How to Make Vegan Friends
When I started Vegan in NJ, my only vegan friend was my husband (who had gone vegan a few months after I did). I started it because I didn't know where to eat or what to do and I figured I could post and repost things to keep a catalog of vegan things. Clearly a lot of you were also interested in that because the account started gaining followers. The thing people were the most excited about was that there was another local vegan and that there was potential to make a new vegan friend.
My DMs were filled with people just wanted to talk about vegan things, which was awesome because I was new and I wanted to talk about vegan things! 🥰 I know my friends were sick of me, so I needed like minded people to talk to. Within a few months, I started a Facebook group and we started doing meetups, so we could have vegan friends in real life instead of just on the internet.
You don't have to start your own meetup group to make vegan friends, but honestly, it does help! There's a lot of groups on Facebook you could join to meet people (such as Vegan 101 or our group, Vegan in NJ). Some of them do in person meetups on occasion, such as Vegan 101, while others are just a good place to interact with other vegans or future vegans. Groups that specialize in certain areas, like our group, definitely help because you're more likely to meet someone local to you. A great ice breaker is always asking who wants to try out a vegan restaurant. 🍴 I'm sure you already know, but vegans will absolutely travel for food!
Meetup.com is another great platform for meeting vegans because this platform literally specializes in meeting up with people! Of course, Vegan in NJ is on meetup, so I recommend you join us there! We host bi-weekly game nights online, but we also meet in person to volunteer at 3 different animal sanctuaries monthly and we try to do one potluck per month. A few other meetups do get thrown in along the way, such as restaurant outings or a beach clean up.
Another favorite group of mine is Fun-Loving Vegans on Meetup. They mostly host meetups in Monmouth County, but have been known to stray a little further every now and again. I've met so many vegans between both groups!
I did mention that we host sanctuary volunteer days in our Meetup group, however, you can volunteer at most animal sanctuaries on our own and that's a great way to meet others! Head over to our sanctuary listing on this site to see if there are any sanctuaries that you want to visit. Make sure to check their website and call them because there are a few that are not accepting volunteers or visitors. For instance, Rancho Relaxo does not, but they do host a couple visitor days throughout the year. Freedom Farm Animal Rescue hosts monthly visitor days (they post about these on their social media). Skylands Animal Sanctuary and Rescue does not have visitor days, but they accept volunteers daily. Every sanctuary is different, so I recommend calling to find out!
Getting into activism is always needed and so many activist groups would love to have you be part of their team! I try to add any events to the Vegan in NJ calendar when I see them, but it's likely I miss a whole lot (please send your events to me, if you have them!). Some great pages to follow on Facebook for activism events in NJ area Vegan Activist Alliance, which does street activism; Animal Protection League of New Jersey (APLNJ), which gets involved in the politics and the behind the scenes activism (petitioning, emailing, calling, etc), and targeted organizations like Stop SeaQuest Woodbridge, which is pretty self explanatory.
Making vegan friends is really no different than making friends, in general, but honestly, this is one of the biggest concerns a lot of vegans have with being vegan. I know none of us regret our decision to change our lifestyle, but it can get lonely sometimes when you're your own vegan friend. We need our vegan friends, so we can not have a breakdown about animal agriculture every time our non-vegan friend eats a mozzarella stick. We can rant about it to our vegan friends later instead of raging on our non-vegan friend. Trust me, it's better for our mental health! 😂