Today’s post is inspired by a great question from one of our readers:
“Rick, I’ve been prepping for about a year now and every time I try to talk to my family or friends about being more prepared they basically ignore me or look at me like I’m crazy. How do you convince people who haven’t “woke up” yet to start prepping”
This is great question that I get fairly often, so today we’re going to discuss how to discuss prepping with people outside of the preparedness community and how to give yourself the best odds for “convincing” someone to start their own preparedness journey.
This isn’t an episode of intervention
As I discussed in a past article “How to Get Your Spouse on Board with Prepping”, the easiest way to turn someone off to prepping is by telling them they need to start prepping.
Let’s think about this for a second. Put yourself in the shoes of the person you’re trying to convince. If someone, even a friend or family member came up to you before you got into prepping and told you that there was a serious chance of a global pandemic, that the government is manipulating inflation for more control over its citizens, that we are one EMP away from living in the dark ages again AND that you needed to prepare for those disasters NOW… you’d probably think they were crazy too.
Sitting someone down and having the “prepper talk” about all the Hollywood disaster scenarios that could destroy the world as we know it is a horrible way to go about introducing someone to prepping.
In fact, if you’re doing this…please stop. We don’t need any more fear mongering in this community and you’re not convincing anyone. You’re turning people away and we need all the preppers we can get to face the struggles this country has ahead of it.
People don’t get into preparedness just because their buddy or brother-in-law says it’s a good idea. The only person that can convince someone to get into prepping is themselves. If they don’t come to the conclusion that preparedness is a good idea on their own, they’re not going to come to the conclusion at all, and if you push them, human nature will practically force them to resist it.
That being said, there are several ways we can plant the seeds of preparedness in others that often times will lead to them deciding on their own to learn more about prepping.
A prepper by any other name is still a prepper
One of the problems I think a lot of people have with talking to others about prepping is that the media has done a very good job convincing the average person that all preppers are nothing but paranoid hoarders. Shows like Doomsday Preppers have set back the public opinion on prepping drastically (which is why I will NEVER endorse that show) and have made it very hard to even breathe the word “prepper” into a conversation and be taken seriously.
If you want to open up a dialogue with someone about prepping, do yourself a favor, pretend like you’re playing Taboo and that the word “prepper” isn’t allowed in the conversation. You’d be surprised how much easier it is to convince someone to buy some extra food or ammo than it is to get them to join the official “prepper” ranks.
Prepping itself is just a label. We’re gardeners, hunters, cooks, canners, amateur electricians, wood workers, gun enthusiasts, teachers, parents, communication specialists….the list goes on and on.
If you ask 10 different preppers what being a prepper actually means, I guarantee you’re going to get 10 different answers. In fact, I know a couple homesteaders that are much more dedicated “preppers” than I am, but they’d take offense to being called a “prepper”.
Labels matter to a lot of people; don’t shoot yourself in the foot trying to convince someone to be a prepper when in reality all you’re trying to do is get them to do the things that preppers do. Talk about hobbies that make up being a prepper and leave the labels at the door.
When in doubt, look to Mother Nature
I’ve talked before about the “Threat Matrix”. Basically a Threat Matrix is just a list of disaster scenarios that you’re likely to encounter, categorized by how common each of those disasters is. At the top of the list are the more “mundane” disasters like blowing out a tire on your vehicle or your cell phone dying when you’re away from home. Then comes the more serious, yet still (by most standards) mundane disasters like losing a job, or natural disasters, last on that list are the Hollywood disasters like EMPs and Pandemics.
If you’re struggling to convince someone that they should start prepping, your best bet is to focus on natural disasters. It doesn’t matter where you are; you probably have some kind of natural disaster that’s common to your area. For me its tornadoes and winter storms, for you it may be hurricanes or wildfires, either way, everyone has to be worried about Mother Nature at some point.
If you want to open up a great stepping stone conversation about prepping with someone, just focus on natural disasters. Stocking up on a couple weeks of food and water doesn’t seem crazy when you remind them that the store shelves were empty during the last big storm or you that a few months back there was a several day boil order for water. If you focus solely on preparing for natural disasters and that person actually takes steps to do SOMETHING to prepare for them, you’ve succeeded in starting someone on their preparedness journey. It may not be the same journey you’re on, but if someone at least has a couple weeks of food and water on hand, they’re better off than 90% of the country. You can try to convince them to join your zombie militia another time J
You can lead a horse to water…yadda yadda
In some cases you’re simply not going to be able to get someone on the path of preparedness no matter what you say or do. For some people, preparedness just isn’t in their DNA. They’re reactionists, they don’t plan, they don’t predict problems and they simply fly by the seat of their pants whenever they’re faced with a problem or hope that someone else takes care of it for them.
You’re not going to be able to convince these types of people no matter what you do. That’s not to say that they’ll never be preppers, but YOU will never be able to convince them. Something will have to happen to them to kick start that journey. Unfortunately in most cases like this, it would take an extremely serious disaster for them to even consider something like a bugout plan, alternative incomes or learning how to use a gun safely and by that time it will probably be too late.
There’s really nothing you can do for these people and honestly it’s probably better that you don’t even bring up preparedness with them. I have talked about preparedness with pretty much everyone I know offline, but there’s only a handful that have actually listened and taken action because of it. I still have many friends that aren’t prepared for anything. It’s unfortunate, but there’s nothing more I can do. I can’t force someone to be a prepper any more than I can force someone to quit smoking or lose weight.
Sometimes talking to non-preppers about preparedness can be about as effective as beating your head against a wall. Some people will fully agree with you and might surprise you with how prepared they already are. Some people might take a little convincing and others will fight tooth and nail to keep their head in the sands of the uninformed no matter what you say. Don’t let this discourage you from talking about prepping with your friends and family.
None of us have a crystal ball and none of us can say for certain what disasters we may face in the future. You never know who is going to respond well to the “prepper talk” and who won’t, but don’t let these people discourage you from sharing our message. It only takes one good talk to put someone on the path of preparedness, and that one talk could someday save their life.
Thanks for reading everyone, stay safe out there!
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