9 Things You Only Know If You’re The Only Vegan In Your Friendship Group

Going Vegan May Feel Like Joining The Lonely Hearts Club But Take Comfort Knowing You're Not AloneIllustration by Holly Walsh

Things You Only Know If You're The Only Vegan In Your Friendship Group

by Tsouni Cooper |

So, you've watched Cowspiracy/did Veganuary and loved it/decided to eschew all animal products. Woo! Just because you've decided to join the 560,000 odd other vegans in the UK, though, doesn't necessarily mean that you're going to have any vegan mates right away. (You know you can stay friends with your non-vegan friends, right? Just checking.) I went vegan ten years ago and only in the last couple of years have been able to count the vegans I know IRL on more than one hand. So, while you will eventually meet some other vegans (Instagram has helped speed this process up considerably), don't panic if it feels a bit lonely at first. Here are some of the things that you can expect to happen when you're vegan but none of your mates are…

1. At first, your friends will basically think you've joined a cult


They will also be convinced that you are trying to 'convert' them any time you share a cute animal meme and might become defensive of their own dietary choices, no matter how many times you tell them you really don't give a shit what they eat. Once they've realised you're a) not the David Miscavige of veganism and b) not a totally different person just because you're not eating animals any more, they might try to bond with you by telling you about the time they tried to give up cheese for a day and how hard it was.

2. You will get to pick where everyone goes for dinner

Being seen as the 'difficult one' in the WhatsApp group and the decision-making automatically going to you is actually great if it means you get to make everyone go for Thai food every time you want to eat Thai food. (NB: if you have any gluten-free mates, you'll have to fight them for most difficult friend status).

3. The inevitable time you will end up eating somewhere totally vegan-unfriendly and have to eat a side salad or chips


This will probably happen to you at least once, your friends will all look at you pityingly and say 'is that all you're having?' or 'are you sure you don't want some of this?' Strike it up as bad luck, never return to said restaurant and be reassured that, as places in the UK are getting better at realising vegans are a thing, this is less likely to happen. Life hack: if in doubt, always call ahead.

4. Your friends love telling people you're vegan before you do


Hey, I can hold my breath for three minutes/am thinking of shaving my head/just failed my driving test for the third time/delete as appropriate but, no, you're right, this was definitely the first thing this stranger should know about me. Oh, and also, if you all meet another vegan, your friends will automatically assume you and them should be BEST friends. Sure, they might be really nice and maybe you'll actually become BFFs but chances are you have nothing more in common beyond knowing which supermarkets have the best deals on almond milk right now. Thanks, guys.

5. The thing where one of your friends has a dinner party and is really stressing out about what to feed you


One of several things will happen: they will either cook something just for you (which is very kind thx bb) or they make something vegan for everyone. Depending on how awesome/rubbish a cook your friend is, this could be great and everyone realises that vegan food can be a culinary revelation or a total disaster and everyone hates you. Help ease any potential mishaps by checking in with the host and suggesting easy dishes or recipe tweaks to help make the meal vegan for you, or offer to bring a dish everyone can share. Even better: if you can cook, host dinner at yours and make everyone the best (and incidentally vegan meal) of their lives. Or just get takeaway.

6. Being seen as some kind of an ethical barometer

Now you're vegan this weird thing happens where your friends will project some holier-than-thouness onto you and come to you to confess all their problems, great and small. Totally unscientific logic (newsflash: you can be a dick and still be a vegan) but it will still happen. So your friend who cheated on their partner is now way more likely to ask you what they should do. Obviously this sucks, but it is kind of cool knowing everyone's dirty laundry.

7. Asking if it's OK/apologising when they eat meat in front of you


No, really, I don't care if you order the chicken. Believe it or not, I'm not Morrissey. Do you think I don't go in supermarkets that sell meat or sit in cars that have leather seats? Please, go ahead and enjoy your McRib (somebody has to).

8. The time you convince the group that we can totally all go to Nando's

Everyone's blown away by how secretly banging their vegan options are. See also: Zizzi's.

9. At least one of your friends will ask you if bread is vegan 'because isn't yeast alive?'

This is actually a great test for accurately and quickly identifying which of your friends is the dumbest.


Going vegan doesn't mean you should feel like nobody gets you (#firstworldproblems) (seriously though, everyone needs someone to tell when you first figure out how to make tofu taste like something). For other ways to meet up with similarly enlightened humans, there are awesome resources in the UK like Teen VGN for 12-19 year olds, the weekly #veganhour hashtag on Twitter, plus conferences and events like Vegfest and Vevolution happening nationwide throughout the year.

Like This? You Might Also Be Interested In...

What The Hell Is Being Veggan?

How To Make A Super Comforting Vegan 'Fish & Chips'

Hannah Witton: Everything You Need To Know About The YouTube Star

**Follow Tsouni at instagram.com **@yesitsallvegan@yesitsallvegan

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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