How to Convince Loved Ones to Prep (and When to Give Up)

(Psst: The FTC wants me to remind you that this website contains affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase from a link you click on, I might receive a small commission. This does not increase the price you'll pay for that item nor does it decrease the awesomeness of the item. ~ Daisy)

By the author of Be Ready for Anything and the online course Bloom Where You’re Planted

Lately, those who live the preparedness lifestyle have been more concerned than ever about the events going on in the world, and for many of us,  the urgency to convince loved ones to prep is at an all-time high as worries increase. The economic collapse of Venezuela, our own shaky markets and banking system, the threat of natural disasters, and worries about cyber attacks all have the potential to become life-changing catastrophes. These are the events we prep for and we clearly understand the ramifications of facing them without the necessary supplies.

And many of us have friends and family without those necessary supplies. Raise your hand if you have ever tried to convince loved ones to prep.  Yep, just as I thought. Hands everywhere.

Chances are that when you brought up the topic, your friends and family considered you anywhere on the nuts scale from “a bit eccentric” to “downright certifiable.” If you’ve ever broached the subject with them, the responses were probably one or more of the following:

“Lighten up!”

“I don’t want to sit there and think about the bad things all day long.”

“You don’t need to worry about me.”

“Live a little!”

“If the disaster is that bad, hopefully, I’ll just die in it. Who’d want to live in a world after ***fill in the disaster of your choice***”

“Hahahahahaha!!!!”

“You worry too much.”

“I’ll just come to your house.”

There’s the smug dismissal, the deer-in-headlights fear, the rolled eyes, and the outright denial that anything bad could ever happen to them. There’s the justification of “We keep a case of water in the pantry at all times” and the “I have survival skills” delusion. Most folks just don’t even want to think about it.

So. Incredibly. Frustrating.

This viewpoint, of course, makes it very difficult for you to talk with these loved ones and bring them over to the “dark side” of preparedness with you.  It’s painful to see people about whom you care, blithely going along, spending money frivolously, buying their groceries a couple of days at a time, and living in places that are totally unsustainable should disaster strike.

So, you have to try.

If you really care about the people in question, you probably feel strongly compelled to talk with them about emergency preparedness. But, how do you convince your loved ones to prep when the idea has never even crossed their minds before?

Why People Won’t Listen

First of all, it’s important to understand why your loved ones see the world through rose-colored glasses.  While they are busy casting mental health disorder epithets your way, it is actually the people who refuse to accept reality who are suffering from a psychological phenomenon called “cognitive dissonance”.

The phrase “cognitive dissonance” was coined by  Dr. Leon  Festinger in his book When Prophecy Fails, which was originally published in 1956.When two diverse values collide – the reality of a situation and the moral belief system of the person, it causes mental discomfort that for some people is quite extreme. The person must make alterations to one or the other in order to regain his mental equilibrium. According to Dr. Festinger

Dr. Festinger’s theory states that “dissonance reduction”can be achieved in one of three ways: lowering the importance of one of the discordant factors, adding consonant elements, or changing one of the dissonant factors. This bias sheds light on otherwise puzzling, irrational, and even destructive behavior.”

  • lowering the importance of one of the discordant factors
  • adding consonant elements
  • changing one of the dissonant factors

This bias sheds light on why people behave in manners that are puzzling, irrational, and even destructive.

It’s very frustrating to watch otherwise intelligent people completely avoid the acceptance of our reality.  Those deeply into cognitive dissonance are simply NOT going to come around by hearing you preach to them.  If anything, it will only drive them further away from you.  The concept of, for example, a long-term disaster like and EMP or an economic collapse followed by total social failure are incomprehensible to them.

Because of this, no matter how fervently you believe these epic events to be likely in the future, it’s best to water down the reality into manageable bites.

Breaking Them In Gently

When trying to convince loved ones to prep, it’s best to break them into the concept gently. If you go too hardcore survivalist, too doomy, or too outrageous, they’ll simply shut down, as described above, and all of your efforts will be for naught. There are all sorts of ideas for convincing others preparedness is wise. Below, you can find a few ways to introduce the concept.

  • Point out weather-related events that have occurred nearby. Everyone has had an experience with the weather that inconvenienced them in some way. Because of this, it’s a disaster that seems more likely than something they’d consider far-fetched or overly dramatic.  You can easily provide recent examples, like Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy.   Other regions are prone to tornadoes, ice storms, snow storms, or earthquakes.  For those in regions where events like this occur, you can often persuade your loved ones to stock in at least a 2 week supply. Because you can give legitimate and recent examples of these occurrences, this can be a gentle introduction to preparedness.  You may be able to build on this base acceptance and begin to help your loved ones begin to extend their supplies. Note: always use mainstream sources when trying to gently nudge someone in the direction of preparedness. Those sources are familiar and to most people, thought to be more accurate and reliable.
  • Teach them how building a pantry saves money. Another great tactic is promoting the economic logic behind a well-stocked pantry.  Prices are only going up – it doesn’t take a prepper to see this.  If you can convince someone of the investment value of a food supply, sometimes you can persuade them to prep without them even realizing that is what they are doing.  Then, when that supply comes in handy during a disaster event or a personal period of economic hardship, you can gently reinforce the lesson.
  • Send them articles of interest…but don’t go overboard.  Sending gentle nudges via email is sometimes helpful, but inundating a non-prepper with preparedness advice will generally fall upon deaf ears.  Repetition of preparedness concepts without the scare tactics can help break through the normalcy bias, but it is important to limit yourself within the tolerance level of the person with whom you are communicating.  Remember, you do not want to be the Jehovah’s Witness of preparedness, knocking on the door during dinnertime while the non-prepper pretends not to be home.
  • Sometimes fiction can really get people thinking.  If your loved one is a bookworm, try giving them the gift of some good prepper fiction. You don’t have to preach to them, “This is what could happen.”  Just find a good story that you enjoyed and pass it on as such. Some of my favorites are One Second After, the A. American Survivalist series, and Max Velocity’s Patriot series.  If you’re nudging teens in the right direction, this is a list of our favorite books to inspire the preparedness mindset for young people.
  • Use movies as launching points for conversations. What could be better than prepper night at the movies? There’s nothing like a good disaster movie to get people contemplating the what-ifs. Host a movie night and invite your friends and family. Be sure that a discussion follows the movie – this can help you to learn what their thoughts are, which can aid you in your persuasive endeavors.  Here is a list of 40 survival-oriented movies that might help you devise the evening’s entertainment.
  • Buy them preparedness-related gifts.  If it’s a person you are very close to, sometimes you can set your mind at ease a little by making certain that they have the supplies that they need on hand. Buy them supplies that they can stick in a closet and forget, like buckets of emergency food. If you’re feeling really generous, add some water, a filter, and an emergency cooking method to keep them fed and hydrated, if not completely prepared. Create an emergency kit for their car, put a multitool or Sawyer Mini filter in their Christmas stockings, or give them a pocket survival guide (this is my favorite) to stash in their purse or backpack.
  • Use a coaching approach. Instead of simply telling someone what to do, let them arrive at their own decisions with some gentle nudging in the right direction. Read this article for more information on coaching others to prep.

What If They Won’t Listen?

Unfortunately, you have to realize there isn’t a lot you can do to convince others that preparing is vital.  People have to come to their own realizations, just the way you did.  You have to accept that constantly harping on preparedness will do nothing more than to drive a wedge between you and those you love.  Sometimes, you have to know when to give up.

But that isn’t the worst of it. Remember back in the intro to this article, that casual statement that makes every prepper grit his or her teeth?

“I don’t need to prep. I’ll just come to your house.”

As a prepper, you have to make a difficult decision.  Are you going to prepare for a few extra people, adding supplies and making room for them when the SHTF?  Or are you going to go about your preparedness business quietly, embracing OPSEC and building up your supplies with only your immediate family members in mind?

Some people state that they have absolutely no compunction turning away unprepared family members when disaster strikes, because they spent years warning them to get ready.  This is a choice that you may have to make one day, and there is no “one size fits all” answer.

If you allow unprepared loved ones to come to your house, that means there are fewer supplies for your immediate family. You’ll be sharing whatever you have and it won’t stretch for as long a period of time. As well, if they are unprepared despite your best efforts, there could be other problems down the line, like wastefulness, folks who talk too much (and to the wrong people), and loved ones who just don’t grasp the importance of every decision in an emergency. What if they can’t accept the necessity for armed self-defense? This could cause a lot of discord, and even be life-threatening if the situation is dire.

On the other hand, the guilt of turning people away will be too much for some folks to handle. Many hands make lighter work, so if the family members will do their fair share or if they have special skills, then having them at your retreat will probably be worth the division of supplies. Plus, family is family. Sometimes you have to go beyond the call of duty for those you love.

This is not something that should be decided at the spur of the moment when adrenaline is running high. To make a rational choice, it is important to discuss this among the decision-makers of your household and present a unified front, whichever conclusion you reach.

*****

Have you been able to help friends and family see the writing on the wall?  If so, how were you able to convince them that it was time to get ready?  If not, are you preparing for extra people or are you planning on locking the doors?

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

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  • This is a tough one.where i live in Virginia,food banks and churches are begging for food donations.I have donate bags hanging on my mail box put there by the postal dept.People knock on my door with children.People at walmmart ,food lion,etcasking for food. I dont give money but i do buy food.i have been confronted for money but have gotten my permit and now i have got to be concerned
    about how far will i go to defend myself and my family.I have seen reports where FEMA is storing more food,water and hygene products.People better wake up put down there tex machines and climb out of the bubble there living in before it burst.Good luck.

  • Been there. Done that. Was given the t-shirt that says I’m totally insane….by my kids. They remember and laugh about how I stocked up on food when Chernobyl happened. Crazy mom had stored water! I had watched the wind patterns and discovered that the radiation would come down over Canada’s prairies and Ontario. I immediately bought items for freezing, meats, milk and cheese. Also created a berm outside the pantry area in the basement for mass shielding. Yup, I’m crazy.

    Neither one will listen to me so now instead of prepping for hubby and myself, I prep for 6 people. I figure that at some point my 2 kids, son-in-law and possibly my son’s significant other if he’s in a relationship at the time, will end up on our doorstep.

    Still hoping and praying that they’ll see the light and start prepping.

    kk

    • Sounds extremely familiar! It is funny that us “Crazy Ladies” tend to thrive in our worst of times with smiles on our faces and thankfulness in our hearts even for some extended family members! People have laughed at me for years, but I have had a few actually apologize in the last twenty years and ask what I know for health advice. That’s when you know times of waiting are short!

  • I might talk to family but I won’t to other people. I don’t want to broadcast what I am doing so I have people trying to harm my family and me because they were too stupid to prepare and now they want what we have. The situation will be bad enough without adding more for yourself.

  • We have always figured on the homestead as a possible haven for the extended family. Everyone has made some contribution to the development of the place from bare wooded land twenty years ago. I try to keep plenty of food on hand and I’m sure our crew would show up with their trucks loaded if their current location became untenable. They would also bring skills and labor to increase security and food production.

  • If a person doesn’t prep, why do you still consider them friends, family, or loved ones? Makes no sense to me whatsoever.

    • Agree, I live in a hurricane zone and have no time for loser friends or relatives if they lived near me, which they don’t. Besides, I don’t go around telling people my biz or lecture anyone. Every head of household is responsible for those living under their roof plain and simple. If I buy a case of canned salmon, chicken and sardines it is mine and hubby’s or used for bartering. Folks, ditch (prune out) loser friends that aren’t on board and/or refuse to pull their kids out of the gov. run schools and 501 gov. churches (apostate) and fail to home school and start a house church or get serious about getting items needed for disasters as they can afford to do. Quit taking their calls and don’t return messages/email unless they get serious. I have zero time for duds and slackers and only warn them once or give out websites.

        • I Timothy 5:8
          But if anyone does not provide for his own family, especially for his own household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

        • There are a lot of people I know that go to church and I have shared with them scriptures pertaining to preparation, but they almost always said ignorantly “God will provide” as their closing argument to me. Haven’ t spoken to them since and we do not go to churches anymore. Yeshua also said if two or more were gathered in him that he is there. Church does not mean building, but people.

        • Anne: Apparently you don’t believe in family security and go around discussing your preps with anyone who will listen. Bad idea. 1 Tim. 5:8 applies. Family is priority and safety. I’ve lived in cities most my life and still do, am not naive or stupid. People are transient and don’t get involved w/ nabors. This is 2018 not circa 1963. How do you know who you can trust when you blab your biz to co workers, friends who are slackers. Get a life and wake up. I have zero time for shallow slackers and neither does Daisy and others tuned in. Start a home church with others like minded and MYOB.

      • What you say may sound harsh, Laura M, and I’m not religious, but you don’t need to see the sense of taking care of your family before worrying about strangers. It’s also a VERY good idea to separate from people who only want to bring you down. It’s a true statement that you are the average of the five people that are closest to you. All the best with your preps!

        • Redbranch : It is me and Hubby, no family, folks are passed. Family first, and strangers could be a threat in a SHTF situation. No one really knows how others will behave. Adult heads of house hold need to each prep for their family, Grandparents/parents are not responsible for adult kids, as most are on tight budgets, a friend said. No I don’t sit around worrying about strangers or lazy slackers who expect to raid peoples houses after things collapse.

      • Please understand that some of us have beliefs which do not allow for separation from a larger church whose teachings we believe to be true despite its human and institutional faults. Our clergy must serve anyone of our faith who asks and must obey their superiors. They can’t come lead a house church. And we cannot do without them as we need the sacraments. Do you really condemn friends belonging to a different Christian Church than yours? Your right, of course.

    • SO you cut off family, friends and loved ones that easily? It’s people like you that will have to be watched when the SHTF. If you will do away with family and friends you’ll shoot a stranger for what they have. I don’t trust people like you.

      • Sounds like you are justifying why you are unprepared and should not be accountable for your unpreparedness and subsequent imposition on those who did prepare. Typical entitled numb skull. Shift the responsibility to someone else because you are lazy and shortsighted.

  • I have shown my grown children where my preps are and explained my wishes to them. My children have more respect for me and my wishes than to call me crazy or to talk about it when I have asked them not to. Nothing, will ever change the fact that they are my children and grand children and the fact that I would give my life to save them. I wonder about these people who say they would turn their backs on their family. How can they possibly place value on their lives based on their prepping? That notion is based on pure selfishness. What kind of ‘life” do they envision all by themselves? I say “good luck with that”.

  • Is it possible that your family or friends are prepping and don’t want you to know? Loose lips sink ships. The fewer people that know what you’re doing, the better. Some people can’t keep a secret to save their lives and some families aren’t close, they tolerate each other. They really don’t need your approval or permission when it comes to how they live their lives. Maybe their plan is to bug out in the middle of the night.

    There’s one prepping blogger who says she is prepared to assist her extended family during a crisis but she will shoot to kill any stranger or neighbor who comes to her front door looking for help post disaster. She figures the prepping info is readily available, your failure to prepare is not her problem.

    So, let’s say you are in California and prepared for the big one. You survive, now you have just your preps to keep you going until….what? Life returns to normal? It’s the days, weeks and months after an event that will be a problem. Every single thing you depend on will not be available to you for a very long time, if ever.

    That’s why some people resist the idea of all out prepping. At some point, probably sooner than you think,the supplies will run out and there won’t be a way to get more. You’re going to suffer in ways you cannot imagine.

    Once the SHTF, in whatever form that takes, there will not be a return to normal as you now experience it. The new normal will be everything you read about that horrifies you and makes you cringe.

    Do what makes you comfortable now, but realize that if you survive a catastrophic event and your loved ones don’t, they may be the lucky ones.

    • Susaa B: you make a good point, besides we don’t know if any disaster would be long term and people would run out of stuff eventually. At least, people need to prep for weather issues. Agree with the last sentence and will add: If long term like an emp knocking out power, may be best not to be alive either and have to struggle like in the middle ages with no stores, air cond., regular meals, or electricity, etc.

      • Hi Laura, I think we spend too much time and money planning to resume life as we know it after an event that in reality will be so huge, just making it to sundown each day still upright and breathing will be accomplishment enough.

        I think there will be multiple events happening close together. It takes a long time to recover from just one disaster these days. Imagine a hurricane, then a great quake, and then a long drought. Yikes.

        Putting a home cooked meal on the table every day, washing clothes with your homemade detergent, sewing, and gardening are not likely. If we were certain that all we’re facing is another Great Depression, that would be great. Instead we’re facing a long list of very serious things we cannot control like antibiotic resistant bacteria, contaminated food, terrorists, extreme weather (droughts, floods and fires), a shortage of prescription drugs and more.

        Not many people are going to want to struggle for years trying to survive. What’s the point?

        I sure hope Jesus comes soon!

        • Susan Buettner That’s sad that you don’t care that much about your own life or your family, but I’m betting Jesus isn’t going to come to get you just because you don’t want to face life any more. That’s pretty funny that you are ok with another Great Depression because you think that’s a piece of cake but if you can’t run down to the grocery store or Walmart any more you just don’t want to live. That seems cowardly but at least it will leave more for the people that want to survive.

          • Hey John, my family consists of 2 cats. My neighbors are all in God’s waiting room. Their next home will either be the nursing home or the funeral home. Citizens of this country are depressed and scared. Look at all the addictions! And let’s not forget the very popular adult coloring books that help people de-stress. They’re reverting to childhood activities because they can’t cope. I read several disturbing posts on a coloring book forum. The adults who color first thing in the morning, and at defined times during the day are behaving as if it’s medication. In a way, it is. Some of them also attend therapy sessions. Where have all the strong, resourceful people gone? How many of us could walk 2,000 miles on the Oregon Trail? Men, pregnant women, senior citizens, children did it by the thousands and survived the 6 months that it took to make the trip despite one challenge after another.

            Yes, I do think a depression would be easier to deal with. We’d be left alone to deal with it instead of being rounded up and taken some place we don’t want to go to.

            You can’t avoid the inevitable. We’re all going
            to die at some point. Jesus will come again for the believers and I’d prefer leaving with Him rather than leaving courtesy of a bullet in my head. To each his own, eh?

        • amen to that! I’m prepared in some things, but others not so much, and at my age….does it really matter? so I agree, whats coming isnt gonna be something we’ll be able to recover from easily or even want to….everything as we currently know it, wont be…..and never will be again. hate to sound doom and gloom but looking at things right now, its gonna get worse, such as we’ve never seen…..what is happening right now is like something we’ve seen on sci-fy or read in books….i.e. soylent green (what a horrible thought), but we’re closer to something like that than we ever thought we’d be…..but we all have to deal with it in our own way….me, I’m hoping I’ll be one of the chosen ones to go home with Him….cause I dont want to stay here without Him…….

  • I think I made a home run with #1 son this week. When discussing the problems at the “D” bank, how they are so big they could take down a lot of other connected banks if they have to file for bankrupcy & how this could lead to a bank holiday. Nothing pushy just giving the facts I had read. I mentioned a couple things I couldn’t do it there was a bank holiday. Then I asked him how he would meet his payroll if there was a bank holiday. He was stunned. He had never thought of that. While he & wife have been Boy Scout leaders for about 20 years & they keep a goodly amount of food & camping supplies on hand he had never thought of the possibility of not being able to meet his payroll & that upset him. It was not something I had planned it just worked out that way.

  • Get family to prep?

    Been there, tried that and it doesn’t work. They just don’t see the need.

    They won’t get on board with prepping, you can’t push them as they are the ones that need to wake up, you are likely not going to awaken them, sleep is too comfortable to them.

    All talking to them will get you is the tired response of “ If anything ever happens I’m coming to your house.” So I don’t talk about prepping to anyone any more, all it does is make me a target for those that don’t prep. Once people are starving and suffering they will remember you do prep and they will come demanding food, shelter, protection, a warm safe bed and all the other things we preppers have.

    Lets say you have a big heart and the money to feed several other people for a few months (I don’t have the money to feed others without shorting my own food.)If they do come to your house what happens when they eat their 1/2 of the food you put up for them? Are they going to then move on, or are they going to expect to keep eating food, your 1/2 of the food? I think we all know the answer to this! They will stay with you till the food is gone, then they will move on leaving you in a world of hurt. Their refusal to prep and buy food will in the end kill you as like a plague of locust they will come, consume everything and then move on.

    Most people feel they are too busy to learn new skills that don’t benefit them today, why prep and learn new skills when they see no instant payoff?

    I also see preppers say that they will people that haven’t prepped come to stay with them and consume their food and supplies. They say that they will just make them work for food, this is foolish as they likely have very limited to no useful skills. I prep a lot and am learning new skills (and practicing them every day as prepping is not a weekend project, it’s a lifestyle you live if you want it to work.) so I know how to do most everything around my home. I fix anything that breaks, I make what I need, I grow medical herbs (and have stocked a lot of medical items and herbs) I just don’t need untrained people bumbling around waiting for dinner and contributing little to nothing to justify them being there. I want people around me that work and have worked hard to prep and live a prepper lifestyle, not useless slugs.

    In the past I gave things to my son that would help him. He doesn’t have a lot of money (but he does have 2 Playstation-4’s, a $2,000.00 gaming computer with 3-monitors and the fastest internet on the planet) yet drives a beater auto that hardly runs. I built up a good set of tools and gave them to him. 8-months later I was over his house and saw the toolbox and tools sitting outside. The box was open and all the tools (the ones that weren’t lost) rusted like crazy. The box had been sitting outside open for months. I also bought him a camp stove, sleeping bag, cook set LED lantern, a small tent and a few other camping items. He has no idea where they are, after 2 moves they are just gone. I spent a few hundred dollars on the camping supplies, the stove alone was $75.00. I love my son, but I have decided I will not buy him any more prepping supplies, tools or anything expensive as he abused the stuff. So last birthday I just got him a gift card for on-line gaming.

    I want him to prep and buy food, but he sees no need for it. He’s married to a woman that has been on Welfare (along with her sister and their alcoholic for life mother) so they do nothing. If he came over for food he would bring along all of them. My food and supplies would be used up in no time by a bunch of useless people that have never and don’t know how to contribute to the good of others. And it’s a SURE BET they would move on once the food was gone leaving me in a world of hurt.

    He’s my son, I love him and I really would like to help him, but I see no way to do it when he sees no need to try at all. If I did help I see it like being in a lifeboat. He (and all the slugs that live with him) is in the water and I’m in a small boat and the second all of them clime into the small boat it is tasked beyond it’s ability to float and we all will end up in the water because it will sink from too many people being in it. We all die.

    • Chuck, does your son have a gun? If so, in his mind he has all he needs.

      Younger vs. older, guess who wins.

      • Yep he has a 22 rifle and a 357 Mag handgun that I gave him years ago. But they are in my safe as he knows better then to trust the people he associates with. He has had them steal from him in the past.

        Yet he still remains friends with them?????

        Casey (post below) I gave my son a copy of Patriots and he hasn’t read it. Video games are too important. Like I said above, I gave up trying to get him to prep, it goes no place.

  • If your loved one is a liberal, like I am, you might try books like Lucifer’s Hammer or Dies the Fire. Often it’s hard to convince someone of the importance of the prepper lifestyle when so many groups seem to be either overly religious or focused 75% on firearms and giant knives. I have some weapons but I find the constant bragging about ammo stash a bit off putting. To me, my weapons have no more importance than my food storage, seed bank or my water storage.

    Just a thought to share because I know what works for me and mine.

  • Another book to recommend is Lights Out by Ted Koppel. Since it’s by a well respected news anchor they might be more open to the idea. I found it fascinating reading and made me even more glad for my emergency stash.

  • Lights Out:

    I think if you begin living like the Amish, you’ll hardly notice the electricity is gone. Get a James Handwasher (Lehmans.com)for laundry, and you can cook with a sun oven. They are also easy to DIY. Use a bucket lined with a plastic bag and filled with clay cat litter and topped with a toilet seat for a potty. Pray for rain, then you can bathe. Go to bed when it’s dark, get up with the sun.

    It will be inconvenient, but there were people on this earth long before there was electricity.

    We’re so soft and spoiled we have no clue how to live without all the gadgets and do-dads.

    The power might be off for a very long time, so expect a baby boom.

  • Edit: A depression would only be easier if we lived in a similar environment. We don’t, so it’s actually not a relevant comparison. My apologies.

  • There have been ACTUAL shtf situations in Argentina, ex-Yugoslavia, Egypt (Arab “Spring”–actually food riots), and now Venezuela. I try to study those rather than novels or ivory tower.

    A survivor from ex-Yugoslavia stated that Family was a critically important group that were much more likely to survive than unrelated groups. You DO want your family with you.

    If you have nincompoops as bad as Chuck’s, I would not admit them unless they promised earnestly to grow up and pull their freight immediately and maintain opsec. That–they can do! I learned that working in an insurance office. Young men up to 25 or so have very high auto insurance rates because actuaries prove that they are irresponsible dangerous boys. That is–until they get married. Then their rates drop in half immediately because they have a dependent family. That makes them adults.

    One thing I have yet to see mentioned much in prepper sites in the reality that none of our ancestors 150 years and back had electricity, cars, or the other gadgets–and they ENJOYED Life! That is an answer to the idiots you prepper sites have not mentioned in this article or others–the survivors will enjoy life!

  • My husband is the original city kid,knows nothing that could help in a SHTF scenario and is virulently anti-gun. He thinks prepping is a waste of time and money. I grew up in the country, I garden, preserve food (canning & drying) I can fish, skin & gut a deer, can handle a handgun, rifle & shotgun, milk goats & cows, make butter & cheese, have kept chickens & can ride a horse. I have been purchasing preps a little at a time out of my household money & I’m not sure he even knows that I have anything in the house. My plan is to load up my goodies & head for the cousin’s in the country. The spouse may very well be left behind. My 25 year old son is in agreement with me, keeps the preps that I’ve given him in good shape & has 3 routes to the relative’s farm mapped out, just in case. While this sounds cold hearted & cruel it is in the best interests of everyone involved in the long run.

  • I can’t get my brother to even store some extra water and he lives in a dry part of California. It cost very little to store water. It’s a mystery to me the lack of thinking and imagination some people seem to be proud to embrace.

  • Thank you for such an eye opening article! I like opening conversation ideas and unfortunately many I know are beyond help. I also found over the years that those whom I know got vaccinated from the flu tend to shut their ears off even though they were onboard previously. Scary!

  • I am old and have no immediate family. Been prepping for 7 years now and am really tired of it. My plan was to practice the skills using my preps until something came up that has turned me totally in a new direction. Being born again Christian I thought I was prepared spiritually but recently I have had to focus on trusting in the Lord and not leaning on my own understanding. I believe the most important thing about the major events that are going to happen is it will shake people out of their complacency and either towards or away from God. We who are prepared spiritually and physically need to be ready for that harvest of souls.

  • Eh, Hurricane Katrina was a wake up for one of my family members.
    I have lived in various places where either getting out of town, or staying and going without modern conveniences were both distinct possibilities.

    If someone you love does not want to help themselves, well, there is not much you can do. Lead a horse to water and all that.

    The question becomes, if and when SHTF, and they show up on your doorstep, are they going to be an asset or an liability? One person with the wrong attitude can seriously impact group dynamics and social cohesion.

  • It doesn’t do any good to talk to those that are of the mind set “Nothing’s gonna happen, If it does, we’ll just go to the shelter” and my favorite “The Government won’t let anything happen”. RE:NK threats. So I don’t talk about making preparations for an “emergency” any more. My sons know what I’ve been doing and try to help when they can. My DH doesn’t “kvetch” too much because I think he is coming to the realization that things are going to get worse and the more we do now will make it easier should anything happen. A few years ago due to ice storms, power went out for about a week or so around us, Son and DIL came here with the baby cause we have a standby and had heat in the house. DH was glad we spent the money back then because a lot of our neighbors basements flooded because the sumps went out, ours was dry . His brother and family stayed in their 5th wheel as he had several propane tanks and can go about a month on them but if power had stayed off longer we were going to have them come here and stay. SIL has been putting things away now too, doesn’t think I so “nutty” now.

  • I had a small apartment with little storage room for preps. So some of it was in plain sight on shelves. I had a neighbor come by and say “well I know where I’m going if there’s a disaster!” At the time I laughed it off but now I think about how selfish a statement that actually was. I’m not going to allow anyone other than my immediate family to use the resources I’ve worked so hard to acquire and I’m certainly not going to advertise.

    • I remember when thathappened, Redbranch. NO WAY is that person’s plan happening. THat idiot is getting run off the first time. After that, SSS.

      For those throwing around allegations of selfishness, stop and think. Prepping or survivalism, as we used to call it is about acting like an adult, and being responsible for yourself. Those who speak like our neighbor did are declaring their intent to be parasites. The only responsible answer to a parasite is “Go AWAY. Now!” If people won’t be responsible for themselves, if they won’t even try, we don’t owe them anything.

      Before anyone throws around any more allegations of selfishness in reaction to this,or being the kind of person who needs to be watched after SHTF, you might want to self-assess, and ask yourself if maybe you are projecting a little bit. We who are responsible and work on our preps, and refuse to be the community food bank are not the ones who need to be watched. The parasites, and the people who project their inner behaviors, and throw around unfounded allegations are the ones who need to be watched out for, and avoided.

      • And if it gets bad enough those parasites will attack you and take everything you have. Including your life.
        Think about it: if your neighbors young child is starving to death, and he knows you have supplies stashed away – do you think he will value your safety and health over that of his child? No contest: you lose. You CANNOT allow others, especially none family, to become aware of what you have laid by.
        Read the articles by Selco that Daisey graciously posts here. Read his other material on his own site.

  • Important topic and good article!

    My time in Siberia in the 1990s taught me quite a number of things about resilience. They had an important advantage that we won’t, in that the government made preppers out of all of them before collapsing. Ours won’t. But as an observation, the families stuck together through the hardship; even trouble-making alcoholics were given a place and someone was assigned to keep an eye on them. At harvest time, everyone was out in the fields: PhDs, company presidents, and they all had fun there. My advice would be certainly to have enough food to get expected kin and the occasional orphan through a crisis, but more importantly, stock up on knowledge so that you can organize your kin as a team. Your drunken uncle can help scare away would be burglars, for example.

  • Regarding allowing unprepared family or friends into your property, this is unwise and dangerous. First of all these people do not live frugally, they waste a lot of food, supplies, gasoline and water; all the things which are hard to get in emergencies and disasters, which you have been saving and storing for years. Second, they have little or no skills or desire to work the garden, cut the wood, wash laundry by hand, etc. Third, they already told their in-laws and neighbors they are going to your place and where it is. While you have quietly prepping for your children and spouses because you love them, they are bringing another 6 to 8 people with them. Your supplies which you have sacrificed for years to collect, will be gone in 2 or 3 months, instead of the 1 or 2 years you planned on. You will end up destroying your family through fights and arguments.

  • Wow. From all of the comments and all of the opinions voiced here, you smacked the proverbial bees nest. Every situation must be dealt with on its own. City people’s preps and defense is not the same as country people’s. And each of these have variations. No blanket statement or one size fits all works here. When reading the book, One Second After, it is clear there will be no ” one right way or no one wrong way”. You will have to scramble and react as things present themselves. Nothing happens the way you think it will and you can never be sure how people will act. Maybe they will come and shoot and rob you. And then again, maybe they won’t. The best you can do is prepare for what you can and leave the rest to God.

  • I live many miles from any relatives. That’s how they like it. I’m unmarried and childless, and they fear I will become a burden to them. You already know how this story ends, right? I prep, they don’t. I’m the one with the stash. In conclusion: LOL.

  • Mu 47-yr-old daughter married her long-time boyfriend last July. They both love to do things outdoors and had registered at REI for several items of camping equipment. So last Christmas, part of my present to them was 12 Mountain House pouches of gluten-free meals, which could be used for either camping outings or emergency food supplies. They were both visibly upset that I had foisted on them ANYTHING to do with prepping, seemingly not noticing the food’s dual use for camping. I was somewhat shocked, to say the least! So even subtle nudges in the right direction may not be effective if you have already been identified as a “beans and rice” prepper.

  • Well lets think about this, if you keep saying the SHTF long enough (or the stock market is going to fall) you might be correct eventually but not necessarily in your lifetime.

    If you take the USA for 240 years there have been folks saying this and with the exception of an incompetent FEMA other than New Orleans those folks would be wrong.
    You get one life and can worry about all different kinds of things.

  • I gave up trying to get anyone in my family to prepare. I tried years back and was mocked, laughed at and avoided for caring about them. I know people would remember, so over time I have occasionally mentioned how the food had come in handy when my hours were cut, or when a major appliance broke how broke I was and couldn’t afford to prep anymore and when I got married and moved how I gave all my long term supplies to the homeless and I did give some of it away. If its ever mentioned at a family gathering on how crazy aunt kim used to be, I just laugh with them, mention I now understand when mom and dad used to say they would rather die then live through hard times. Once people know your a prepper even normal activities like canning sounds threatening to them for some reason. My brother cans and its great, but if I mention canning eyes roll. Only one person out of my entire family is welcome in my new home should shtf happen.

  • My method has been similar to how you advise. Make it relatable, break it down. When comments were made that I was over-reacting, I said “My job is to make certain that we are inconvenienced as little as possible in the event things get worse, it they don’t – yay, not so many store visits, I’ve saved money by purchasing at todays prices and I really enjoy being able to go to the pantry when I want something and it is there. It seems to have worked; especially as anytime anyone asks for anything, I generally say “I have that”. It is an observable affirmation of planning.

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