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Daddypotamus: How Do You Socialize and Not Compromise?

on April 10 | in Friendship | by | with 13 Comments

Sunday brunch at the park with friends.

One of the greatest challenges we organic, unprocessed foodies face is socializing. Nothing kills a friendship buzz like a friend who “can’t” eat anywhere because everything served is “too toxic.” I mean, hey, toxins are bad. But having lived for a time with a natural foods family as a teenager, I know how it feels to be looked down upon and treated like a leper (Dr. Pepper was forbidden at the dinner table). Those strong convictions can make for some really undesirable conversations.

If you’re not the Haggertons, then the entire known universe isn’t trying to beat down your door to ask you questions about health, food, and parenting. That means you have (gasp) OTHER  conversations with people who DON’T share the same exact values as you. But the easiest and most common place to meet is at a restaurant and chat over a meal. So what do you do?

The Question Remains

When your principles won’t allow you to eat at Chili’s, On the Border, BJ’s, or a hundred other local restaurants, how do you manage to mingle with other families in your area? After all, there are only so many times you can turn down invitations to eat before the invites dry up. People get the wrong message. Without a decent explanation, all they hear is “Thanks, but I’m just not that into you.”

Let’s face it: even WITH a decent explanation, they’ll probably think you’re a total freakshow. The joys of being different. My well of creativity is near dry, so let’s get on with the obvious alternatives.

Hang Out Alternatives

  1. Cook food your family can eat and invite your friends over.
  2. Find local restaurants you approve of and invite friends to join you.
  3. Meet at a coffee shop instead. It’s not as easy to do entire family gatherings, perhaps, but you skip the whole restaurant scenario.
  4. Find other things to do as families – Fort Worth Science Museum, a park, picnic, zoo, etc.
  5. Hang out with people of similar principles – this is not encouraged ALL the time. Expand!
  6. Family camping trips. Hey, you don’t have to go primitive. Just get out there!

We hope to host several different regular events at our new home when the day comes. Right now, our living room is too close to the bedrooms and we couldn’t avoid waking Katie in the evenings. But soon, God willing, we will turn our home into a serious hang out option.

You’re Not Alone

If you’ve missed out on building friendships with people at work or church due to lifestyle differences, it’s time to put your foot down. Find a way to meet with ONE couple a month who aren’t organic minded. WHY? Because people who are obsessed with food quality don’t always possess all the other giftings you need to learn from in life.

News Flash: You need to learn many things from people who don’t eat healthy food! OMG! Say it ain’t so!

It is so. Many people don’t eat organically, but you’ll still benefit from befriending them and allowing them to speak into your life. Don’t be too quick to pare down your friendships to like-minded people only. There’s a wealth of friendship out there, and who knows? Maybe we’ll impact the world for the better as we step outside our comfort zones.

*Disclaimer: I still really love the taste of toxic food, so befriending people of the non-organic persuasion doesn’t phase me in the least. But I know at least a few of you out there struggle with such intense idealism that you find it difficult to mix well with people of different eating habits. It’s okay. I still love you.

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13 Responses to Daddypotamus: How Do You Socialize and Not Compromise?

  1. i’ve actually been wondering about this very thing lately! great post.
    .-= Joanna Moore´s last blog ..Meal Plan Monday! =-.

  2. Heather says:

    Great post, Daddypotamus. I’m ready to try tip #6!

  3. Mae says:

    Not only is it a good idea to hang out an occasion with people who aren’t of like minds- it’s also biblically required.
    Something else that hits me in face repeatedly is this:
    “Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong. For instance, one person believes it’s all right to eat anything. But another believer with a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. Those who feel free to eat anything must not look down on those who don’t. And those who don’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them.” – Romans 14:1-3
    Ouch…I can’t tell you how many times I have to think of that before I say something to someone, especially with what they are feeding their children.
    Good post, Daniel. Hope to see many more ;]
    .-= Mae´s last blog ..Dear Lily (9 months) =-.

    • Thanks, Mae. It’s true. I’m not AS dogmatic about food as some. I do, however, have a burden for certain people I know who ignorantly allow sickness or disease to remain in their lives because they either don’t know or don’t believe that a radical shift in the quality of food they eat could transform their lives.

      I’m able to recognize more clearly when I have favor to speak into a person’s life versus when I don’t. And sadly, most of the time, I don’t. When I’ve tried, my words bounce off the walls and die on the floor. Bill Johnson (Bethel Church in Redding, California) and John Paul Jackson (Streams Ministries) are responsible for enlightening me on the necessity of favor in ministry. Learning to sense the presence or lack of favor has already saved me a lot of frustration.

      By the way, if any of you want your photo or avatar to appear on all your comments, just go to http://www.gravatar.com, sign up, use the email address you use when you comment, and upload a photo. It will automatically add your image to all comments you leave on blogs powered by WordPress. For the long-term effect, it’s worth the two minutes to set up.

  4. Cindy says:

    Great post, Daniel! Good advice… And, I have to say, I love the pics you chose for this one… My, that sure is one cute lil’ boy on there ;)!!
    .-= Cindy´s last blog ..Isn’t He Too Old?! Part 1 =-.

  5. Melodie says:

    I’m very thankful that most of my friends are veggie or enjoy/respect veggie food. And we respect their choices. As for spending time with other folks…. ack! No time! One day maybe, but for now I’m happy with the way things are.
    .-= Melodie´s last blog ..Review and Giveaway: Bravado Bliss Nursing Bra =-.

  6. I run into this problem a lot. And since my husband’s a pastor, we have to go out to eat quite a bit- it’s just part of socializing and getting to know people. And the last thing a pastor needs to do is alienate people. It’s been especially difficult since I have a gluten allergy and can only eat at certain restaurants.

  7. Julie Whetstine via FB says:

    i’m about to have my newly turned vegan friends over and i’m feeling rather liberated — i’ll make one of my great super-creative salads with the non-vegan food items buffet style and we’ll have wine & homemade bread! we used to have the salad then the grilled tenderloin — but now there’s no steak to buy! i was freakin but now i have a plan! it is unfortunate that socialization depends so much on food…

  8. My issues is, I don’t have a choice about compromising. When I tried the whole, “I control the food at my house, but I’ll just do the best I can when at a family party or other social situation” compromise, my son’s digestions got so awful and his sleep and behavior fell apart. If I am not a food “nazi” I am the one who pays the price in lost sleep and lost serenity at home. So I pack my own food and if people ask, he has digestion issues and I have to be really careful about his food. It is still terribly awkward when he is begging for a tiny portion of fruit salad at a birthday party and I am saying no because 1) it isn’t organic and 2) if he eats too much fruit (especially melons and things) he bloats and cannot sleep. Meanwhile, all the other kids are gorging on cupcakes and pinata candy. This is my biggest issue. Thanks for writing about it. :-)

  9. We are not perfect, and we do eat out. We go by the 80/20 rule.

    Yesterday we had to get out of the house for an open house — we ate at a coffee shop where I ordered ham quiche (I skipped the crust) and a decaf whole milk latte.

    Last night we were too tired to cook so we ate at a favorite local Thai place. They try to source organic veggies (not grass-fed meats though) and don’t use MSG. We got seafood and a soup made with homemade bone broth. The fried stuff was cooked in soybean oil I’m sure, but we did the best we could. And it was delicious!

    Tomorrow morning I’m meeting a friend for breakfast. I chose a French place where I can get Eggs Benedict made with Hollandaise sauce made from scratch.

    Is the restaurant food organic and grass-fed? No, but we do our best to find real food and that’s good enough for me!

    I also love hanging out with my Weston A. Price Foundation friends. We had two get-togethers over the weekend — a Saturday visit to a friend’s farm for lunch and a Sunday BBQ. It is nice to not have to worry about the food since you know it will be good!

  10. Thanks for reposting! My husband and his family are Hispanic so EVERY time we visit them there is always food (and they live close so it’s like once a week). And it’s hard because serving us food to show their love is part of their culture so sometimes it gets sticky!

  11. Megan says:

    I try to be conscious of is the 80/20 rule as well, and I also remind myself that unless I’m following a specific diet or trying to achieve a certain goal (e.g., say I was on GAPS and knew I wasn’t ready for various foods yet), my relationship with others is more important than the food being served.
    I have stressed myself out way too much in the past over what I will eat when I know that as important as it may seem, it’s not the MOST important thing.
    And I agree-when we get past “what we’re eating,” it’s the sharing with others (and learning from them!) which is so good for us.

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