Social Question

Spinel's avatar

How to tell your vegetarian friend that you don't want to discuss that while eating?

Asked by Spinel (3220 points ) January 8th, 2010

I have an acquaintance I get together with occasionally. She is a dedicated vegetarian and has made it her pet project to convert me from my omnivorous habits. I’m fine with it all really….except for one tendency of hers: she brings up the darker side of the meat industry while I have a half eaten hamburger or hotdog on my plate.

I know its an issue and one worth discussing…and I am happy to discuss it outside of mealtimes. So, what’s a polite way to tell her to “shush it” during lunch (preferably without destroying the relationship)?”

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30 Answers

pjanaway's avatar

Just say you don’t want to talk about it. Or change the subject.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

The reason she is purposely bringing it up at that moment is to get the most effect out of her comments. I agree with @pjanaway that you should just change the subject.

dpworkin's avatar

Ask her if she knows that the brussels sprouts screamed as they were being slaughtered for harvest.

galileogirl's avatar

Friend, if you wish to continue to socialize with me, you will have to stop trying to shove vegetarianism down my throat-literally!

If your friend doesn’t stop-stop seeing her socially, There are billions of possible replacements out there

dpworkin's avatar

the old carl sagan method, eh, @galileogirl?

Merriment's avatar

I’d tell her directly that I would be happy to discuss her “beef” with the meat eaters of the world just not over my meal.

If she can’t respect that she is more dedicated to trying to gross you out of eating meat than she is in sharing a meal with a friend.

So how great a friend could she be?

Another option would be to bring up all the hideous e-coli incidents tied to tainted lettuce and spinach recently. E-coli that is believed to be traceable back to farm workers shitting in the fields.

galileogirl's avatar

@Merriment The CA spinach recall was actually traced to runoff from cattle in a neighboring field into an irrigation ditch

eponymoushipster's avatar

see, me, what i’d do, i’d really chomp down on that hot dog, and make grunting noises while i did that. then i’d say something to the effect of “mmm….i bet this hot dog’s parents tasted good too!”.

then i’d order the ribs.

SeventhSense's avatar

@Merriment
E-coli that is believed to be traceable back to farm workers shitting in the fields
That actually would raise a red flag as to the agenda behind that smear campaign..no pun intended

eponymoushipster's avatar

tell her you’ll eat as much spinach as she does beef.

knitfroggy's avatar

Your friend should really respect your choice to eat meat just as I’m guessing you respect her choice to not eat meat. I would tell her as much next time she brought it up. can’t stand people who try to force their agenda on me. I personally wouldn’t be able to lunch with this person if it continued.

octopussy's avatar

Laugh it off by saying ‘when they come up with a vegetable that tastes as good as this succulent hamburger, I will happily become a vegetarian’

Merriment's avatar

@galileogirl – yes, I do realize that. And an iceberg lettuce e-coli outbreak several years ago was suspected to have been caused by the introduction of human fecal material into the fields. Did a worker drop trou and do it in the field? World may never know. But somehow enough human poopie got in there to make people sick.

Problem with laying it off on cattle poopie is the staunch vegetarian would probably defend it’s right to live and shit freely….even if it’s on the food :)

@SeventhSense – I’m not quite sure what you mean by your comment? Could you clarify?

daemonelson's avatar

Next time she’s chowing down on a salad, tell her the evils of the GM vegetable industry. How many thousands of plants die in the cruelest manners imaginable, just so she can appease her appetite?

oratio's avatar

I would tell ask her to actually show some respect for your feelings as a friend as well as her concern for your eating habits.

@Merriment
E-coli that is believed to be traceable back to farm workers shitting in the fields

Of course it’s possible. But E-Coli is present in cow shit, and many sources of bio waste is used as a fertilizer. It doesn’t seem likely to me that this would be the reason. Do you have a credible source for that?

mattbrowne's avatar

You could bring up the darker side of wild animal life. Many domestic animals get really good care. Plenty to eat. They even get a vet when sick. The wild is quite brutal. Lot’s of starvation, misery and disease. And it could get worse with climate change.

Meat allowed people to survive the ice age or other spells of harsh climate. It’s the reason we are omnivores and not herbivores. Still, unethical behavior of the meat industry should be discussed. After the meal.

dpworkin's avatar

I’m guessing that @Merriment‘s source is someone’s racist fantasy that @Merriment bought into.

Velvetinenut's avatar

You can tell her that you will sponsor the slaughter of x number of chickens, ducks, or any animal for a great Carnivore BBQ (no veggies allowed) AND dedicate it to her the next time she brings up her beef when you are having your meat.

I constantly tell my vegetarian friend that while I love my meats, I love my veggies as well. And she accepts that.

SeventhSense's avatar

@Merriment
I wasn’t questioning your motives but there’s a long history in this country especially where major public relations are at stake to blame something on a dis-empowered minority with little likelihood to create a backlash. The desired result which would be to remove culpability from the business owner. What lawyers like to do, (sorry another unfortunate pun) is throw out a ton of shit at the wall in the form of accusations and hope that some of it sticks. The farm will incur lawsuits but they may be less if they can claim that they couldn’t have prevented it.
I wasn’t saying that your intent was in question.

But in this case the trace can be found on neighboring farms which were no doubt assaulted with a barrage of lawsuits.

From the New York Times Op Ed Contributor Nina Planck, September 2, 2006

First, some basic facts about this usually harmless bacterium: E. coli is abundant in the digestive systems of healthy cattle and humans, and if your potato salad happened to be carrying the average E. coli, the acid in your gut is usually enough to kill it.

But the villain in this outbreak, E. coli O157:H7, is far scarier, at least for humans. Your stomach juices are not strong enough to kill this acid-loving bacterium, which is why it’s more likely than other members of the E. coli family to produce abdominal cramps, diarrhea, fever and, in rare cases, fatal kidney failure.

Where does this particularly virulent strain come from? It’s not found in the intestinal tracts of cattle raised on their natural diet of grass, hay and other fibrous forage. No, O157 thrives in a new — that is, recent in the history of animal diets — biological niche: the unnaturally acidic stomachs of beef and dairy cattle fed on grain, the typical ration on most industrial farms. It’s the infected manure from these grain-fed cattle that contaminates the groundwater and spreads the bacteria to produce, like spinach, growing on neighboring farms.

Merriment's avatar

@pdworkin – You’d be guessing off the mark in that case.

The iceberg lettuce e-coli outbreak I am speaking of occurred in Norway in around 1994.

And the strain of the virus was determined by scientists to be carried only by humans and higher primates. Of course, it could be that some apes went ape shit in the fields but I don’t think it’s likely.

PC is great, but you may want to check your data before you accuse someone of being racist or believing racist propaganda

Merriment's avatar

@SeventhSense – Thanks for elaborating. I didn’t get the connection you were making with the smear campaign because I wasn’t even thinking about the “blame the migrant workers” or “blame the small businessman” when I typed my original answer. I was, as noted to @pdworkin referring to a case in Norway, 1994. Where either “higher primates” or “not so lofty humans” contributed via their feces to the contamination of fields.

So you are right, it wasn’t my intent. And I appreciate your not jumping to that conclusion. So easy to strain something when one jumps to a conclusion :)

SeventhSense's avatar

Here’s a little more on human waste. In China there are approximately 5,000,000 households who use vegetable, scraps and even human waste quite effectively as fertilizer. Sometimes we don’t realize how good we have it in the west. It would certainly make me pause before wading through a rice paddy.

dpworkin's avatar

I forget all about that 1994 Norwegian outbreak. My apologies.

Merriment's avatar

@pdworkin – Thank you. I appreciate it.

Merriment's avatar

@SeventhSense – It makes you wonder why there aren’t more outbreaks. I can only assume that the same people who fertilized those fields are eating the harvest and maybe that offers some immunity? I’m not scientific enough to figure it all out :)

SeventhSense's avatar

I think it’s the way it’s processed in the tanks. But in all honesty, fecal matter is probably the best fertilizer on the planet. It’s worked for billions of years flawlessly.

Merriment's avatar

I’m sure our immune systems have gotten sissified along with the rest of our selves. I remember being able to eat things that were just shy of science experiment fodder as a younger person. Now if it’s the least bit off I can get really ill.

Arisztid's avatar

I am a bit of an anthill kicker and I have worked in the medical field since 1982. I am used to the most amazing discussions during a meal.

What I would do is just stare with interest at her as I visibly enjoy my meal while she goes on. I do not like that kind of thing, however, not giving her the reaction she wants is going to discourage her. Due to what I do for a living, I can turn off reaction to the most disgusting things imaginable… it is part of my job. Then, when she is eating her meal, I would start telling her some of my work stories.

As she turned the most amazing shade of green, I would point out that, if she does not like me trying to make her sick during her meal, other people would not either. If she thinks it is rude of me to tell these stories, she should look at herself. “Yes, I know you are making a point and I am willing to listen to you. However, there is no need to be rude while doing so.”

Or you could tell her that you are not going to have her over or be around her while you are eating unless she desists.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I would bring it up to her, not while she’s doing it, but at the point of the suggestion to eat together. You could tell her you enjoy and value her friendship but don’t enjoy sharing meals with her because of her comments, nothing she is going to say is going to convert you to vegetarianism.

dee1313's avatar

1) Some people can’t live a vegetarian lifestyle and be healthy. It can be hard to get nutrients you normally get from meat, etc, if you don’t like the “animal friendly” substitutes.
2) Tell her to buy you lunch if she’s going to try to gross you out of eating yours.
3) And that she supports the killing of little rodents as her wheat, soy, etc is harvested (I would look up that up before to make sure its right. I don’t have a overbearing veggie friend, so I haven’t bothered).
4) How come animals can eat each other, but we can’t eat them? I hardly think a cheetah is going to humanely kill an antelope.
5) Tell her she’d do more good for the animals if she attacked the meat industry and not your eating habits. What you eat is a personal choice, and that darker side won’t go away just because she succeeds in grossing you out.
6) Does she eat eggs? Sounds like she only goes after meat. Give her horror stories about how they treat hens while she’s trying to eat her breakfast.

Of course, first, tell her how you feel. You seem open to her opinions, but it is rude of her to try to gross you out of your meal. If she wont listen, then think about the above, or flat out refuse to eat with her.

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