The Dilemma of Friends and Family Who Don’t Prep

In the time that I’ve been prepping, I’ve talked to a lot of friends and family about the need for them to prep too. I’ve gotten varying answers in this conversation, but the one answer I hear more than anything is, “I’ll just come to your house.” It’s always said with a laugh, as though it’s such a hilarious, original joke, and I’ve read many folks who advocate answering that with a resounding “No, you won’t.”

On one hand, this sounds greedy and rude–or at least, you’re told that it does. How can the person who claims to want to build local communities and work together with neighbors not be willing to share in hard times, when your little nephews are starving or the family next door doesn’t have any more water and no hope of getting any? Some may say that there’s a moral and ethical obligation to help others regardless of situation. Others I’ve talked to say that they’ll give the people at the door two days’ rations and tell them that’s it. Still others say they’ll help children but no one else.

The problem is that they’re still thinking in terms of normal, civilized society, and the social mores that people generally abide by–and trying to apply them in a brutal, life-or-death situation where there are no rules and no limits.

In order to understand the real situation you’d be faced with, you need to read Selco’s work, in which he describes in great detail the mindset changes that occur in a societal breakdown. Think about what happens when an area is faced with a major storm, or prolonged power outages. People swarm the stores, scrambling for supplies before they’re gone. Looting and theft, even assaults and worse occur.

Let’s take a look at some of the potential situations. Let’s assume you have a family of four people plus one dog. You’ve saved a few hundred dollars in silver, and you’ve got three months of food and water saved up.

“We Must Help Others”

If you help anyone who asks you in a SHTF situation, that three months of food will last days–if you’re lucky. Word will get out that you have food, and everyone in your neighborhood will be standing at your door. Now all the food’s gone–what do you do for your own family?

People who are starving–even normally decent and good people–will do whatever it takes to feed themselves and their families. What do you think they’ll do if you tell them your food is gone? Do you think they’ll just say, “oh, okay,” and wander off? If you want to stay alive, helping everyone around you is not a good idea.

“I’ll Give Them Two Days’ Rations”

While this sounds like a compassionate course of action that somewhat protects your family’s food supply, this may be even stupider than just opening up your stores and helping everyone. Think of the story of the golden goose. What do you think will happen if you tell someone, “Okay here’s two days of food. Now go away”? You’ve just told them that you have more food, but you’re not going to give it to them. How do you think that story ends? It ends with you dead and them in charge of your house, in all probability. Not to mention, just as in the previous scenario, word will spread that you have food. Do you also have enough ammo to fight off the whole neighborhood, who will need to eat again in two days? By the way…when will you sleep?

“I’ll Only Help Children”

This may be one of the biggest mistakes. Play it out in your head: A parent comes to the door holding a toddler and says, “Please just give me food for my child,” so you do. Do you really, honestly think the parent is going to allow themselves to starve to death in order to keep their child alive? Sure, parents would give their lives for their child in normal circumstances, but these aren’t normal circumstances. Would you let yourself starve to death for your toddler, knowing that once you die, your toddler is now alone? Of course not. You can’t protect your child if you’re dead. This means that parents will look for food for themselves and their children–and your compassionate gift “for the children” will still end up in the exact same ending as the previous two situations.

Not Advertising Your Prep at All

That’s the best course of action. Don’t advertise. You might be asking, “Well how am I supposed to tell people they should be prepping and then pretending I don’t?” That part’s actually fairly simple. Tell people you’ve got the standard 72-hour kit.  At some level, if you’re trying to get people to prepare themselves and their family, they’re going to assume that you have something saved up. Better to address that up front.

I asked JC Dodge, noted survivalist, what people should do in that situation. He pointed out that sometimes we end up giving up a bit of security in order to help a novice prepper get started, such as friends or family. You may find that true in your own case as well. You may choose to just talk about prepping in forums or other places where you can hide your identity and location from others.

You could always go the other direction, and simply not talk about anything you do to prep. You could choose to not even bother with trying to get people on board. You could shrug when talk of it comes up, and just hope out loud that nothing happens like the other sheep do.

Whatever you do, don’t be that guy, the one who is posting pics of his preps, bragging on social media about his trailer full of supplies and food. Don’t be the one who smugly announces that folks should “go ahead and try to take my stuff.”

At the end of the day, what you choose to do in regards to your preps is your business. But if you want to keep yourself, your family, and your stash of food and supplies safe from those who don’t feel the need to prepare themselves now thinking they can leech off of you later, you may want to think twice about being so open about what you have.

28 Replies to “The Dilemma of Friends and Family Who Don’t Prep”

  1. A SHTF scenario is not limited to a world, national or regional crisis. SHTF happens at a family level as well. It could be under the guise of lost income, lost health and many unexpected surprises. My takeaway from the past few years of my experience is “Your failure to plan ahead does not constitute an emergency on my part.”

    1. That is an excellent point. I am all about helping you prepare NOW. But don’t come to me after losing your job two months after you bought a new truck and expect help.

  2. I tell new people to check out the building your food storage in ten weeks plan on Defensive Training Group’s site,which shows it’s not some huge sacrifice to get some food stored up.
    (using new phone,haven’t figured out how to copy and paste links yet)
    I’ve found it’s easier to get family and friends to store up food and supplies when you live in a rural area where there are frequenbt power outages,and roads become impassible for at least several days at a time,or weeks when I lived in NW Montana. I lived on the N.C. Outer Banks,which get hit with a hurricane every once in a while. It usually only took new people one time of being a part of the insanity at the stores during the couple of days before a hurricane to realize it’s better to already have food,supplies,gas for the generator,fuel for camp stoves and lanterns,etc. stocked up and ready to go.
    I’ve also seen people just stop prepping,usually they say something like if nothing bad has happened by now,it’s not going to.
    That’s part of the reason most of our food storage is stuff we eat all the time anyhow. Just by getting a few extra cans,extra packages of pasta,an extra 10# of rice,extra sugar,flour,salt,etc. it’s not hard to keep stocked up.
    Fortunately for us,the neighbors all prep-some more than others-but they all have some food and supplies.
    Anyone coming to our door will be turned away,sounds cold hearted,but things would not be the same as in “normal” times.

  3. I agree with just not talking about it to anyone. They’re not really interested anyway. However I was surprised one day when I was talking about canning stuff from my garden and a lady said, “If anything happens, I’m coming to your house!” It was just a comment about canning, for cripes sake. It sort of bothered me because if anything really does happen, guess who’s going to pop into her mind? I stopped talking about gardening, etc.

  4. We relocated to an area in the mountains of North Carolina. The subject of prepping came up as we knew this particular realtor had a reputation for specializing on properties for preppers. She had grown up in the region she worked in and her family had settled there generations ago.
    Her comment was simply that here in the mountains people who have lived here fro generations don’t talk about prepping or even really think about it because it is already a way of life for them and has been for generations. That was how I was raised. You learned how to hunt, fish, garden, preserve food and can. you learned what local plants could be used for food and what could be used for medicinal purposes. That was just the way it was. My father would never think about using an herbicide on his lawn to get rid of dandelions which when harvested young are a very good tasting and nutritious green especially when served with malt or herb flavored vinegar.
    We put away food enough for our immediate extended family which includes 3 children and 3 grandchildren to last us approximately 6 months that can be stored for up to 25 years, But more importantly we have stocked away seeds that could last a life time and beyond. We have multiple water sources, a stocked fish pond and a creek with native trout not to mention plenty of turkey and deer which we only occasionally harvest now more as a learning session for the young ones and today we catch and release unless a fish is damage din the process of catching them.
    We have a very large garden area and have planted blueberry and raspberry patches that will feed three times or more than our immediate family group as they mature. We have over 30 fruit trees including different varieties of apples, plums, pears, peaches and persimmons. This spring will add strawberry patches and an asparagus bed and increase our herb plantings both culinary and medicinal.
    I am a firm believer that true prepping isn’t something you do, it is a way of living and one that is a traditional way of life in America.
    Virtually no one outside of the family unit is aware of what we have been building. The few local contractors that have been here have seen some but not all. Our nearest neighbor is 1-1/2 miles down the road from us and they have an orchard. Their biggest concern is if we have prepped enough to get us by for 2-3 weeks or longer if needed. They have been told not to worry we are working on it and to call us if they ever need anything or any help. Our property is well posted and a sign on the entrance warns there will not be a warning shot for trespassers. We are prepared to defend what we have and the property lends itself well to self defense. Don’t come here. “All we ask is to be let alone.”

    1. sawman43 = Best Answer.
      Its a LIfestyle and surround yourself with like minded people.

      (on the other side of the mtn from you sm43)

      1. Winston Smith – I have no illusions of lasting until the next big awakening or degradation is over depending on the outcome if only because I am well on in years. But I will not go quietly into that goodnight and I hope to at least have a place my family unit can survive on. If survival is meant to be but that is in greater Hands than ours.

      1. Lineman I am familiar with Dan Morgan’s Patrol series. I have never met him but we have mutual friends I will revisit those articles.

        1. I just don’t want you to make the same mistake those who thought being isolated was enough to protect them instead of banding together with the neighbors to provide a decent defense against predators…You say you have a defendable property what makes it that way…Do you hold the high ground so you can’t be sniped at, do you have at least a hundred yards cleared around your main house so you have clear fields of fire, a buffer against fire, and so no one can sneak up on you, is your water source where you can get to it without exposing yourself, do you have a barrier between you and any population center that you can use to slow the boards advance, do you have a fence around your property, all things to think about….Also I would be talking serious with my neighbors about banding together and which farm you are going to use to do so…Don’t be like those who think they can take on any and all comers by themselves or with a small group… Community is where it’s at we can’t do everything…

          1. Lineman – I agree with you and we are connecting with neighbors as you are right community is the best protection. Having relocated late last summer it is taking sometime as the people who live this far out are out here for a reason and they value their privacy.
            No property is perfect and even 100 yds of open land all the way around you doe snot protect you from being sniped at.

          2. The hundred yards is more so that can’t sneak on your position and will have a tougher time burning you out… Holding the high ground has more to do with the sniping aspect…Glad that your getting to know your neighbors its what will help get you through the worst of it…

  5. Tough part is when you teach your family to prep. Your kids will talk to other kids in the neighborhood, that is what they do. So the word will get out that you prep. So you just need to be prepared to say no.

    1. In my humble opinion if you live in an area where most people don’t prep then you in a real SHTF situation you are toast unless you build a neighborhood support network that also preps. Trust me as people are starting to go hungry they will notice that you haven’t dropped 10-15 pounds.
      Okay I get it not everyone can afford to move to a different location because of jobs, family and money issues. Heck I admit many think they can’t afford to prep but prepping the right way can start with buying a few extra longer term storage items you already buy but learning to garden, can, preserving jellies and jams and relishes can actually lift a burden off your pocket book.
      There were many years when we were raising a young family we lived off garden during the season and what we could put away during the off season.
      If you can’t relocate then build a local network and become a beacon of light bringing those in who also want to prep and share already learned skills and learn new ones together. If you think you are going to make it alone if things get real bad you are sadly mistaken.

  6. And If they (them others) know your a LDS member then your target #1. Lazy don’t cut it with me. I shop where you do and you see whats in my cart,do the same, I buy good food not the other stuff, uno twinkies,beer soda (diet ) and don’t bitch about what I eat. Im working just as many hours as you and have the same days off, use what time we have left. Quit bitch-en.

  7. Here is a fact – survival instincts are biologically programmed and are either expressed or repressed genetically or epigenetically. You will NEVER, EVER convince those who are not already predisposed to do so. (for more on this, youtube Stefan Molyneux series on ‘Gene Wars’ regarding – r/K – genetic preference.

    Do not waste your time with those that choose not to hear you or cannot comprehend what you are saying if they trend towards ‘r’, they are a lost cause.

    I hear and read all the time about how one cannot relocate because of job, family, yada yada. Then when shtf, your done, plain and simple. You have to live in an area that hosts a majority population of ‘K’s to survive, build networks, rebuild and rely on neighbors. An area that is majority ‘K’ that doesn’t prep at all is massively preferable to your tight knit totally prepared survival group in an area dominated by ‘r’s. MOVE! It takes massive gut wrenching sacrifice, planning and drive. But you can do it, it may take years, stops and starts, and much adversity. We just elected a man that may be able to hold back the crash for a couple years. Use this time wisely, it is a gift.

    Me? I speak from experience: middle aged, high school educated, married, 3 kids, 2 dogs. Spent 20 years in southern California, escaped 5 years ago – now live in the Appalachian foothills on a small farm.

  8. Excellent article and I enjoyed all the comments.. We implemented an additional “code” to get in our door so we know who family is. We happened to mention this to a good friend and of course then it was “what is it? what is it?” All we told him is I guess you won’t be let in the door. We moved to a HUGELY populated area, this is our pre retirement home. If there were a SHTF we would be screwed just by sheer volume of people that will be looting. When true retirement comes (later in years) it will be to a much smaller community away from all of this .

  9. The thing is if we don’t band together with others after an event then we will be taken out by those who do…There is going to be a lot more desperate people than prepped people and desperate people will band together a lot faster than people who are rugged survivalist…So if you’re not doing what you can to get people on board now when times are halfway stable then your setting yourself up for failure…This is the reason why I push for like minded Liberty Communities so those that are around you have the same mentality when it comes to Preparedness…If you don’t have that where you are at then you need to make moving your highest priority…If you have to hide that you are prepared you probably don’t live in a good community…

  10. Quite nice article and sence comments.
    My american friend shared the link with me.
    We read your prepper articles and some books here in Russia – since your movement was the pioneer one on our planet.
    And any thought is of value for thinking on your own condition.

    The sawman43’s comment seems to be most adequate to the starting conditions(persimmons, yak, i hate it. my wife loves. very nice of mother nature it’s too cold in here to grow, lol).
    But just to think of something really bad happens – i mean not as bad and long to resolve as Katrina but alike – for month or two no power of law at all on vast areas like several neighbour States.

    And lineman’s comment on band is more adequate.
    Just think you have 4 grownups in the house.
    You’ll not be able to do anything but standing guard 1 man watch like NAVY shifts.
    Let alone patroling or raids for resupply of hunting.
    If the only doctor is miles away and some looters possible present to get some medical care will turn into some very risky army-like operation.
    Let alone if some gangs, cops, mercs and so on are looting.
    If you have kinda-Jericho and act like in this TV series – you will get in real trouble quite soon.
    As far as i remember cops were thrown out of New Orleans Stadium with refuges bu some maraudeuring looters.
    And National Guard had a hard job to clean the city.

    Gone feeding the bear with vodka and my reactor with plutonium.
    You can ask questions if you please.

  11. As a ‘country boy’, today, Daisy, our beagle, brought home a rabbit. “Well, thank you Daisy! Good girl!” Country boy will survive.
    Now.. philosophically, there are many others who live in the area, some, survivors of the Great Depression, some children of them.
    Ultimately, it boils down to what others have called;
    The Religion of PROGRESS. Always moving forward. Deceived into believing that; “That ain’t gonna happen. It can’t happen, this is AMERICA!” All you can do is smile and shake your head, because they will be the first ones on your doorstep, as we all know.
    So. We have chickens, everybody around knows I have chickens since they free range in the yard all day. Everybody puts us(me and my wife) in the ‘them white trash’ category. We actually cultivate that attitude, while everybody else spends their money on boats, fancy cars, cruises, vacations, etc. we spend what money we have (We’ re retired on SS ++) on ‘stuff’. I have a complete blacksmith shop, my wife does ‘crafts’, and we have a ‘visible pantry’, and an invisible stockpile. We therefore cultivate the whole place as looking ‘poor’. That’s ‘level 1’ defense. Level 2, as in all war, is deception, with empathy…

    Part of the pantry, is the old out of date canned goods. Rotating can goods doesn’t mean we throw it out, it gets added to the ‘pile of out of date crap’.
    If ‘beggars’ come to the area, we(the families) have decided to give out the old crap, and tell them, “Its all we got left, and if its good enough for me, its good enough for you”.

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