I’m Not Going To China {my thoughts on adult peer pressure}

I distinctly remember the feeling of fear and panic that gripped my heart. It was my senior year of college, and I was making the rounds at my university’s career fair. I had less than a semester left on my business degree and I knew I needed to start making some decisions about life after college. The current trend among my colleagues was to spend at least a year teaching English in China, and the TESL lady at that booth sat me down and tried her best to convince me that it was the best use of my degree. I called my parents that day and choked back tears as I explained what I assumed was my inevitable move across the world.

They asked me a few simple questions. “Do you feel like it’s God’s will for you to move to China?” My answer was easy. “No.”

“Do you want to move to China?” That one was even easier. “No!”

“Then don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. Don’t worry about the TESL lady at the booth. Just do what you know God wants you to do.”



Why am I telling you this story? Just the other day I had a similar exchange with someone over a much smaller issue. We were chatting about what we were enjoying on TV and Netflix, and she told me how much she enjoyed seeing La La Land. I asked her if she was planning to see Beauty and the Beast when it came out in a few weeks…and that same look of fear and panic filled her eyes. “Um, no…are you going to see it?” I knew what she was talking about – all the drama and hullabaloo on Facebook about how terrible this movie was for the moral compass of America had clearly gotten her attention.

I quickly replied, “Yes, I’m very excited to see it! I love Disney movies, and as for the supposed gay scene…I watch lots of mainstream TV, so I can’t act like that kind of thing is unusual or shocking for me.” I shared with her that I was very confident about my views on homosexuality and that a Disney character wasn’t going to change my mind about the issue.

Relief washed over her face. “Oh, I’m so glad you said that! I really wanted to see it but everyone was acting like it was such a big deal that I wasn’t sure what to do.”

My friends, adult peer pressure is a very real thing. I believe that it’s very important to live by a set of personal standards – mine are standards that I’ve developed throughout my adult life as I’ve grown in my relationship with God and that I discuss with my husband. His opinion influences what I think about things because he is the leader of our home and as such, I respect him. We go to our parents, our pastor and other mature Christians for counsel, but we choose not to be intimidated by every person on the internet.

I’ve had several people ask me (as they sucked in gasps of air), “You still shop at Target?!” Yep. They have great stuff. I don’t apologize for my choices, but I’ll be quick to add that I respect that person for their ability to avoid a store based on their convictions.

Know what you believe and stand up for it! So what if your best friend’s cousin decides to boycott Taco Bell because the slogans on their hot sauce packets are seductive (LOL)? If you don’t have a problem with it, by all means enjoy that Crunchwrap Supreme! On the opposite side of that, if you feel that your family needs to avoid an establishment or form of entertainment, do what you think is right. Just make sure you don’t hold everyone else to your standards – don’t be the TESL lady who makes everyone think they have to move to China. 

I hope this encourages you if you’re feeling overwhelmed by adult peer pressure! Sometimes it also helps to just walk away from Facebook for a couple days. I have started logging out of Facebook on Saturdays and Sundays, and I’m always glad I did!

26 thoughts on “I’m Not Going To China {my thoughts on adult peer pressure}

  1. I have similar thoughts about the Disney movie. And I totally think society forgot what the word tolerate means. One doesn’t have to 100% agree with something to get along with others. Everyone has their own life to live after all. And because you eat mushrooms doesn’t mean I have to. But I can certainly tolerate you having them! 😉

    Peer pressure is hard at any age, but it’s much easier if you have standards and stick to them. I think the old saying goes: “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”


  2. I once was dating a Christian guy who put in a movie with sex scenes. I had not seen it before but said, “I can’t believe you are showing me this movie”! I was really turned off that he didn’t feel any shame and didn’t seem to have my best spiritual interest. His response was, ” It doesn’t tempt me to sin so I don’t see anything wrong with watching it”. He also said he didn’t think Jesus would have a problem watching it and would probably enjoy watching it with him. To me, it just seemed wrong. I guess we all have our different journeys to travel.

    I have been pressured to do things when there really wasn’t a clear right or wrong, like your example of going to China instead of staying in the USA. I think people feel that if God is calling them to do something, then He is calling everyone to do the same thing. God has different good works planned out for each of us though. I strongly believe that.


  3. I’m enjoying your blog so far. 🙂 Great post.
    Wow, I must have been living under a rock lately because I didn’t hear about a gay scene in BATB. I haven’t seen it, but want to; in fact, I wanted to take my 3.5yo, but now do I want her to see a gay scene???
    Peer pressure is so true for adults! Interestingly, I haven’t ever thought of it as so. I’ve always assumed that was just a high school thing. But there is such a push for conformity, yes – especially as regards parenting. Heaven forbid you do something different/odd!
    Both my mother and a certain older “celebrity” in the political spotlight have said that as they get older they stop caring what other people think and say about them or what they should do, and that it’s none of their business what other people think of them. Good advice, I think.


  4. My husband and I came to the same conclusion about Beauty and the Beast. Although we haven’t seen it yet, thanks to a certain 2 year old :). We will wait for the DVD so we don’t need a babysitter! A book that really helped me with adult peer pressure was Goodbye Insecurity by Beth Moore. I’m still learning to quit people pleasing because that is pretty much what giving into peer pressure is for me.


    1. My sister went with us to see BATB, and her husband stayed home with their foster babies…there’s no way they could have gotten a sitter for over 3 hours! I hope you enjoy the movie, we so loved it.


  5. SO GOOD! I feel like adult peer pressure is everywhere… parenting, number of kids to have, to have kids, churches, size of your house, cars you drive, schools your kids attend, etc. I love your message of know what you believe and stand up for it. I feel like I’ve had to become more confident in myself and my choices as I’ve gotten older. Thanks for this reminder. Proud of you for standing up for yourself and your beliefs.


  6. I love this! I feel exactly the same Whitney. At least Disney got it 100% right with frozen…let it go, let it go….


  7. Yes, yes, yes! So many people are so opinionated and they just act like we all should be too. Or that if we don’t agree with them we’re crazy. I just have to stand up for what I think and let the rest go!


  8. My son did go to China for four years to teach but I never visited him because of Squatty Pottys. ( I am shallow…I know!!)lol I agree with you 100% I do not boycott businesses. How can I know what every business I do trade with is up to? I thought the same thing about Beauty and the Beast which is why I decided to see it and it is a good movie in my opinion. In fact, this very topic came up at my girls retreat over the weekend and I told my friends that I could not be everyone’s personal Holy Spirit. If God speaks to them about their convictions, I will respect their decisions but I hope they will respect mine also. One thing about getting older, I am more confident in my decisions regarding my moral compass. Thanks for sharing this, I am sure it will encourage someone today.


    1. Ha, that’s a great reason to not visit a place! 🙂 I agree with you on boycotting. There’s no way I can keep up with what every store supports, nor could I find a store that had the same convictions as I do! 🙂


  9. Someone brought BATB up to me, too and asked if I was boycotting it because of the gay scene. I said one of my all-time favorite shows is Will & Grace, do you really think a gay scene is going to send me over the edge? As a Christian I have my beliefs and faith and what’s great about that is that I accept all, just as Christ has taught me to do. Even the gay characters on TV/movies.


  10. Oh Whitney I just LOVED this post! It is SO true. I feel like I run across this as a homeschool mom. Like other parents think I am judging them because they don’t. I am guessing this is from previous experiences? If we all just followed OUR convictions it would be a much happier world to live in and full of more love too.


  11. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post. As a Christian, I too was all over the place when it came to seeing Beauty And The Beast. You make a valid point and I too know what my stance and beliefs are so why not go enjoy this beautiful movie? Adult peer pressure is very real. The older I get (I’m now 40), I tend to feel it less but it is still there. I try to make the best decision for me and after I get married next month, we will be a household of two, making these decisions and I will look to Peter for guidance as well. Thanks again for this thought-provoking post! ❤ Best, Cari.


I reply to all comments right here on the post, so let the conversation begin!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.