You may have been vegan for quite some time, or you may be new to veganism, but either way, being vegan can sometimes put you in a place of isolation. I'm here to tell you about my lonely moments, how I overcame them and how to put yourself out there to make more plant based pals!
When I first started my vegan journey, I got the common compassionate feeling we all share, followed by total guilt for ever having contributed to cruelty, then of course the wave of urgency to do something about it! With this sense of needing to make immediate changes to the world, came a desire to speak out to anyone and everyone. That was my first mistake. If you're new to veganism, my advise is to keep hold of that heroic feeling, but take your time. Understand your meat eating mates may not see it like you saw it right away. They may even mock you and this, although it feels awful, is probably not meant to make you feel so hopeless and lonely.
Learn all the ins and outs of veganism before you get going, watch videos on how to handle questions and how best to answer questions like "if you lived on an island..." because this may happen- actually scrap that- This WILL happen. You will find yourself on a deserted island many, many times for the rest of your life, so get comfortable and get equipped with the right answers, that doesn't result in a friendship fallout!
Growing up vegan brings so much joy to your life, but it definitely can also bring some isolation and loneliness; and for me personally, loneliness is a feared feeling of mine. I like to think I can cope pretty courageously with most things, but the one thing that I can get lost in is having sorrowful feelings and being alone with them! Feeling sad is one thing, but feeling sad alone...ouch! It's too much for me. I am a proud sharer that works through things best when I talk them out, but who to talk to when no one in your circle understands? Veganism opens your eyes to many sorrowful things and if you don't have a Vgang to lift you up, you can easily feel isolated from the rest of the world. I don't want any of you to ever feel like this, so as well of offering my full support and friendship (add me on social media. Links below) here are my five favourite ways to make vegan friends!
1. Be an activist
By far this is something that has added so much fun and many friends into my life! There are lots of ways to be an activist and it only takes a quick social media search to find local activism groups to join and meet up with. I started out by attending a local Anonymous for the voiceless workshop. Within one evening I made at least 5 new friends and better yet I made plans to attend the cube of truth where I made even more friends! Activism can seem scary, but if you do some research, think about what you're comfortable with and give it a whirl, an entire new vegan social group is ready and waiting to welcome you in! I go to the Derby/Nottingham AV group, if anyone is local and wants to meet me there! To learn more about it, read my article 'My First Activism Experience'.
2. Get social on social media
Everyone has social media these days and us vegans may be known for our self sustainable simple living lifestyles, BUT we also know that social media helps us spread the vegan message! Follow vegans for encouragement and to get a daily reminder that you are not alone in this! Joining Facebook social groups is a good idea too. This links in with the activism quite easily, as many meetups are arranged through groups like this! Facebook groups/pages seem to get more people talking, and a quick 'add friend' via a page can soon blossom into a bromance!
3. Attend events
This is another biggy for me. I have gone to events all over the place, sometimes with friends and sometimes solo, but either way, I have always left having more like minded mates than when I arrived. There are events pretty much every weekend now and if you work weekends, don't worry, its not unusual for groups to arrange midweek meetups! The event I am most looking forward to this year is the UK Vegan Camp Out. Last year people came from as far as Australia, so get booking those tickets and see you there!
4. Message other vegans
This may be out of your comfort zone to do, and you may even think of it as a bit 'needy' but hey, if you need someone to talk to then own it and get messaging. A recent blog follower contacted me and really got me thinking about how I used to feel. It was that message from a follower that encouraged me to write this article. So you tell me, did I deem the message to be 'needy', or did I think "wow people need some help, I remember what that felt like and loneliness seriously sucks!"? I have totally messaged people myself for all sorts of reasons, from simply saying 'hey' to a fellow vegan, to asking questions about a topic I'm unsure of. I have never once had a bad response and as for when I am responding, well first of all, I ALWAYS respond, and secondly it is always friendly. If I can help I will, If I can't, I am most likely to try anyway!
5. Convert your current friends!
This one is a little bit trickier and I will warn you, it is the more timely option out of the five, but a great one nevertheless! Since going vegan both my siblings have gone vegan, my sister in law, my nephew, my nieces are veggie, my mum and most recently one of my best friends and her partner are on their merry old way to vegansville! Yes, it has taken me a decade to get them to try veganism but one by one they eventually realised, with gentle positive encouragement, that it is never too late to Grow Up Vegan! Now I am surrounded by plant eaters! Vegans vegans everywhere!
Well guys, I truly hope that this has helped anyone who has been having some lonely time and inspired you to put yourself out there and get socialising to avoid isolation! Remember follow me on Instagram and Facebook for daily inspo, Tweet me anytime and Subscribe to this blog and my YouTube channel. Feel free to message me any time to talk! Even when I`m a busy bee, I always set some time aside to talk with my vegan friends #GrowUpVegan