I wrote this resource with the help of a vegan friend called Franziska who has had roommates, been a vegan for five years and studied how to resolve conflicts which can occur between vegan and non vegan people.
The rest of it is my own experiences working with vegan roommates, other vegans I interviewed and lots of online research. Veganism is often misunderstood and resolving this, can sort out conflicts between vegan and non vegan people.
If your vegan roommate is aggressive, this article is all that we have learned so far from our experiences and are the best 19 tips we have found to resolve the conflict.
To a vegan person, eating meat is killing and using other products like dairy is animal exploitation. If you saw a human or dog being killed, you would get aggressive, to a vegan these things are the same.
Your roommate may have been teased in the past for being vegan, so is especially defensive.
1. To a vegan person, eating meat is murder
Seeing meat for a vegan person is like seeing where a murder happened, and you are part of it.
For a vegan person, life is life, no matter what kind of animal it came from.
Hurting an animal to a vegan person is the same as hurting a human.
They’re both living, feeling creatures, so naturally seeing you using products, which they see as coming from that, could make your vegan roommate aggressive.
It’s like if you saw someone killing and eating a person or a dog. You would get angry and try to stop it!
I certainly would!
That’s probably the biggest reason why your vegan roommate may get upset when you eat meat or use animal products.
Appreciate what it’s like having vegan views; seeing you eating meat is like seeing you commit murder.
It’s going to make them get mad on some level.
To them, eating dairy, honey, and eggs are like theft. You’re taking what’s not yours. There are also loads of cruel things the farming industry does as part of their processes.
Why vegan people think people eat meat
Vegan people are especially offended and frustrated by people eating meat and using animal products, because they see it as such a trivial human want compared to the damage and killing it does to animals and the environment.
Vegans think that people eat and use animal products only because it’s convenient, a tradition with no basis in a modern world, and because they like the taste.
Vegans see that more people are becoming vegan, and it’s especially popular amongst younger people. In a couple of hundred years as the world modernizes and becomes more wealthy, eating meat will be seen as odd.
All the reasons for eating meat and using animal products are trivial compared to animals losing their lives and being abused to get these products.
2. Don’t say tasteless comments or jokes, even if you think they’re funny
Vegan people have heard them all before, such as ‘why don’t you settle it by wrestling in bacon grease.’ Even subtler and smarter jokes can be offensive.
Humor can be great way of getting a message across, in a way that makes it easier to cope with painful things. However certain topics are still over the line, for example, a parent with a disabled child will not be able to deal with any jokes about that subject, rightfully so.
These kinds of jokes will upset your roommate and could make them feel aggressive towards you. Understandable considering what animal products mean to people with a vegan viewpoint.
You might have made one of these in the past, and didn’t realize it upset your roommate. Maybe they didn’t bother or want to say.
3. Don’t eat meat-derived products in front of your roommate
By exposing your vegan roommate to you eating meat and using animal products, you can hurt their feelings and morals. They could also see it as very disrespectful, considering what a traumatic thing it means to them.
Also for a vegan person to see a meat eater, eat animal products without remorse is disturbing. Even seeing a mental picture of it is upsetting!
Consider eating meat in your room or where they’re not around. It may sound over the top, but from your roommate’s point of view, this gesture may mean a lot.
A bit like how a smoker does their smoking away from non-smokers; they usually do it to protect non-smokers from the smell and smoke. With you
it would be to protect them from the food and sight of you eating it.
4. Out of sight, out of mind
As well as not eating meat and dairy products in front of your roommate, you could do these things as well.
I’m not saying to pretend you’re eating vegan food, but at least not making your roommate see the horrors of you eating animal products, as this could be a traumatic thing to them.
Having these products stored around the parts of the apartment they use and see, is potentially traumatic.
Worse still your roommate needing to clean utensils with animal fat on will be horrific for them.
Separating your utensils and cooking stuff from theirs is a good idea
Vegan people try to make the world better by not eating meat and dairy. If you use a pan and they scrub it, your roommate may see it as making them accomplices to murder.
Pans that are dirty from cooking animal products can also smell, the worst is a pan which someone has used for cooking bacon, the fat on there stinks!
You can see how these would make your vegan roommate angry.
At the very least wash utensils and pans immediately after using, so they don’t have to see them.
The best idea for roommate, maybe if you use separate parts of the kitchen for storing and using all your utensils or cooking stuff. At the very least clean things immediately and impeccably after you’ve used them.
Have a separate mini refrigerator for your animal products
You only need one with space inside equivalent to 6 soda cans. Good ones are available for under $50, as they’re so small.
You can get such a small one, as it only has to carry your meat and dairy, everything else can be in the shared refrigerator. So you don’t need anything as big as a compact refrigerator.
Having a separate mini refrigerator just for your meat products is also good because raw meat in packets can spill, leak, smell and so on.
You could even have it in your room, or a separate part of the apartment, so it’s all totally out of the way.
Separating food in a shared refrigerator
If you can’t use a mini refrigerator because of cost, lack of space or you simply don’t want to, use these smart ways to share a fridge:
- Put your meat in a closed shelf in the refrigerator, so the contents aren’t visible.
- The shelf should also be in the bottom of the refrigerator, so any meat juices in there can’t leak and spill onto your roommate’s food. This is also standard sanitary food hygiene practice when storing uncooked meat.
- The clever bit is by having all your roommate’s vegan things like vegetables and salads at the top of the refrigerator. Your roommate will get used to never having to look down to see all your meat and dairy foods below.
Seeing dairy, meat and other things will probably be an unpleasant experience for your roommate, which is perhaps part of why they’re vegan.
Cooking your meat separately
Mini grills such as the George Foreman worktop ones are great because they’re small, self-contained, relatively cheap, don’t spit the meat juices all over the place and are easy to clean.
If you’re preparing a dish where you cook your meat with the other ingredients, then put it all in a pot and cover it, so the juices don’t spit out of it.
Best to avoid cooking meat in an oven, as the juices always spit out inside the oven somehow, even if you cover it. Doing this is, of course, a small sacrifice, which hopefully your roommate will appreciate.
Maybe cook your meat separately in a covered pan, or a George Foreman type grill and then add it to your dish at a later stage.
Even a tiny smell or mess from meat can be traumatic
Imagine you saw human blood in your kitchen, meat, or some other part of a person, which shows that someone killed them. That’s what it can be like for a vegan person to experience the smell of cooking meat, or see meat around the place.
Turn on the ventilation fan before you start cooking and don’t wait until there’s a smell. Also make sure you cook right under it, so as much of the smell as possible goes up it. Also appreciate that the ventilation fan will never get rid of all of the smell.
Be very careful to clean up every drop of oil that may have spat out of a pan or somewhere when cooking. Clean up as you go along, and don’t leave it for a moment. So there’s never a spill or anything left that your roommate has to experience.
These actions mean there is less of a cause for them to experience meat or dairy products, which will make your vegan roommate aggressive on some level, even if they have excellent self-control.
Even a tiny bit of blood or oil can be traumatic for a vegan person to experience, because of what they believe and it’s not part of their everyday life.
5. Your roommate is aggressive because they’ve been teased so much for being vegan
To your roommate, it can feel like many, or most people hate them for being vegan. Whether it’s the jokes people have told them, which aren’t friendly or funny or all the negative stereotypes and connotations which are commonplace.
Many vegans feel that the majority of people dismiss them as soon as they find out they’re vegan!
It’s probably been hard and painful for your roommate to go through this, and they’re probably defensive because of their previous experiences.
There are some crazy vegan people, who are also not great at communicating, so people think they’re a bit odd.
This is no different to how there are crazy people of all kinds, whether they’re plumbers, realtors, or anything else.
Many people will presume your roommate is one of these extreme vegan people who think you should hug a wolf and so on, and never get to know them properly. This may be a hard problem for your roommate to deal with.
A common problem for vegans is if they say something before people know they’re a vegan it’s viewed favorably. Then as soon as people discover they’re vegan, they see what they say entirely differently!
People feel threatened by them
Many vegans think other people hate them because a vegan lifestyle would take away many of the things people find pleasurable. People who eat animal products don’t want to stop and think veganism could make them do so.
Many vegans think that others in some part of themselves, feel guilty for eating meat, and vegans remind them of this. It makes them question their whole lifestyle, morals, spirituality, health and so on.
It’s a reminder that what they’re doing isn’t right, and by having a vegan as a roommate, they’re showing you this day in, day out.
Hating a vegan is a scapegoat, to make their hate turn away from themselves and towards the vegan person. It’s easier to hate and blame other people, rather than sort out their problems.
Some people hate vegans as they’re different
Some vegans believe that many people hate them because they’re different. These people are intolerant and hate people who are different from them.
From my own experiences, I happen to agree with this view and wish everyone could be more tolerant.
I’m glad to say that I’ve found many people who are tolerant but sadly also found people who have pretended to be but are not.
Often this problem comes with people trying to convert vegan people, usually by trying to get them to eat meat to show how lovely it tastes. To a vegan person, this is nothing more than stupidly trying to coerce or tempt them.
I have found that vegan people are teased more in states and places where there’s an influential culture of eating meat, and less other vegans living there, such as Ohio.
In California, people are on average more tolerant of people being vegan and more vegan people live there.
The smart people who are vegan’s and experience intolerance. See the cause is the other person’s intolerance, which is the other person’s problem, not theirs. Easier said than done though!
Vegans on average are not as overweight as non-vegans. Vegan people need to have healthy lifestyles to make it work, and vegan foods are generally not as fattening.
People can be jealous of vegan people because on average they’re healthier as they eat less fattening food and junk.
You’ve heard the old one, or derivatives of it ‘If I can’t lose more weight than my friends, perhaps I can make them fat.’
Your roommate feels unappreciated for how their choices help the world
Many vegan people feel their life choices are helping the world and the environment.
For example, farming meat creates more greenhouse gases and uses more of the world’s farming land, than food for a vegan diet.
Animals need to be fed so much food that has to be farmed, as vegetables and plants need to be grown to feed to the animals. Then you also need resources to farm the animals
Growing and eating vegetables directly, without the middle stage of giving them to the animals is so much more efficient.
Yet people don’t care and appreciated it.
Try giving your vegan roommate the respect and thanks they believe they deserve. For the planet vegans are heroes of our time, helping make the environment better now and in the future.
Society on average has a very negative attitude to vegans
When Matt Ball did marketing research at the University of Arizona in 2015, into how suffering could be reduced in farming. He found the following:
A survey at the CR Society showed that the general public views vegan and veganism more negatively than immigrants, atheists, asexuals, and homosexuals. Only drug addicts were viewed as being worse.
This negative view is average worse in the right-wing community, who see it as a threat to their way of life.
Another example of this negative view is the chef Anthony Bourdain, who wrote: “Vegetarians are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit, an affront to all I stand for, the pure enjoyment of food.” I can only guess he would be even harsher on vegans.
How to resolve these fears your vegan roommate has, which could make them aggressive
Try your best to make your roommate feel comfortable, by being understanding and showing you’re not a judgemental person.
You may have to do this more than you would with most people, because of your roommate’s experience of non-vegan people. They may at first expect the worst, and you will need to do a lot of reassuring for them to think otherwise.
6. Your vegan roommate is probably sensitive because they’ve suffered from attempts by people trying to make them eat meat
If you look on forums and social networks, you will see how mean meat eaters can be to vegan people.
The discussions aimed at the general public such as on Reddit, usually have more anti-vegan stuff on than pro. The higher number of anti-vegan comments are primarily caused by there being far more non-vegan people than vegan.
These non-vegan people also feel they can be nastier because there are in the majority.
When a vegan person goes to a party and admits to being vegan, they’ll often get criticism, verbal harassment, and ridicule from at least one meat-eating person there.
They’ve probably had people gratuitously eat meat in front of them, to try and wind them up and upset them. Also to try and tempt them into eating meat!
A lot of vegan people have experienced someone trying to change them just by shouting at them. Which, of course, is not going to make them think their knowledge and understanding of meat eating was wrong, and now they should convince them to eat meat and dairy products.
Your vegan roommate may feel that many others hate them for being vegan but don’t say it, they could be right.
On the darker side, your roommate may have had someone sneak meat into their food to try and show that it’s fine to eat meat.
The meat-eating person does this to prove their own belief, that eating meat is excellent for everyone. It’s a horrible experience for a vegan person; not just because of their beliefs about meat, but also because their body is not used to it, as they haven’t eaten it for many years.
Some people have done it to vegans, because they think it doesn’t matter, or don’t care.
A friend of mine was a waitress in a restaurant where the chef put meat in a vegan person’s meal because the chef personally believed it did not matter, make any difference and didn’t care. It was a horrible experience where the diner vomited up the food, and it was upsetting for everyone.
The chef would not come out to speak with the customer, so my friend was left to try and help the customer all by herself. Not that there was much she could do, as the meal had already done the damage.
From your roommate having had experiences such as these, they may be more ready to be aggressive, because their experiences show them that they have to defend themselves.
7. Your roommate is used to being judged by others
Being judged by others is different from malicious nastiness because it’s often done by well-meaning people who don’t agree with veganism, or think it’s nonsense.
Many vegans admit they used to judge vegans negatively before they learned about it, and so understood it. In Western society, we are brought up to eat meat, and with all the doctrines which come from that.
Your vegan roommate is probably used to being judged, is sensitive to it and fed up with it. So you can understand why they can get defensive or aggressive when they feel it happening.
From a vegan point of view, most people use animal products due to their ignorance of the harm caused to animals by doing so. People who eat animal products judge vegans negatively so they can block out their guilt and retain a closed mind.
Most vegans were meat eating people who changed once they investigated the truth, and were honest with themselves about their feelings.
Hopefully, this article is of use, as it shows you the vegan perspective of the situation. So you can see how to treat vegan people with care, due to the negativity they’ve received from other people in the past.
Of course, you may not agree with being vegan, but by understanding their situation and reasons for doing it. You can more easily give your vegan roommate their dignity, plus your affection and respect.
8. Things you could have done which offended your vegan roommate, which you thought were compliments
It’s so easy to misunderstand your vegan roommate’s point of view and needs. You think you’re kind and diplomatic, when in fact you’re the opposite.
You say things, which would make it hard for a vegan person not to get aggressive on some level.
“If you are vegan, as long as you’re a nice person, I don’t care what you do or eat.”
Saying this is not respecting that your roommate is vegan, and their beliefs. Also, you’re saying that as long as they don’t stop you from killing, eating and using animal products yourself, then you don’t have an issue with them.
The wording ‘I don’t care’ is also not useful, as it means you don’t care about them.
Ultimately seeing you eat and use animal products can be deeply painful and traumatic for your roommate, and that’s the hardest thing.
Some vegan people are more fundamental than others
Just like with all beliefs, some vegans are more assertive in how they believe everyone else should be vegan, than others.
With more fundamental vegan people, it can be more challenging to be their roommate if you’re not one as well.
Also, vegans differ in the details of whether certain things are cruel to animals, or not. For example, some believe eating honey is fine, but this is not the majority.
Some people are vegans for health reasons, and so limit their veganism to food. For others, it’s a way of living, so it covers what they wear and everything else as well.
As with people of all beliefs, vegans can be narcissistic, power-mad and can have all the other negative human traits, which you can find anywhere. If your roommate has these problems, you deal with them the same way as you would with anyone, of any belief system.
Vegan people are no different in this regard.
9. Show your roommate this article, to help create a dialogue
If you show your vegan roommate this article, you may be able to work through it together to find solutions.
Your roommate can say his or her thoughts, including where they may disagree with it.
Also showing your roommate that you have read it, demonstrates you care and are doing your best, which is a great way to build trust and create a healthy dialogue.
10. Learn enough you don’t make a fatal mistake
To a vegan person, not understanding what is vegan is fatal, because veganism is needed to stop animals being killed, or at the very least exploited.
Nonetheless, if you show genuine interest, many vegans are happy to explain and not preach why certain things are not vegan.
Giving your roommate something which involves animal products is upsetting, even if it’s by mistake, because the effects on animals from that product are still there. Some people are more tolerant than others, but as the saying goes ‘ignorance of the law is no excuse.’
Also, it may be your mistake, but the animal still suffers.
It’s the same if you store these non-vegan products with your roommate’s food, seeing these products may be upsetting for them.
Examples of things which may seem vegan, but they aren’t
Beer: Often filtered with isinglass, which is tropical fish bladders.
Wine: Filtering agents can include fiber from crustacean shells, milk protein, fish bones, gelatin, blood, and marrow.
Orange juice: Some have vitamin D3 added to them, derived from a chemical process which uses lanolin from animals with wool, such as sheep.
Some orange juice makers also add omega-3, which comes from fish oil and fish gelatin. Tropicana Healthy Heart orange juice has tilapia, sardine, and anchovy in its ingredients list.
Most orange juice manufacturers don’t list all the ingredients, so don’t be surprised if your vegan roommate gets aggressive if you insist they don’t need to squeeze their own. It’s the only way your roommate can know they’re getting genuinely vegan orange juice.
Sugar: In the US, but not in Europe; manufacturers often filter white and brown sugar through animal bones. This doesn’t happen with coconut sugar and maple syrup, so they’re vegan.
Worcestershire sauce: Is often made by fermenting anchovies, there are vegan versions available as well.
Red lipstick and candy: The color often comes from crushed insects, mainly from the cochineal family
Margarine: There are vegan versions, but the normal ones contain hydrogenated fats, and traces of milk proteins, whey, and gelatin.
Chewing gum: Often made using gelatin or stearic acid, which comes from boiling leftover animal skin and bones. The same with marshmallows, gummy bear and products with jelly in. Even candies sometimes surprisingly have gelatin in.
Figs: Only more attentive vegans avoid these, and the issue comes from nature rather than anything humanity does. Female wasps can put their eggs inside a fig, but often can’t escape and then decompose inside. A protein produced by the plant breaks the wasp’s body down into protein, but it’s still part of the fig.
Bread: Manufacturers add L-cysteine to speed up production; it comes from human, duck or hog hair.
Refried beans: Often say they have natural ingredients on the package, which could contain anything. Legally once a manufacturer puts this, they don’t have to reveal what they are.
Peanuts: The ones in packets often have gelatine, so they taste extremely salty.
Pasta: Fresh pasta contains eggs, although often the dried ones don’t.
Sweet and sour sauce: Often contains anchovies.
Crackers: Rice cakes and many other crackers contain milk powder.
The difference between vegan and vegetarian
Vegetarians will eat things that animals produce, such as eggs and dairy products, but not eat things which come from killing animals.
Vegans will not eat, use, or wear anything produced by an animal, as well as by-products from killing animals.
Knowing this will help you get on with your roommate which should improve your relations with them.
Some vegetarians will wear clothes made from animals such as leather, but vegans definitely won’t.
There are also pescatarians, who don’t eat meat such as beef or pork but will eat fish and seafood such as shrimps or clams.
11. You’re aggressive because your feel your roommate is disrespecting you for eating meat
You might think that your roommate’s aggressiveness is coming from nowhere.
Maybe you’re getting aggressive because you feel your roommate is disrespecting you for eating meat, and in turn, they’re getting aggressive with you as well.
You might not be having major explosions of getting mad, but it’s slowly simmering under the surface.
You don’t like the feeling of being made to look bad for eating meat; you know your roommate disrespects you eating meat, or possibly you even feel a bit bad for eating meat.
Perhaps you eat junk food, and your vegan friend is eating healthily as many vegans do. You find that threatening in itself because you don’t want to stop eating junk food, and you don’t like to look bad in comparison for not eating healthily.
Maybe you eat for taste and convenience, which leads you to choose unhealthy things, this is something that makes many vegans despair. Vegans often find non-vegans will eat something because it tastes good, but without giving higher consideration to how healthy it is, nutrition and what ingredients it contains.
The best thing is to respect your roommate; never allow you and them to go down this low path. It’s also a slippery slope that can make things get even worse between you and your roommate.
Resolve this conflict by talking with your roommate with care and understanding. Not by trying and win by one person shouting louder than the other.
You have judged them negatively, so they retaliate by judging you and vice versa.
Maybe they have judged you, and you are retaliating by judging them.
And so on.
It’s very easy to think you don’t want revenge, but it pops out one way or the other. Maybe even as passive aggressiveness. Same for your roommate too.
Feel secure in what you’re eating
The best thing is not to be insecure about what you eat. Then your roommate cannot affect you so much.
If you’re secure with your choices, other people cannot make you insecure about them.
Only you can make yourself feel insecure, as you have free choice.
For that, make the right choices about what you eat, then you will naturally feel secure about them.
To get to there, go on a journey of personal investigation, choice, and learning. So you make choices which work for you, and you’re sure of.
It can be hard to investigate the truth about how animals are treated. There’s a reason slaughterhouses don’t have windows or advertise what happens inside them. Social media and the internet have helped to make some things more transparent, and there are loads of great documentaries out there.
Food is a fundamental thing, it triggers our survival instincts, and we’re often addicted to ingredients such as sugar. It’s easy to get emotional and disturbed about it without even knowing why! Especially if you feel you may be denied things you’re addicted to.
12. Your vegan roommate is trying to convert you into becoming vegan
It’s one thing for your roommate to gently and helpfully suggest something to you that they believe in.
It’s something else if they’re pushy or go on about it when you don’t want them to!
Like with many subjects and beliefs, this is a problem with some vegan people, especially those who are newer to it and think they know everything. I understand that being unwillingly preached to is not fun!
It’s no different from people with other interests of all kinds, such as politics, sport, hobbies, science and so on.
People who are newer to being vegan do this more often, those who have done it for longer realize other people have different opinions, interests and their over-excitement about the whole thing calms down.
When your roommate gets older, they’ll hopefully realize as most people do, that other people have their choices and pushing doesn’t work.
Your roommate maybe getting aggressive when trying and convert you, which is stupid because that never works, and even makes people kick back against it.
You could be so annoyed by it, that you get aggressive with your roommate, then they get aggressive back to you and so on.
Although trying to convert others by preaching, is a reputation sometimes earned by more political vegan groups. Politically motivated people and organisations are using examples of extreme vegan,s as an excuse to advocate the continued use of animal products. It’s a sad and cheap argument against veganism.
You can ask your roommate to stop, firmly if needed but not in a pushy way. If they won’t; the only things I have found work are the following.
a. Tell your roommate that you respect their choices, and they should respect yours.
You are not trying to change your roommate’s ways, and they should do the same.
Your roommate is not in charge of you, can’t tell you how to live and what to eat.
Your vegan roommate may say you are having your choice to eat animal products which hurts animals, but the animal is getting hurt by you doing so and it’s not their choice to be hurt. Eating animals products is robbing animals of their choices.
If your roommate is that assertive and won’t stop, you can’t handle it and the other good points of being their roommate don’t outweigh the bad. The only other solution is to avoid your roommate and lead separate lives in the apartment.
However, that’s not a nice way to live, and you’re missing out on how great it can be living with a compatible roommate.
I’m sorry to say that you may need to change roommate as you aren’t compatible with each other.
b. Unwarranted advice is not fair and welcomed
In the same way that junk mail, unsolicited sales calls, and other things are not fair. So are lectures from your roommate about why you should be vegan that you have not asked for, and said you don’t want.
It’s one thing if you are interested in veganism, or becoming vegan, but very different if you aren’t.
If you live with more than one person, you could have a household meeting and then hopefully the others will back you up when you bring this issue up. Especially if they’ve been having the same problem.
c. Tell your roommate they have crossed the line
Your roommate may be used to telling people his or her views. Fair enough if your roommate believes in them and would love others to do them as well.
Maybe you’re happy to listen to some of their stuff as part of being social and roommates.
However, there’s a line!
The line is your roommate being aggressive, talking about things you’ve said you don’t want to hear and don’t want to talk about.
Maybe your vegan roommate has been aggressive with others and gotten away with it, so they think it’s fine to do it with you too. Once they realize they can’t be like this with you and you hate it, your roommate will hopefully understand what they can and cannot do.
Many people test what they can get away with, and pull back once they’ve gone too far.
13. Some vegan people are more assertive in their views, but most are not
People can be vegan for all different kinds of reasons. If your roommate is vegan for political reasons, such as for stopping the big from abusing the small in society, maybe they’ll be more assertive.
Most vegans are not, as it is very much a pacifist philosophy not to kill things and cause suffering, whatever species or organism they may be.
However, it can still be easy to upset them, which can lead your roommate to react aggressively, just like with anybody.
14. Be open to sometimes eating vegan food with your roommate
Vegan people usually love to make and try new vegan food recipes, talk about it and share them with others, especially since vegan cooking is a developing area in the Western Word.
Be open to trying vegan food, as a meat eater you still need to eat some plants and vegetables. It doesn’t stop you from eating meat and dairy products at other times.
Also, be open to going to vegan restaurants in town. Often vegan restaurants have delicious cooking because they want to get the most out of the ingredients, and vegans especially take pride in promoting their foods. These restaurants are also often fun and trendy places to hang out in.
This open-mindedness will help you knock down walls and build relationships, which can help reduce your vegan roommate’s aggression.
Communal meals and eating food together are great ways to knock down walls and bond!
15. Don’t take it personally
If your roommate disrespects you eating and using animal products, or tries to make you feel guilty about it. It can make you become aggressive.
However it’s not about you, so don’t take it personally.
Your roommate has a problem with using animal products. It’s not about you as a person.
By not making it personal, you can both work through this better as it’s not about you.
16. Tolerate your roommate eating different things, and not accepting food from you
It’s easy to think you are fantastically tolerant, but if your vegan roommate is very sensitive, they may feel awkward if you offer them food and they have to refuse.
It may sound simple, but it’s so easy to do by mistake or without thinking.
Even the minor act of offering your roommate something they have to refuse will be hard for them, and an extra unwelcome challenge. Also, foods with meat or dairy in are so fundamentally against their beliefs, that the very act of you offering them this food may be alarming to them.
If you’re doing a communal meal, you may be annoyed at having to cook a separate special dish for your vegan roommate; the time needed for this and expense.
Don’t mention that it’s been a bother, even in passing. Say that it’s a pleasure, or you will make your roommate feel uncomfortable.
Most vegans are perfectly happy bringing food for themselves to eat and very used to doing so. They also often like sharing it with others.
There are many occurrences of vegan people meeting people of an older generation who take pride in their cooking, and think a vegan person can make an exception as it doesn’t matter that much. Out of politeness and being civil they can diplomatically eat whatever food their host offers. This is painful to witness.
The host then thinks the vegan person is rude or petulant, when for a vegan person no social interaction can compare to animals being killed. On a technical level, most vegans have not eaten meat for a long time, so their stomachs are not used to it and will probably vomit it up, or at best feel very sick.
Of course, tolerance goes both ways, your vegan roommate should be tolerant of you, and you should be tolerant of them. However, although they can be respectful of your choices, they cannot change theirs.
17. Don’t preach to your roommate or try and change them into not being vegan
Don’t preach to your roommate that you don’t agree with being a vegan or even try to say they should eat meat. If they get aggressive, it’s also because they’ve heard this before from so many other people as well.
They’ve been told this either directly or by people believing that they’re subtle, but are rather obvious.
Most people react strongly to being made to change when they don’t want to, whatever the subject! Your roommate is probably no different.
Of course, if you are interested in veganism then you may be fine to ask, but then are you genuinely considering becoming vegan?
18. Be aware of the things your vegan roommate has probably had said to them, by people trying to stop them from being vegan
Of course, you probably know that you should not try to convert your vegan roommate into eating meat and using animal products.
If they don’t want to change, they won’t and will hate you for trying to make them do so. Also if you say these things and are trying to do this, they won’t trust you anymore.
However, it’s very easy to say things to your roommate, which they will see as you doing this.
They’ve almost definitely already heard the following arguments, and think they’re very transparent and obvious. Useful to know, to make sure you don’t repeat them.
Vegan people often talk about them as the things they’re told by non-vegans and are particularly annoying!
a. Don’t say comments about your roommate using any animal products that aren’t vegan
So many products have animal parts in some part of their makeup, or processes used to make them.
Being 100% vegan is very very tough.
It’s easy to make a subtle comment to your roommate that they’re a hypocrite because there’s something they do which is not vegan, such as wearing leather shoes. Having a cat as a pet is not vegan which is a moral dilemma for vegans, as cats are carnivores, and a lot of other animals need to be killed for food to sustain one of them.
Some even go as far as thinking that owning a pet of any kind contradicts with the principles of veganism.
Your roommate would probably like to be 100% vegan with what they eat, wear and other things they may use animal-derived products for. From their point of view, at least they’re killing fewer animals than a non-vegan person does.
b. Don’t say your roommate is a vegan to be trendy
This presumption can be very upsetting for a vegan person.
Of course, maybe some people become vegan to be trendy, rebel, or a whole host of reasons. Standard psychology shows that people do even everyday things for a whole host of subconscious reasons.
However, being a vegan is a hard choice for many, especially if they’re used to enjoy eating meat and using animal products. Many vegans love the smell of bacon, and it can be a hard fight for them not to go back to being a carnivore. They also have to put up with the social friction they can get from non-vegans.
Of course, some vegans don’t like eating meat, so it’s not a problem.
The vast majority of vegans do it because they care about life for all kinds of creatures, even though it’s a massive social hassle for them to do it.
You can see why presumptions such as saying they’re vegan to be trendy, could make your vegan roommate aggressive.
c. Don’t try and justify hunting
Hunting is a massive lifestyle thing and loved by people who do it.
People who hunt have lots of different ideas for why all people should agree with hunting. Such as ‘Animals hunt and kill other creatures, but humans are looked down on when they do it’.
So people who do it say eating meat is part of how nature works. By not being allowed to hunt, humans are being debased lower than even animals.
Vegan people mostly argue that the idea is to evolve and progress, be better than animals and not eating meat is part of leaving that barbarity behind.
Justifying hunting is an argument you’re not going to win with a vegan, best to leave it alone. If this is your view, you’re both on totally different sides of the fence, and it’s best to leave this subject alone if you’re going to get on as roommates.
d, Vegans still kill things
A vegan might step on a bug, kill bacteria, and eating plants, are still killing as they’re alive. These prove the whole thing doesn’t work.
A plant or vegetable is life, how can you eat that.
Vegan people know all this, and it’s something most people who have chosen veganism have thought about. However, they’re still killing less than concerted meat eaters.
Fruitarians only eat fruit that has naturally fallen from the tree, but most vegan people find it isn’t always practical or possible. Just because your roommate isn’t extreme in how they live, doesn’t mean they are wrong about what they have managed to do.
Arguments like this can make your vegan roommate aggressive because they’re obvious, basic and well-trodden old arguments.
e, You don’t get all the food requirements you need from only eating plants and vegetables. You need to eat meat and dairy.
Vegan people have to be careful to eat the right plants and non-animal products, but it’s still possible, and vegan people are the proof.
The biggest issue meat eaters are concerned about with a vegan lifestyle is getting enough protein, but you can get this by eating correctly, such as the vegetables which have lots of protein.
f, Some animals are pests that need to be gotten rid of
Badgers damage crops, as do rabbits if their numbers get too great. If your vegan roommate lived in a farming community and saw this first hand, they would see this.
If you kill food, you must eat it, as otherwise, it’s a waste.
Vegan beliefs are that we should live with this issue and not killing animals is worth that price. People don’t eat badgers after killing them, which makes it even worse.
g, In the old times you needed to be a carnivore to survive
People who do survival programs like Bear Grylls eat meat. When living in the wild, you have to do it to survive.
In the old days, you had to eat meat; there wasn’t enough food otherwise to survive and being vegan was an impossible luxury.
It’s just the weak people who get beaten up by the stronger tribes, and they’re the ones who don’t eat meat.
There’s even the saying that the word vegetarian, is from the ancient word “Veget,” which is Latin for “Bad Hunter.”
A vegan view is that we have progressed from savagery, know more about diet and nutrition, have enough plant food resources, and are now more sophisticated in how we live.
h. It’s the meat industry using cruel, I don’t condone it
The meat-eater is saying that if farms behaved humanely, then the animals wouldn’t suffer. The methods farms use such as having hens in cramped and horrible conditions, is not something they support.
“I don’t mistreat animals; that’s just some of the farmers, not me.”
The vegan view is by buying meat you are supporting these things; you are the ones paying the system, so it exists. When you buy a piece of meat, you have paid for that process and so are supporting it. In the same way that you support a charity or political organization by funding it.
That’s the practical reality, and anything else is just self-denial so meat eaters can live with themselves.
If meat eaters knew more about what went on in meat and dairy production, then they would stop eating these products. For example, the dairy industry separates 97% of all calves from their mothers within 24 hours of being born.
i, You can kill animals humanely
You are still killing animals, and that’s that.
Animal farming rules in America, Canada, and Europe are stricter, but other countries have fewer rules, so are often doing crueler things to animals.
As international trade moves the meat around the globe, it’s often farmed in countries different from where it’s consumed, in practice, there’s usually no real accountability.
Most of the time you don’t know which country the meat you’re eating came from, especially when eating in a restaurant.
When buying pre-packaged food in a store, it may say where it was processed, but not the where the individual ingredients were farmed.
The European 2013 Horse Meat Scandal, where many beef products were found to contain horsemeat, showed how little the controls often mean when it comes to international trade. There were lots of parties involved between the UK consumer and Romanian abattoir, so no one knew everything that was going on.
Even in countries with stronger regulations, farms and abattoirs are often found to be flouting the rules on regular occasions; and this is just when they’re found out.
To a vegan, the idea of an abattoir, which kills animals for food is as bad as a place which would kill humans.
j. Vegans can’t tell that some animals are less intelligent
This is almost prehistoric, going back to where people thought some animals don’t even have feelings.
It’s also an excuse that it’s fine to eat an animal because it’s less intelligent, and a way of distancing yourself from eating a living animal.
Vegan people say that the animals of differing intelligence are still conscious and alive; that’s enough to warrant not murdering them.
You don’t eat people who are less intelligent!
You shouldn’t squish a bug as you don’t have to.
Even chickens can be trained to do complex tasks, and have sophisticated social hierarchies.
Vegans look at how humans and animals are alike, such as they’re both alive and sentient (which means they can perceive or feel things). They don’t look at how we are different, because that’s a way of justifying eating creatures deemed as ‘other.’
h. You can’t get all the nutrients you need without eating meat
There are loads of people who have said this, but proper research and science have proven them to be incorrect. As long as people eat the correct things, they can get all the nutrients they need.
Your vegan roommate probably knows far more about vegan nutrition than you do, especially if they’ve been vegan for a long time. They have had to study it to be able to maintain a vegan diet which works. So arguing with your vegan roommate on this one is probably won’t work in your favor.
Anything is dangerous if not done correctly.
The vegan view is that vegans usually are healthier than people who eat meat.
Dairy products have saturated fat. Animal products have cholesterol, and bio-accumulated toxins and so on.
Every American child over three years old has some aortic fatty streaks, which is where cardiovascular disease starts. This problem can be reversed with a vegan diet.
Grass fed free-range meat, which is the healthiest kind is still a class 2 carcinogen.
Most vegans are more careful to be healthy, such as not eating processed foods, exercising more and not smoking. However, tests comparing meat-eating people and vegans that are equally health-conscious, in terms of exercising a similar amount, etc., showed better results in the vegan group.
Vegans also need this knowledge when buying products to know if they’re genuinely vegan, as so many foods use animal products at some surprising point in the manufacturing process.
For example, wineries use egg white to filter out the sediment in the wine, and relatively few restaurants stock vegan wines or know what makes them vegan. It’s common for serving staff at restaurants to say wine is vegan because they don’t imagine it wouldn’t be.
19. Don’t use things about your roommate’s personal behavior to invalidate veganism
If your vegan roommate is rude to you, it doesn’t invalidate veganism.
Saying that can very easily upset your roommate and you may not even know it. Your roommate may see implications of what you have said, that you haven’t.
If your roommate has a personality or other characteristic you may not like, it probably has nothing to do with them being vegan.
If you have discussions with your roommate about being vegan, respect the main points of why they choose to be so. Don’t make it about personal stuff, as it’s very easy and tempting to try and do these low things to try and win your case.
a, Your roommate constantly talks about being vegan
Maybe you talk about the things you like too. Likewise, you have friends who talk about their obsessions as well.
Just because a person talks about science a lot, doesn’t invalidate science — the same with getting a new car, your baseball team and so on.
Often someone new to being vegan can’t stop talking about it and sharing their experiences, as they’re so excited about it. This is the same for many new things people do, and eventually, they talk about it less as it becomes more normal for them, and realize others may not be interested.
b, Vegan people should not mention they’re vegan
People sometimes tell vegans that they shouldn’t admit to being vegan when they’re at social events and so on.
Of course, these people say that vegans can admit to being so when they’re asked about food, like if it’s a wedding invitation and they’re asked about any dietary requirements.
It’s shaming someone to say they should not say that they’re vegan and that it bothers you. It’s of course very upsetting for a vegan person to hear and invalidating veganism. Besides most social interactions involve food or drink.?)
c, Vegans are hostile and aggressive which justifies eating meat
The vegan view is that eating meat is so harmful, that nothing a human can say to another human, such as arguing, can compare to what’s caused to animals by eating animal products. To many it’s justified to argue, even if it hurts a non-vegans’ feelings, if it’s to make a case for the animals
With something is so serious as killing animals for food, how can you expect vegan people not to be a bit assertive about it.
Just because you may not get on with your roommate, doesn’t justify eating meat, which to a vegan person is murder. So you can’t say that being vegan is invalid because you find your roommate aggressive.
Of course not every vegan person is like that. Just like in all spheres of life, many choose to stay out of anything that could cause social conflict.