10 Ways To Bring Up The Touchy Subject Of Prepping

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I was a prepper long before I had ever heard the term prepper. You can read about it here. I’m also an extremely private person. Yeah, I know, writing a blog is a bit of an irony, and sometimes it’s a paradox for me. I am a bit shy especially in groups; maybe it’s because I was bullied as a child, or maybe it’s because friendship doesn’t mean what it once did, and I don’t trust people as easily as I get older. In any case, I don’t preach my beliefs and conventions to people; I am guarded.

Obviously, if I’m showing people how to do specific things and I’m doing them myself, I think they are important, but that’s as far as it goes. I’m not sanctimonious. If you don’t want to do a project you can move on to the next one; I won’t hold it against you. I won’t tell you something like, if you don’t start growing your own food you’re going to suffer or even worse–die. I don’t think it’s my place to try to convince you. I believe people can make their own decisions and since I don’t know you, telling you that you must grow your own food would be presumptuous on my part. It’s an extremely invasive act to persuade someone to a certain way of thinking. So I remain private about my stance on things like politics, faith, and a few other private matters.

So what do you do when you care deeply for someone and want to share your concerns because you’re convinced that it will save them from suffering? Or how do you approach someone who you feel a connection with, but aren’t sure how to bring up the subject of prepping with? After all, we are social beings and even though we can do a lot of things on our own, often we can do them better in a group or with a buddy.

Many people would say you can’t bring up the subject of prepping. It’s no one’s business and there are little things you can say here and there to guide people in the “right” direction, but that’s as far as the conversation should ever go. OPSEC (Operations security) is alive and well in the prepping community. OPSEC is a term used by the military that basically means one should protect information from getting into the wrong hands, even little bits of information because someone on the other side could at some point put all those little pieces together to form the bigger picture if you were to become a threat. The idea is hotly debated, as many don’t feel it’s a realistic concept for civilian life. I am one of those people. I don’t think it’s possible to maintain a significant level of OPSEC in today’s free flowing information cyber world. Does that mean I take my neighbors on a tour of my food storage closet? No. I’m not suggesting you throw out common sense, but I don’t feel like it’s possible to maintain a crucial level of OPSEC and still participate in normal day to day activities.

If are not committed to total silence then how can you bring up the touchy subject of prepping and hopefully find a like-minded compatriot?

  1. Trust Comes With Time—You can’t expect to walk up to someone and automatically be best friends. I know that is common sense for most people, but we’ve all made that mistake of misinterpreting cues and over-shared with someone we didn’t end up becoming close friends with. Most of the time the over-share is not that big of a deal, maybe you revealed to much about your marriage, or a problem you’ve had with your children. The thing is, people talk. You realize you’ve over-shared when word gets back around to you through another mutual friend or neighbor. Prepping is a touchy subject for you and for others. With the help of certain TV shows much of the world now thinks preppers are a little insane. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting you live in fear of rumors, but the fact remains you have to deal with them when they come up so, “a ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Aside from the rumor mill this also keeps your assets secure. Give your relationship time to develop before revealing your prepping tendencies.
  2. Ease Into The Subject—Don’t make the conversation a “we need to talk” or “I have something to tell you” conversation. Nothing will put a burden on a friendship like a “please keep my secret” kind of conversation. When people do that sort of thing to me I feel guilty for even telling my husband. It’s not something you want to pile onto to someone else. Ease into the conversation with a mention here and there about buying a few extra bags of beans or stocking up on a sale. Then move onto being glad you own a grill or another alternative cooking method, because you never know when the electricity might go off. Slowly, move onto more serious preps one conversation at a time.
  3. Look At the Person’s Connections In the Community—This is one that takes a few conversations to understand and evaluate. Like I said before people talk. Sometimes it’s not even part of a rumor mill; it’s just chit-chat, but either way information gets passed from one person to another. Consider if you’d like the information you want to share with your friend to get into the hands of people they are associated with. This will be a risk one way or another because you don’t have control of the information after you’ve revealed it. However, what if your friend works for the mayor’s office? In a crisis your food storage could be easy located and you’d have to surrender it to the local government. This is an extreme example but you get the idea. You have to understand/assume that at least some of your information will fall into the hands of your friend’s associates.
  4. What Kind Of Prepper Are You—Are you prepping for a rainy day or do you believe TEOTWAWKI is coming next year, or are you somewhere in between? This information will weigh into to your decision to share information. If you think we are only months away from a total collapse maybe keeping your mouth shut is the better option at this time. However, if you have a food storage because you want a little insurance against your spouse losing their job then you might be a little more apt to talk.
  5. Consider Your Level Of OPSEC—Like I mentioned above, OPSEC is highly debated in the preparedness community. For some preppers it is one of their most important assets and for others it’s non-existent. Consider where you are on this scale before you share information with friends.
  6. Know When To Back-Out—If you do start talking about preparedness and run into discord, you have to know when to back-out and shut-up. No matter how much you like your friend arguing and debating the subject should not be done over your preps. I’m not saying to not continue the conversation to try to persuade someone you care about that preparedness is important, but at the point you know there is a disagreement it should be done in a general sense, and not over how many buckets of beans you have stashed.
  7. Know How Much To Reveal—This goes along with number two. But takes it a step further is that you may hit a road block for one reason or another. There may come a time in the conversation/s that you need to revel less than you intended. Perhaps new information comes to light during the conversation or new viewpoints are revealed. Play it safe. You can always reveal more at a later date, but once information is given out you can’t take it back.
  8. Consider Others Privacy—Your friend might not want to talk. Maybe your friend’s level of OPSEC is higher than yours. Just because you want to talk about prepping and preps doesn’t mean your friend feels the same way. This is another reason for easing into the conversation. Be aware of cues given by your friend. They may not be at the same level of comfort that you are or their spouse may want them to keep a higher level of security than yours does.
  9. Flirt With The Idea—Here’s another way to ease into the conversation. Engaging in “what if” conversations are a great way to get people to revel some of their beliefs. If kids are involved this can even be a fun and education game. Then you’ll be able to assess if you want to move on and reveal more information to your friend.
  10. Pick A Weather Disaster And Start Talking—This takes flirting with the idea to the next level. Pick a current weather disaster and ask your friend how they would handle the situation. This is a great conversation starter and will again revel if you’d like to take the conversation further.

Having a trusted friend to bounce ideas off of is a valuable asset, not only because they are hard to come by but because they can push you to be better than you thought possible. Do you have a prepping buddy?