The 5 stages of a vegan “coming out”


illustration by Glenn McCoy

If you think about becoming a vegan soon or later you will have to tell your relatives, who are mostly likely not vegan themselves, the big news. I will share with you how it looked for us, with telling my French family and Aleks’ Polish one. Needless to say people were not really happy to hear we won’t eat any meat, cheese, or even eggs! So just like in the case of grief and loss (with some differences of course) here is our adapted version of the 5 stages that your relatives will probably go through when you will tell them about your veganism. Of course, these stages will occur and pass much faster than they do in grief or difficult decisions.

Bare in mind, these are just the result of our own experiences and are meant to be read with humor. 

1. Denial

You just disclosed you decided to stop eating meat, dairy, and any other animal products to your family/loved ones/friends. The hardest part would be to convince them that it is not a scam and you are serious. You might also need (in the case of some people) assure them that you are neither high nor drunk and it will not be only for a day or two.

2. Questioning

“But why??” Be prepared, you probably already know why you want to do this, but if (like me) you are not really good at giving convincing arguments when it is needed, well they might have problems to take you seriously. They will ask you also exactly what you can eat or not.

3. Bargaining

Basing on our experience, next comes bargaining. They’ll attempt to appeal to you with things like “You might just try to start vegetarian for a while before, no? ” or “But you can still eat shrimps, or at least eggs if you take the eggs from good farmers”. It can be hard to explain why not eating eggs even if the chickens are outside and well fed.

4. Laughter

I hope you have a good sense of humour, because jokes are coming! My strategy is to make as many jokes myself as I can before people will even think about them. Like “MMh seems good, but we could add some cheese to make it perfect” – my mom falls for that each time!

5. Acceptance

Finally you should arrive at the stage of acceptance. People will probably not understand, but as long as you are not too militant about your veganism people should be able to accept it. Don’t try to convert them (at least right at the start) just do your thing and lead by example 😉

But fair warning: stages 2, 3 and 4 can come back on a daily basis.


What do you think of our stages of a vegan coming out? Did you have similar experiences or maybe for you this happened totally differently? We’d love to hear your stories so leave a comment!

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