On a beautiful day such as the one pictured above, it’s hard to even imagine a natural or even a man-made disaster disrupting things. If you even mention something about being prepared, your relatives or friends will say “you are just being paranoid.” I have heard this so often among people who want to prepare; even one of our readers has brought it up in a comment.
Should you forget about being prepared because your partner and your family do not support you? No! I think there are a ways to get around this issue.
Understand the other point of view
We have to accept that the majority of the population is not concerned about preparedness. Even when faced with facts and news about what happened to other people who had been in disasters, they refuse to do anything to prepare. There are a lot of reasons for this:
- Ignorance: Many people are not aware of the threats to infrastructure, and what would happen if trucks stop delivering goods.
- Fear: Afraid to admit a lot of things can go wrong. People do not want to feel threatened and may get turned off the idea
- Consumerism: Would rather spend money on shopping for clothes, gadgets, expensive vacations
- Someone will save us: Belief that someone (government, family) will be always around to help
- Normalcy bias: Belief that things will always be as they were before; refusal to admit something could go wrong even in the face of facts.
Once you understand the reasoning for their resistance, you can start working on your approach.
What NOT to do
Do not try to get preachy or argumentative. If they are already resistant to the idea, getting into an argument isn’t going to change their mind.
If you get confrontational about it, the person may just “dig their heels” even more or become hostile about the idea.
If you sense that your family has objections, you will need to start slowly, with baby steps to get them used to the idea. Introduce the idea during appropriate times, such as while watching a zombie movie, TV show or hearing about a disaster in another state (that could happen in your location).
Approach the idea in a way that is not threatening but as a conversation piece “What would we do if that were to happen?” The type of responses you get will determine your next move.
The easiest things to prepare for are regional perils that your family may face. It is easier to justify your efforts because of probable threats.
If it’s hurricane season and you are in a hurricane area, you have a good reason to gather supplies and set it aside “just in case.” Then you can slowly build your stockpile.
If your wife or husband loves to shop for the latest and greatest, but you’d rather spend money on emergency supplies, come to an agreement on spending. Some couples agree on a certain amount of “fun money” per pay period that each one is free to spend without judging from the other. He or she may want to spend “fun money” at the mall, but you spend yours on supplies.
Other non-threatening approaches
- Convenience: If you have supplies, you do not have to be constantly running to the store to restock. Every new parent knows panic when their baby runs out of formula late at night and they have not gone to the store. That is something to avoid. Even running out of everyday items such as sugar or toilet paper is a big pain if you have to drop everything and go to the grocery store for one item because you left it out of your list one day.
- What matters most: Everyone has things that he or she feels strongly about – , things they would not want to run out or lose access. The wife or husband who feels you are just being paranoid won’t be so critical if you show you are “doing it for the kids.” No one would want their kids to suffer in the event of an emergency. Teens may be concerned about losing power on their smart phones – get them a solar charger. If your teen daughter is concerned about never running out of tampons, then by all means, stock up on those items.
- Cost-Cutting: You can start your stockpile without raising a lot of eyebrows by using frugal techniques that help your household save money. Start using coupons and taking advantage of “buy one get one free” offers. When questioned about buying multiples of one item such as canned fruit or granola bars, emphasize what a great deal you got so you stocked up.
- Hobbies and skills: You can learn survival and self-sufficiency skills like bread making, canning or wood-working without making someone feel insecure by labeling these activities as hobbies. I once had a long conversation with a mom at church. She was describing all her husband’s hobbies- gardening, archery, hunting, fishing, and even metalworking. The family, who lives in a nice neighborhood, even has a mini foundry in their garage where her husband crafts swords! These sound like great survival skills to me, but no one had a problem with it in the neighborhood. These activities are all considered “hobbies.”
If you feel strongly about becoming prepared and getting some degree of security for your family, it is important that you get started. Don’t alienate your significant other in the process; instead, frame your activities in a common sense, practical light.
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Contributed by Bernie Carr of The Apartment Prepper.
Bernie Carr is the author of The Prepper’s Pocket Guide: 101 Easy Things you can Do to Ready your Home for a Disaster. Offering a simple DIY approach, this book breaks down the vital steps beginners can take to prepare for any disaster. Bernie also writes The Apartment Prepper’s blog, which offers helpful advice to help families be prepared while living in an apartment in the city.