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Prepping can be a really hard subject to bring up, and it might even make you feel crazy. Often it isn’t a fun conversation to have. Let’s face it, you don’t start prepping because you think everything is going to be all sunshine and unicorns.
Do you want to know how you can talk to people about prepping? I have my top tips for talking preps with your spouse, family or really anyone you care about.
Know Your Prepping Goals
Getting Others to Believe Your Prepping Reasons
What are you trying to accomplish? Do you want everyone to believe exactly what you believe? Do you want clearance from your husband or wife to spend a ton of cash on gear and food? Know what your goals are. I can tell you, if the only reason is to get them to believe as you do, that’s fine, but you must be receptive enough to accept that they may not see things the way you do. Your reason to prep may not make much sense to them. Often, having people believe the same reason for prepping is far less important than everyone simply being on-board with the idea of prepping.
Getting Approval to Buy Survival Gear
If you’re seeking clearance to buy a ton of gear, then let me save you from having an awkward conversation: prepping isn’t just about acquiring a whole bunch of gear. Prepping is firstly about acquiring skills and using gear to improve or enhance those skills. Survival skills are better than survival gear. Buy gear slowly, ensure that there isn’t a skill you could learn that could replace that gear and try to ensure that your gear serves multiple purposes.
Sure, you could spend nearly $16,000 on a lighter, but you could also learn how to rub two sticks on the ground together to make the same fire. You could purchase a Berkey water filter for $400, or you could first learn to build a slow sand filter for almost free to make safer drinking water. By the way, that’s not a shot at Berkey, they make a great, quality product which would result in safer drinking water. I’m simply trying to highlight the point that you can quickly go broke buying all of your solutions. You must prioritize the problems you will address with skill first, then worry about the other problems and which survival gear to buy later.
Getting Prepared to Have the Prepping Talk
Understand Your Reasons for Prepping
If you don’t have a well-thought-out reason for prepping, then you’re going to have a lot of trouble convincing others that they should join you or back you up. Watching an episode of “Doomsday Preppers” isn’t a good enough reason to begin prepping. What is it that concerns you? Research your reason and understand it well enough that you can explain it without a bunch of exaggerations and half-truths.
Do I think everyone should be a prepper? Absolutely. So why am I making it sound like you need to have a reason? Because there is always a reason. At the most basic, I believe people should be prepared for natural disasters. They are far-and-away the most common issue people face of a “prepping nature.” If that is your only reason, awesome. Just know why you want to prep and don’t sprinkle in other things that you don’t know about. Don’t be that person who says “I’m a prepper because I live in tornado alley. Also, someone on TV said the economy is terrible.” Your argument is much stronger if you just leave it at “I live in tornado alley.” Who would argue with that reason? I surely wouldn’t.
Understand How Others Will Perceive Your Reasons for Prepping
I get it. You’re completely convinced of your reason for prepping. The problem: you don’t control other peoples’ perceptions. If you’ve done 2 years of research regarding “magnetic pole reversal,” then fantastic. A person who has never heard of it will say “oh my gosh, that sounds really bad.” Then move on with their day.
Yes, there are a few people out there who might really listen, and possibly believe you, but for the most part, people will either doubt you because it sounds so impossible or they’ll Google “magnetic pole reversal”, read the opinion of a scientist who says it’s “fake science” and think you’re a quack. It might seem unfair, but it’s reality. It will take a long time and interest from the other person for them to truly understand and accept your views. Don’t try to force it at one time.
Understand Your Subject’s Concerns
It is easier to appeal to other peoples’ concerns than it is to get them to be concerned about your worries. If you can figure out what they are worried about, then you have an avenue to get them to start prepping. Does it really matter what the means are? When it comes to prepping, the ends tend to be the most important part. If you think it will be economic collapse, but your spouse thinks it will be foreign invasion, does it really matter?
Sure, some of the equipment purchases might differ, but for the most part, you both are working towards the same goal. Regarding the differences in survival gear, that’s called “compromise.”
The End is Near!
This is in no way intended to bash anyone’s reasons for prepping, but people have been saying this for thousands of years for many reasons. Yes, you might be correct, but I’ve had my time-sensitive concerns and have always been surprised how long things can be stretched out. I was convinced 2008 was it. Don’t let the pressures of predictions get to you.
Having the Prepping Talk
Before entering into the “prepping talk” remember that it may not actually have to happen. If you feel strongly about it, then fine, but if things are scooting along just fine and no one is raising an eyebrow at you, then why fix what isn’t broken? If you feel that having the talk is absolutely necessary though, here are some tips.
Feel Out the Situation
Have you ever heard the phrase “use a scalpel, not a meat cleaver?” This is one of those situations where lots of people use meat cleavers. As you can imagine, it doesn’t go well. Feel out how your spouse or family member feels about the subject without letting on that you’re convinced it’s necessary. Below are some ideas to help you feel out the situation.
Test the Waters Creatively
Instead of bringing up the conversation about starting to prep, why not try something a bit more creative that you can enjoy together? Watch some survival TV shows together and try to gauge their level of interest or rejection of the idea. Do they think it is ridiculous? Does it seem stupid to them? Are they finding it super boring? Do they think the situations are so unlikely that it doesn’t warrant a second thought?
If they show any interest at all, then the conversation might be easier than you think. If they hate everything about it, then you may have a lot more work cut out for you. Here are some shows you can try:
- Jericho: I love this show. It’s a great story with a lot of topics for great prepping conversation.
- Falling Skies: It might be an awesome sci-fi show, but invasion is invasion.
- Documentaries about natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina – This demonstrates how the government may not be able to help in a timely manner.
- Survivors: Super interesting show about a pandemic.
- SurvivorMan: Les Stroud is a champ. What he does is amazing and he does it without a film crew.
- Bear Grylls – He isn’t my favorite, but he certainly brings an entertaining element that appeals to many.
- Man Vs. Wild
- Running Wild with Bear Grylls
- The Discovery and History channels have many shows about living off-grid and in the wilderness.
- Alaska: The Last Frontier
- Mountain Men
- Sons of Winter
- Great Wild North
- Yukon Men
- No Man’s Land
- Alaskan Bush People
- Outback Hunters
- Flying Wild Alaska
- The Woodsmen
- Edge of Alaska
- American Jungle
Take Advantage of Their Hobbies
Does your spouse, child or other family member have hobbies that they enjoy? If you want to pick up some gear, then think of ways you can justify it using their interests. Are the kids in boy scouts or girl scouts? Can you pick up some gear and teach them with it? Do you want to purchase a shotgun, but it’s completely out of character for you and it would make your spouse suspicious? How can you make it less suspicious? Does your father-in-law love hunting? Maybe it’s time to start peppering him with some questions and see if you can arrange some time to learn the ropes.
Use the Most Rational Reasons First
The Government Wants You to Prepare
I cover this more in-depth in my article Why Be a Prepper, but suffice it to say, the government wants everyone to be preppers. It makes sense! The more self-reliant people are, the less reliant they’ll be on the government should the need arise. In fact, you’ll be able to help others around you, rather than waiting on the government!
You can find more information about the US Government’s tips for prepping at these resources:
Preparing for Likely Events
I don’t care if the primary reason you’re prepping is because you think the Yellowstone Super Volcano is going to erupt. The average person doesn’t even know what the Yellowstone Super Volcano is. If you hit a person with that reason, you might as well give up trying to convince them at all.
Comprehensive car coverage isn’t sold by telling you an asteroid might hit your vehicle. Insurance companies use rational concerns like a storm might damage it, or vandals may target it. You must use the same approach with talking with people about prepping. What are some of the challenges you face geographically?
Do you live in a hurricane or tornado prone area? You now have an iron clad reason to have the “prepping talk” with whoever you want. Heck, you even have a government resource saying you should be prepared. Just look at my reason above.
Prepping Talk Failed – Now What?
Sometimes, people just don’t want to think anything bad can happen. In that case, you may have to go it alone. There are numerous ways you can do this without drawing too much attention or criticism.
Blame the Government for Prepping
This is one of the easiest ways you can prep. Blame the government. They provide guidelines on what you need to do to prepare your family, and it’s only responsible to follow orders. What person can argue a document from federal agencies telling them to get non-perishable food and water stored for a disaster?
This is another easy way to do things under the radar. Buy your equipment and supplies very slowly. Have answers ready for any questions you might get. Before you buy a bunch of freeze dried camping food, bring home a couple bags and actually eat them. Establish a pattern. Sure, they might ask “Umm, why are you eating that food?” Just respond that you were curious about it and it actually tastes really good. Talk about how much easier it is to make that food versus cooking it yourself. Tell them you were “too lazy to cook.”
Do you have kids? Pick up a freeze dried ice cream sandwich or freeze dried ice cream as a fun treat. Then later, you can expand into other foods and just blame your own curiosity. Other things might be harder to massage in, but just do your best. Take up “new hobbies” if you must in order to do this. If you need to buy a cook stove, then perhaps it’s time to get interested in camping and hunting too. Start out slowly, maybe even something as simple as a magazine subscription. Don’t just show up at the house one day with a whole load of camping equipment. Everyone will wonder “where did this come from?”
Turn Prepping Into a Break
Your spouse probably works really hard, so how can prepping make their life easier? Can you take the kids out back and cook dinner over a camp stove or with a solar cooker while your spouse relaxes for a bit? Did you buy a fancy survival cooking system? Use it to make dinner! Do it frequently enough and you accomplish a few things:
- You’re making your spouse’s life easier by doing a chore.
- You get to practice with your equipment and improve your cooking skills.
- And, hopefully, you’re spending more quality time with the kids, because they’re outside with you.
Another prepping skill is canning food which is a really great skill to know. What sane husband or wife would be against the idea of their spouse making and canning homemade foods made with love? Just make sure you’re making delicious foods that they’ll enjoy. Not everyone likes sauerkraut and pickles. Don’t ask me how I know.
Accept That You May Be The Quirky Person in the Family
Sometimes, you just have to wear the clothes you’re given. If all else has failed, then hopefully your family will simply accept prepping as one of your quirks and not make too big a deal of it. Sure, it might come up in conversation at family events, but that’s a small price to pay for the peace of mind you’re creating.
Prepping Is About Taking Care of Family
Whatever the results are, always remember that prepping is about taking care of family. It shouldn’t get between people, and it’s important to remember that your spouse or family may never be on board. Respect their views, and do things in a way that won’t be obvious. Family will just accept this as one of your quirks, and that’s OK.
It’s OK to be the quirky person, and especially if your concerns come to fruition. If that does happen, then you’ll have earned your family’s respect. Don’t ever stop prepping simply because it is difficult. You just need to adjust how you do it to avoid making unnecessary waves.