Sometimes as prepared folks, we forget that most people do not “prep.” In fact, most people have a very backward view of prepping and survivalism in general.
While we see non-preppers as naive, non-preppers see us as crazy militia members hunkering down in the woods or stocking MREs in bunkers. This negative view is pushed by the media, the Internet, and even by politicians.
In reality, though, prepping is simply an extension of becoming self-reliant.
But should you even care if your neighbor, friend or family member thinks you are crazy? I say you should, for several reasons:
- Security — a group survives easier than a person.
- Diversity – a group of people will have a diverse range of skills, not to mention more food and survival items.
- Prevention – desperate neighbors who know you prep can become desperate enemies when their bellies are empty.
How do you convince your family, friends and neighbors to become more self-reliant, even a survivalist or prepper? Well, first off, it’s not easy. Recognize right away that some people will just refuse to be turned, for numerous reasons. The biggest reason is that some people don’t want their bubble popped – and refuse to believe the government won’t always be there to protect them. Other people, though, will be more open.
How do you bring it up? For starters, I’d choose someone I could trust, and not someone who would run their mouth. Consider this talk an investment in the people around you.
Do not come at them full force, with some sort of presentation about how the government is going to collapse any day now, or how an EMP is going to wipe out our infrastructure — or anything else that can be misconstrued easily. I’m not knocking anyone’s beliefs, or saying anyone is wrong; however, without having a frame of reference, and a working knowledge of the relationship that is built over time, you may come off as unhinged.
Do not treat this like someone going door to door to sell you something. Knowing when to bring it up and how to bring it up is important. So far, my favorite times have been during episodes of the Walking Dead, or survival shows on Discovery and Nat Geo.
These programs can prompt mild and interesting discussions about tactics, supplies, weaponry, shelter, etc. These conversation also can quickly became light-hearted debates about prepping in general. It’s here that you can interject experience, and knowledge. Don’t come at them with “both barrels,” though.
Discussions On The Gun Range
Another way to spark the discussion is to take someone shooting. I’ve taken many people shooting, and with the right weapons and guidance it’s always fun. Shoot zombie targets, use cowboy guns, show your local Call of Duty fans an AR-15 or an AK-47. The firearms world was my entry into survival. Getting someone interested in owning a gun is often the first step into being self-reliant. All journeys start with a single step, and this is no different.
When I met my wife, she had never fired a weapon in her life. A few years later, she has an EDC (everyday carry) license and can spit the acronyms as well as I do. She’s into survival and prepping to a degree; you won’t find her in heated discussions on forums, but she supports the idea, and agrees we never have enough ammo. I’ve long considered guns to be the icebreaker of the survival world.
Defeating Common Arguments
I’ve defended my prepping nature many times in my life, often against naysayers who at first thought I was a bit nuts. I’ve learned to cite examples, and of course, not appear crazy. I treat it the same way I treat mature discussions about politics with people with whom I disagree – carefully toeing a line between making a point and yelling back and forth. I explain I’m not prepping for a nuclear war with Russia, but for real scenarios. One of my favorite lines that often appeals to those who believe in the government safety net is this: “Even the government advises to keep three day worth of food and water.”
I can show them the ready.gov/build-a-kit page. This is essentially a very simple, and very easy to follow how-to on building a bug-out bag. They call it a disaster supplies kit, but the idea is roughly the same. Another favorite discussion starter is Hurricane Katrina. Point out how long it took for the government to get water and food to survivors.
Never come on too strong regarding what someone should do. It’s often better to answer questions and then offer advice for the new prepper.
I explain that my preps will more likely than not be used in a natural disaster – and, for me, that’s probably hurricanes since I live in Florida. This, of course, varies with the area.
You’ll always have someone who wants to fight and argue about how crazy you are, and how prepping itself is crazy. The best way to prevent it is to stop the argument and do not validate them. Just drop it, and walk away.
Stay calm and prep on!
What advice would you add on talking to others about survival and prepping? Share your thoughts in the section below: