5 Annoying Questions Your Family Will Probably Ask Over the Holidays

Did they seriously just ask that? Here's how to deal with it.
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Color Code Your Veggies!

4. “Why don’t you eat meat?”

This question can come from two distinctly different places—either they’re truly curious as to what led you to become a vegetarian or else it’s a passive-aggressive verbal jab from the cook, aka “I slaved in the kitchen for two solid days and you’re not going to eat my delicious turkey from my beloved grandmother’s recipe?”

How to handle it: Try to judge the hidden meaning. If the person isn’t close to you, they may just want to get to know you better. In that case, you can simply respond: “’It’s a personal choice I made,’” suggests Wallin. If they ask you to elaborate, feel free to briefly share your reasoning. “My response is, ‘I don’t eat tortured animals,’” says Sbarra. “But you could say there are a lot of really good reasons not to eat meat and if you want me to email you some information I’d be happy to do so.”

If the meat question is being asked by an ego-wounded cook, try thinking about where the person is coming from. “If someone’s self-worth is tied to her cooking ability and you don’t eat her turkey, then that’s a slap in the face because it’s important to her,” says Kubiak. But by no means should you abandon your no-meat policy for her. “If she’s looking for validation that she’s a great cook, you can say, ‘I can’t participate in the meat dishes, but I’m going to load up on this and that and it all looks delicious,’” he says. “Hopefully, you can stroke her ego by commenting on the other foods.”

Adds Sbarra, “It’s important to not make it a power struggle and instead express appreciation.”

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