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Nov 20, 2012 05:57 PM

Rude or Polite: Another Thanksgiving Family Debate.

So I have a question that gets debated with my family every holiday and it never ends pretty. Is it rude to point out that a person is vegetarian/vegan to another person? My husband, my adult siblings, and I are vegetarian/vegan (their are vegetarian and I am vegan). When we meet up with other family members they like to tell other people about our eating habits. For example, I went to get my hair cut with some of my family and after I got my hair cut, the hairstylist told us to have a nice Thanksgiving and eat a lot of turkey. I was polite and said thank you, you have a nice Thanksgiving as well. The other members of my family were not so polite and said "Well actually we are having a vegan Thanksgiving because she does not eat turkey." I find this rude and very awkward for the person who did not know I was a vegan, the other family members do not see it as such. This happens all the times in other situations (dining and non-dining) too, I have asked them to stop but to no avail and usually they blow up in my face and make a loud outburst. So what do you all think? It is rude? Does it matter? If you are the innocent bystander making polite conversation, would it make you feel uncomfortable? Maybe for once this matter can be settled.

Thank you for answering, and everyone enjoy the holidays! May your inevitable family blow-ups not cause to much drama. :)

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    1. It is odd to feel the need to tell the world about someone else's eating habits when it doesn't concern them. I'd wonder about their reasoning. Is the holiday meal totally vegan in deference to the most restrictive diner or is it a mixed meal with something for all? Perhaps they're protesting having to forgo the traditional meal for your sake? I can see pointing it out to forgetful family members when you're making a mixed feast, "Uh, no Grandma...Sarah can't have the salad because you put cheese in it." but bringing it up in public is borderline hostile. I hope you have a nice Thanksgiving in spite of your family!

      2 Replies
      1. re: Jeri L

        "tell the world about someone else's eating habits when it doesn't concern them"

        The Op, with a group of the people who would be eating Thanksgiving with her is told by someone to "eat lots of turkey". Somone among that group says 'No, we aren't having turkey, OP is a vegan so we all eat vegan'. Seems to me an appropriate and called for response in a non-private conversation.

        "borderline hostile"? Dangerous world for you isn't it?

        1. re: Jeri L

          so, they're also passive-aggressive within the family; that comment would do nothing but make granma wonder, hurt

        2. Rude, especially since you've made your feelings on the matter clear. But I doubt they will get it if they haven't by now.

          1. If I was an innocent bystander I would not feel uncomfortable. After all it's YOUR family..:-)

            1. It is rather rude in my opinion. especially since a lot of people can get turned off by the whole "vegetarian"/"vegan" label because some may feel you are trying to sound better than someone who eats meat--which can happen from time to time unfortunatley. and in the context you mentioned above its kind of impolite to correct someone like that. like jeri l. mentioned it sounds hostile in public...if i was an "innocent" bystander i would feel awkward im sure.