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For almost every man and woman who has had a life-changing event that turned them into preppers, there is a story of the spouse or other family members that didn’t understand or refused to accept this new way of life.
I found myself in this situation once. And today I want to tell you how with a bit of patience and persistence, over time, I fixed it.
This post is divided into two parts. First, I will answer that burning question so many of you have raised in forums, conversations, and emails asking: “How do I convince loved ones to prepare?”. Then next, we will cover the next important issue, once you have actually convinced a family member or loved one to hear you out, how you can answer objections that family members may raise.
Let’s get started.
The moment has arrived. You have been convinced that you must prepare for hard times. This means storing food, learning different survival skills and researching methods on how you can prepare for what might occur in your area. It means changing how you behave financially. It means doing whatever it takes to separate yourself from the herd that will raid food market aisles, and eventually come knocking on your door for help.
You’re ready, but there’s a problem. You need a team that you can work with. Surely your family would be good enough right? They’re the most important people to you and you want to keep them alive. So all you have to do tell your family you are prepping. And not only must you tell your family about yours (and what could be their) new lifestyle, you must convince your loved ones to prepare and that it is the way to live.
Here is how I did it.
If you get up there and start making things up on the spot you are going to look unorganized and not credible source on prepping. You want your family to know you are serious about prepping and that you are the person to look to when the sh-t hits the fan. If you don’t look organized, you are doing your family and your beliefs a disservice. Make no mistake: you are preaching a life-giving sermon. If you are wrong, there are few if any downsides, but if you are correct, you will be a savior to many lives.
To convince loved ones to prepare, make a detailed and well-informed presentation. I don’t recommend it, but take notes if you need to. Have facts and figures. Know what you believe is the biggest threat and tell them why you believe so. Your feelings are rarely enough to convince people that they must change their way of living, so be ready with facts.
Plan what you’re going to say and stick to the plan, come what may.
Not everyone is scared of the same things you are. My wife is terrified of a home invader even though I am not (that’s because I’ve got four members of the family, we’ve all got guns, and we can all use them. I pity the fool coming in my home uninvited) so in my presentation, I spoke to her fears and how we could prepare for a home invader, as well as take up more elements of a preparedness lifestyle.
I told her that if life got bad enough, lone wolves and mobs would probably come looting, robbing, raping, and killing in local neighborhoods.
This is not manipulative! It’s the truth. I simply revealed to her a possible consequence of not being prepared.
You owe it to your loved ones to share with them the full impact of what may come to pass if things get bad enough. If they’re afraid of being alone, speak to that! If they’re afraid of financial hardship, speak to that!
Show them, in a way they understand, what may happen if no preparation takes place. Speak to their fears.
Of all these tips, this one is both the most important and the most difficult to get right.
Remember that you are helping the people you are discussing this issue with. You are not forcing it. You are not forcing them. You are offering to help them. If you approach it in any other way, you will receive hostile feedback. This is simply because people don’t like to be commanded. Not even your spouse, not even your kids, and not even your friends.
If this conversation about prepping is taking place, remember: you are asking them to prepare for a disaster with you. You are willing to do it alone because you think it is right, but you want to do it by their side and with their support.
Be gentle. Be loving. Be kind. Let your tone reflect these things.
So you gave the presentation like a master orator and you were met with silence. Blank stares. Grimaces. They looked at their feet a lot.
And then one lone voice raised an objection, soon echoed by another. Before you know what to do, those you love have revolted against your measly presentation and your desired preparation with quick comebacks. You’re probably going to hear these a lot from friends at work, people online and anyone else that doesn’t see any value in prepping. You have probably heard some of these before, such as: “there is no such thing as a doomsday” or “what happens if nothing ever happens”.
Your loved ones do not like the idea of you prepping and will most likely start quite critical of the presentation you have spent time on. Here’s what to do.
You have done your presentation and what you have planned. So now it is time to stop talking and let your family have their say. So shut up, sit down, and let them speak.
They will never trust you with their lives if they cannot trust you in a conversation.
Take a moment and read that last sentence again. Your loved ones probably love you back. And that means that they trust you to listen to their words. So do it.The listening phase has two goals.
When they discuss why you shouldn’t prep, listen to them. Hear them out. They will probably have valid reasons. Maybe they think your fear is unfounded. Maybe they will say that they don’t want to change what is working financially.
Maybe they just think you’re crazy. But hear them out, learn their objections, and then…
If they bring up objections, then you didn’t speak to their fears enough the first time. Do it again after listening. They will probably bring up points that you didn’t expect or weren’t prepared for.
That is okay.
If you have to, tell them that you don’t know how to respond to their objection. Look up some facts and get back to them. There is no shame in not having all of the information on command. Do remember two things: first, you are not speaking to your fear. You are speaking to theirs. Second, use facts and figures. Your emotion is probably not enough to win the day.
Hear their objections, speak to their objections.
When dealing with their objections, be ready for some stinging remarks. Someone, whether they mean to or not, will undoubtedly say something that hurts your feelings and feels like they are attacking your character. It’s just the name of the game.
Be ready for your loved ones to say hurtful things. Be ready to be hurt by their lack of support. It isn’t that they don’t love you or don’t support you. It is that they think this is a fad at best and ridiculous at worst.
Be prepared for them to say things that you might not like. You owe it to them, to yourself, and to your beliefs to not give up.
Remember that you aren’t commanding them. You are asking their permission to prep with them. Show your love for them by listening to them, by not interrupting, and by taking on an air of humility. You don’t know everything, you don’t have all the answers, and you can’t make all the problems go away.
They will appreciate you in the long run if you don’t act like you can do any of those things.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. If you walk away from the conversation and they still aren’t on the same wavelength, that’s okay. You did your best. Nothing more can be expected of you. Be patient. At this point, it’s best to begin to show instead of tell.
Here’s an example I found true one time: my family wasn’t unsupportive, but they definitely weren’t really feeling the preparedness thing. They were kindly skeptical about it. One time on a road trip, we had been on the road for hours and I insisted that we were not stopping until we got to our destination. Pee in bottles, starve, I don’t care. We’re making it.
After a few hours, my family was pretty hungry but we were so close (kinda) and I didn’t want to stop. Then my oldest boy remembered something: “Hey Dad, don’t you keep food around here somewhere?”. I told him where to find my bug out bag that I keep in my car. It’s stashed with emergency foods such as granola, some canned foods, and other items that are useful in bugging out. You know the kind.
After my two boys, wife, and I had all gotten something, my wife put her hand on my leg, turned towards me, and said: “Well, I guess being prepared does come in handy.” No one ever gave me another moment of grief about prepping.
If you have experienced any difficulties talking to your family members, loved ones, or friends, about prepping, let us know in the comment section below how you went about dealing with it. This is a problem many preppers face and often turns what should be a fun activity into a lonely hobby.