"She's so annoying, all she ever talks about is being vegan."
I nod and roll my eyes, agreeing with my coworker. I quickly turn back to my work, unsure if I'm copping out by not defending a fellow vegan or saying that I know where she's coming from.
The thing is, I get it. I get where both my coworker and my fellow vegan are coming from. If you're a vegan, then it is likely a huge part of who you are. Being vegan doesn't define you but I would think a big part of who you are is your moral compass. That would make being a vegan a result of what defines you.
Ok, did I go too deep?
The part that makes me sad about the whole thing is that my irritated coworker is right. It's annoying. It's like being accosted on the streets by someone trying to get you to join their religion. There's a time and a place for information and the wrong one is going to accomplish the opposite of what you want.
My fellow vegan talks a lot about her lifestyle choices because she finds the social norm sort of baffling, and I do too. But rather than finding the right opportunity to recommend a recipe or have someone ask about why she doesn't eat meat, she's living up to the stereotype of a vegan. A self righteous and annoying hippie. Those listening to her have shut down.
Does that mean we should keep our mouths shut and quietly listen to someone talk about how they could never give up bacon?
Of course not.
It means being strategic, saying less, but being more effective. It's amazing how warm and receptive people can be when they don't feel they're being judged and when asking questions are encourage.
There is a time for every sort of messaging, whether it be horrifying videos of the cattle industry or free vegan muffins. I just want my fellow vegans to communicate and accomplish what they want when they have an audience.