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 freak show. The joys of being different. My well of creativity is near dry, so let’s get on with the obvious alternatives.
Hang Out Alternatives
- Cook food your family can eat and invite your friends over.
- Find local restaurants you approve of (like Tillman’s Roadhouse, Cafe Modern, or Spiral Diner) and invite friends to join you.
- Meet at a coffee shop instead. It’s not as easy to do entire family gatherings, perhaps, but you skip the whole restaurant scenario.
- Find other things to do as families – Fort Worth Science Museum, a park, picnic, zoo, etc.
- Hang out with people of similar principles – this is not encouraged ALL the time. Expand!
- 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.