Did you recently switch to veganism? Are you struggling to connect with like-minded folks that can relate to your new lifestyle choice? At first, veganism can feel incredibly isolating; as if you are the only one with the blinders off. A lifestyle switcheroo is never easy, especially when you go from mainstream to alternative. But the transition can be made much smoother if you have a community of vegans to support you.
When I first transitioned to veganism in my early 20s, I felt like a ‘weirdo’. All of a sudden, I set myself apart from the pack and found myself alone with a new and exciting (albeit daunting) lifestyle. I have been a vegan since early 2008, and in the last six-plus vegan years, the Internet has been a wonderful way for me to connect with other vegans. In fact, I currently work from home for a small vegan company, and write for several online vegan publications. The advent of the Internet has made connecting with like-minded people possible, and I have utilized it over the last several years to my advantage.
Below are five ways to connect with other vegans in real life and online:
1. Facebook groups
Facebook isn’t just for status updating and profile stalking. There are plenty of Facebook groups worth sifting through if you are looking for some vegan friends. Making online connections has the ability to create feelings of intimacy and connectedness, even if group members are not located in the same geographic location. Facebook is a great place to get your feet wet if you are a little shy, too. After a successful online connection, you can graduate to real life meet-ups.
2. Host a vegan potluck
As soon as you meet a few sage and established vegans, ask them to bring some of their vegan friends over to your place for a potluck, an informal dinner party where everyone contributes a dish. Not only will you be able to connect with other vegans, but you can also swap recipes and get ideas for new vegan dishes. You can even do a themed potluck where everyone brings a raw vegan dessert or a Mexican inspired vegan dish. Throw in a fun dress code and you’ve got yourself a perfect party!
3. Vegan meet-ups
Meetup.com is a great resource for local vegan hangouts. Just enter your location and search for a vegan group near you. You may have to travel a little bit, but potential vegan friends are worth the trip. If there are no vegan meet-ups near you, don’t be afraid to start one. Take the initiative if meeting like-minded individuals is important to you. What do you have to lose? Nothing. You just stand to gain a group of vegan friends.
4. Veggie dating sites
If you are in a relationship, this one is not really for you. But if you are single, why not sign up for a vegan dating site?
Even if sparks don’t fly, at least you’ll be open to possibilities and friendships that may result from your willingness to put yourself out there. Be warm, be welcoming and be your fabulous vegan self. Who wouldn’t love you?
5. Hangout at Vegan Hotspots
Vegans predictably hang out at places like your local juice bar, vegan restaurants, meditation groups, yoga studios, environmental groups, farmers’ market, animal shelters, animal activist groups and co-op. It’s not guaranteed that everyone frequenting these places will be vegan, but the chances that you will run into an animal-loving, plant-passionate person are much higher than at your local supermarket or fast food joint.
Pop into one of these establishments this week and be extroverted and outgoing. You never know whom you will run into. Your next vegan best friend could be in line behind you waiting for an organic green juice or coconut milk latte.
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