Preppin’ ain’t crazy! That’s the kneejerk response most of us want to shout at our friends and family members who view our activities as being nothing more than conspiracy theory precautions. It’s also the wrong way to go about convincing those folks that we are, in fact, not looney tunes.
Prepping, although more popular today than in the past 3 decades, still isn’t considered a mainstream lifestyle, like it was during the early days of pioneer settlers and homesteaders. As a matter of fact, one of the first things new preppers learn is that people who consider themselves “normal,” often view us as the oddballs. We also have our beliefs and activities challenged by those who simply “don’t get it.”
As you gain prepping experience and get a few seasons under your belt, it becomes easier to ignore those weird looks from neighbors, but your family and friends are more important to you, and should therefore be given the opportunity to learn and understand what you are doing, as well as why you are doing it.
That being said, it isn’t always easy to convince those who are closest to you that you haven’t lost your mind. With that in mind, try a few of these simple tips if you need help talking to a family member about getting involved with prepping.
Drop Their Guard:
Those who have never been involved with prepping, often have a skewed outlook on the lifestyle. This is in part due to the exceptional sensationalizing of “reality” based survival series, many of which are out of touch with reality. This causes viewers to associate local preppers with the apocalyptic anarchists, far right militia groups, and doom and gloom predictors they are familiar with on TV. It’s this misconception that presents the biggest roadblock when it comes to sharing the truth about emergency preparedness.
The first thing you need to do with family and close friends is provide them with clarity; be upfront and honest with them about what you are doing and why it is necessary in the first place. When you really think about it, the things we do as members of the prepping community aren’t at all crazy. Hell, most of them aren’t even exciting; they’re nothing more than precautionary measures we take to enhance our chances of surviving a disaster.
You might also find it easier to change the language when you talk to them about your personal prepping efforts. Terms they are familiar with from those “reality” shows are often intimidating to people unfamiliar with what prepping truly involves. Instead of using words like “survivalist,” “SHTF,” “bugging out,” “survivalist,” etc., consider using soft sell terms such as “sustainability,” “self-reliance,” “self-sufficiency,” and “storm shelters,” to get your points across without alienating the people you’re speaking with.
Find Common Ground:
Almost everyone alive has experienced some form of natural, or manmade disaster, during their lifetime. This is the common ground should seek out and use to your advantage. It doesn’t even have to be a serious disaster to get the ball rolling, it just has to bridge the gap.
If there is has been a localized event in recent years, maybe that’s where you want to start. That winter storm that passed through last year and knocked the power out for the entire weekend, or that tornado that swept through the other side of town and destroyed everything in sight. Bring this up, remind them of what it was like, especially for those directly affected, then ask them how they would’ve handled it. Ask them what they were doing when those disasters were happening.
If their response happens to include the use of a flashlight, candles, extra clothes and blankets, using a generator, etc., then you’re on good ground; you’re both preppers, just to a different degree.
Escalate & Educate:
Once you’ve got them in the right frame of mind by finding that common ground, escalate the situation slightly and educate them even further. Ask them how having that little bit of equipment helped them get through that disaster. Then quiz them on what that gear would’ve done for them had the situation been more serious; would it have helped them survive, or would they want more gear to overcome a more serious situation.
At this stage of the game, they’ve either started to convince themselves that being better prepared is a wise lifestyle choice, or they’ve got a glazing over their eyes that signals they’ve been having trouble processing the data you’ve delivered. If the former situation is the case, then continue to encourage them. However, if the latter is the case, know when to walk away; there’s only so much you can do before it becomes annoying and obnoxious to those you’re trying to help.