How to Deal With Opposition to Joining the Military

Joining the Military can lead to opposition and even bigotry and hate from family, friends, and peers as well as total strangers. Here are some helpful hints to guide you through these potential conflicts.


  1. Image titled Deal With Opposition to Joining the Military Step 1
    Understand the reason for the opposition. Your parents may have a knee-jerk reaction due to fear for your safety. War is dangerous and violent, and no parent wants to see their child harmed. Friends may feel abandoned by you, or react out of jealousy. The military, while tough and demanding, also has many rewards and opportunities that are not found in the civilian world. Teachers may be opposed to their students joining the military, preferring them to go to college right away after high school, regardless if they have the means to pay for college or not. Other people may react in a very negative way due to pure bigotry. To some people, the military represents various things that they may hate; from Government authority to violence and war. As a representative of that, you may become the target of their anger.
  2. Image titled Deal With Opposition to Joining the Military Step 2
    Decide if the opposition is worth answering. If the person opposed to your decision is family or a friend, then it is probably worth while to try to explain your decision and calm their fears or reassure them that their opposition is not justified. If a teacher is opposed to you joining the military, or is known for having anti-military sentiments, you may be able to avoid bringing up an enlistment. If the person is a total stranger then chances are, a confrontation is not worth it.
  3. Image titled Deal With Opposition to Joining the Military Step 3
    Decide how to explain your enlistment, if necessary. There are many reasons for joining the military; from service to country to college money or a desire to face a challenge and experience adventure. Point out the benefits and positives. If the violence and danger of war are brought up, point out that the U.S. Military is the best trained and armed military in the world and you will be surrounded by the best of the best to have your back. If poor military pay is brought up, point out the health care and educational benefits that offset this. If the long work hours and heavy work load are brought up, point out that many people find overcoming such challenges to be extremely rewarding. If you are female and you are told that the military is rampant with sexual harassment and assaults, point out that the military also has tougher punishments than any civilian job for that sort of behavior.


  • Employers and teachers cannot use military service as a basis for negative action, and there are many resources available for those who are subject to such discrimination.
  • Remember that military service is not easy, nor is it meant to be easy. But, remember also that there are many rewarding aspects to it as well.


  • Make sure that everything promised in your discussions with your recruiter is listed on your 4/1, 4/2, and 4/3 (your enlistment contract).

Article Info

Categories: Careers in the Military