if they are truly your friends and your use the same approach you use with your family, then things should go smoother.
Give them a chance, you might be supprised, espically if you can stress they healitness of the vegan diet without totally trashing their meat-eating diet.
Now that you've moved into a nice stable relationship, it's time to move on to Chapter 5: On To The Health Food Store!