Not saying no- What would you do?

It had been about 4 months since I stopped eating meat. Surprisingly, there were a lot of judgemental eye-rolls and sarcastic comments thrown my way.


I am not conversant on ultra spiritual lifestyles and planet-saving. I won’t lecture on something I know nothing about. My taste has simply changed.


I was invited to a dinner. I presumed they already knew that I didn’t eat meat, maybe they didn’t. Nevertheless, part of the feast was chicken cooked into the tenderest of delights for 6 hours.


I didn’t know if this was a genuine misunderstanding or a test of my vegetarian activism.


Either way, my host laboured and prepared a meal for hours. How could I dismiss precious and irreplaceable time that a person spent making food for me?


I ate chicken for 26 years, I can do it again. It’s fine. I unconvincingly thought to myself.


So I did.


Dinner was well-cooked, but it didn’t particularly engage my taste buds in an exciting dance of flavour and nutrition. I was very aware of the fact that it was dead flesh.


I hadn’t had meat in months, subsequently, I started feeling queazy almost instantly.


The rest of the night, we chattered and laughed. But all the while, I was distracted, battling waves of nausea. Suppressing bubbles of half-digested food crawling up my throat. 


Don’t throw up, don’t throw up. I commanded my body. Just wait until you get home.

The rest of the evening was a tangled struggle of biology and mental will. A shaky wrestle between involuntary repulsions and social urges. The conscious mind rebuking the deep-rooted impulse to please people. 

I didn’t preach or scold. I didn’t flinch or wince. I didn’t say no.

I hardly ever say no. 

Have you ever had a similar experience? What would you have done if you were in my shoes?

20 Responses

  1. Maybe turned it down flatly, but social constructs are weird in that way. They can pressure us to behave in ways we wouldn’t typically simply to avoid upending the tea table a little.

    I’m glad to hear you aren’t the judging type. I still eat meat and have ran into individuals who were very much as you described. They were some of the most unpleasant people I’ve ever had the displeasure to speak to.

    1. What people eat is their own business. It’s a shame this type of people have clouded everyone’s judgement. I didn’t know how much people despised vegetarians until I received the dirty looks myself. JP Sears on YouTube does a brilliant sarcastic depiction of this issue.

  2. I would have done the same. It does feel disrespectful turning down a meal that was cooked with such care. Maybe, you should be more vocal about your eating preferences the next time you get invited for dinner.

    1. It was a little complicated. Before that day, they have asked me in passing a few times if I don’t eat meat, and I said no. I presumed they knew. But I did tell them again after this dinner, and now we both know that we know. 😀

  3. I think that it was very noble of you to eat the chicken. Too bad that it made you feel so sick afterwards. Maybe make sure to let the hostess know that you are vegetarian next time you are invited out to a dinner.

  4. I have been in slightly similar situations and it is sad that sometimes it just doesn’t feel worth it to draw attention to yourself and explain why you aren’t eating the same as everyone else, although I’ve always regretted afterwards. Hearing your description of how the chicken affected you might possibly change the way I look at it next time it is offered to me.

    “I hardly ever say no.” Yup.

  5. Tough call! Sorry that it made you feel sick. 🙁 I commend you for being a vegetarian. I’ve tried. I have stopped eating pork. I saw a documentary about how the pigs are killed. It was horrible!!! I do love bacon, though! Pigs are very intelligent, too! Just can’t stop thinking about them , when ordering a BLT. Now I eat the L & the T, but pass on the B! You’re a good person! You just didn’t want to rock the boat! Loved reading your post, today! As always….thanks for sharing. 🙂

    1. Thanks so much xx For me, it’s not a conscious effort so I don’t really sacrifice anything. You are a great person, doesn’t matter what you eat. Please don’t be hard on yourself.

  6. I too would have done the same, if that dish is the only thing they have made for you, it contains their love, it’s very disrespectful to not eat it. Don’t feel bar about it, you took care about someone’s feelings and that’s good 😊

  7. Maybe they thought you’d be able to fill up on side dishes?

    I’m on a relatively strict paleo diet and have done a couple rounds of Whole30. My family knows about it and sometimes they try to make food that’s compliant, other times they do things like give me a box of candy in the middle of 30 days without sugar…

    Now, when they invite me over, I ask what’s for dinner (and sometimes how they plan to cook it) and I take food with me almost all the time. I can always leave it in the fridge if I don’t need it but it’s a pain being hungry with few options to eat.

    Again, this is my family so it’s pretty casual and I may go over for dinner and end up being there for 5-6 hours… Friends or acquaintances would be a bit different. On Whole30, it’s easier to be the one to cook than to be a guest.

    1. ahh that so nice. It’s a good idea to throw diner parties from now on instead of going for dinner! Maybe one day when I live in a bigger apartment.

      In my story, that was the only food that was made for dinner and it took them hours to prepare, that’s why I just couldn’t not eat it.

  8. Even as an ex-people pleaser, I never did anything that I didn’t really want to do. Yes I was talked into a few things, but I have refused many meals or dishes just because I was not in the mood for it. If anyone is “hurt” because of this, they are very self centered and don’t care about others’ feelings. I was always suspect of any “pushers.”

    1. That’s great that you were an “ex” people-pleaser. I am working on it too, sometimes the shy girl in me resurfaces though.

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