How To Encourage Your Family And Friends To Prep

I’ve got a lot of years in the survival game; over 40 of them.

I’m quite sure that if I was stuck in the woods and needed to survive, I could do it. I’m equally sure that if I was stuck in the city, in a true SHTF situation, I wouldn’t want to try surviving alone. Besides, who wants to be the only one who survives in the event of a true TEOTWAWKI disaster?

This is why we create survival teams; so that we don’t have to survive alone. Not only is it easier to survive in a group, rather than trying to survive alone; it’s much more interesting. We humans are social animals and we need others around us in order to truly enjoy life.

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But where do you find these others? That’s the challenge. That’s why I’m talking about evangelizing others to your point of view. But before we talk about that; let’s talk about where you can find other like-minded people who are already preppers or survivalists.

Where to Find Survivalists

It is estimated that somewhere between one and two percent of the US population has adopted the prepper lifestyle to some extent or other. That means that in your neighborhood or housing development, there’s a pretty good chance that there’s someone else. The trick is finding them. It might be easier to look elsewhere.

The Internet

Probably the easiest place to find others who have a survival mentality is on the Internet. Most of us receive notifications of articles from a number of websites right in our Facebook or Twitter feed. People make comments and start discussions on those forums, making them an ideal place to meet others.

Of course, you want to be careful about who you hook up with. Not everyone who follows prepping and survival websites is truly dedicated to doing the work necessary to prepare for a disaster. Look for people who make serious comments and who seem to have a survival philosophy that’s similar to your own. Then you can make contact to see if they live anywhere near you.

Survivopedia has a Survival Community group on Facebook, which is an excellent place to start. There are several hundred members, who share ideas and talk about the articles posted on Survivopedia. Other Facebook groups exist as well, either dealing with specific areas of survival or survival in general. Many share their locations, at least in a general sense, giving you a starting point.

But that isn’t the only place to look. There are survival forums online, as well as websites that allow you to register in their database, so that you can find others in your state.

Your Shooting Range

Your local shooting range might be a great place to meet others with a survival mindset, especially if you are a member of a locally owned range, where people tend to hang out. I’ve met a number of different survivalists at my range, even entire groups.

At some point, you’re going to have to be the brave one to broach the subject of survival with some of these people, as they may be trying not to say anything. But if you do, you’ll quickly find out which ones have the same mindset that you do.

Gun & Hunting Shows

Just like your local shooting range, the gun show can be a great place to find other preppers. Granted, the vast majority of the people there aren’t going to have anything to do with prepping, but rather be sport shooters or hunters. Nevertheless, some will be preppers or at least open to the idea.

Look for a booth that is selling something useful for prepping, like ammo in bulk or prepackaged food. I’ve found preppers at both types of booths. Now that Obama’s presidency is over, about the only people who buy ammo in bulk are preppers or people who do a lot of shooting.

You can expand this idea outwards, to include anything that might interest preppers. Gardening or homesteading classes might be harboring a number of secret preppers, right under everyone’s noses. The same can be said for craft workshops, especially those which teach how to do things the “old ways” of our country’s pioneering days.

Prepping Expos

Not every state has them yet, but prepping expos are gaining ground, even while the idea of prepping isn’t growing as fast as it was a couple of years ago. Prepping is becoming a bit more mainstream and vendors who service this market are feeling a need to connect with their clientele, other than through the internet.

Evangelizing on Your Own

I’ve brought a number of people around to the prepping point of view through the years. Granted, I write about prepping and survival all the time, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the bringing people around through personal contact and conversation.

To start, you need to pick your targets carefully. Common prudence dictates that you don’t want to run off and tell everyone what you are doing. Instead, you need to look for people who might already have at least some potential interest in prepping and try to talk to them.

So, how do you identify these people?

  • Listen for people talking about some concern about a potential disaster, like an EMP or Y2K
  • Look for people with a strong conservative political view
  • People who are outdoorsmen anyway are probably interested in survival
  • Homesteaders
  • People buying survival food at Sam’s Club and Costco
  • Family members concerned about the direction the world is going in

Don’t limit your thinking to just conservatives, even though most preppers today are right-leaning in their political outlook. Ever since Donald Trump was elected president, there have been those on the left who have claimed a “Trump-apocalypse” is coming. Some are even preparing for it.

Granted, a leftist might be a bit of a problem in your survival group, so you want to go careful with them. But that doesn’t mean you should dismiss them all out of hand. There are actually some on the political left who are hard workers and have skills that they can contribute. Just be selective, like you are with everyone else.

Broaching the Subject

The easiest way to broach the subject of survival with someone new is by asking them questions, rather than by telling them what you’re doing. If you ask and they avoid answering directly, it could indicate that they are already prepping and don’t want to admit it. You’ll have to read their reaction. But they may just express some interest, without any indication that they are doing anything.

This is where you can start out sharing by teaching. Don’t bother sharing specifics, until the person is sold on the concept. That’s the first thing you need to get across to them. So spend some time talking about the need to be ready.

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You want to avoid coming across like you’re afraid of the end of the world or you’re convinced some cataclysmic catastrophe is about to happen. So don’t talk about EMP or the magnetic poles shifting, talk about whatever type of natural disaster your area is known for. Those are much more likely and it expresses the idea, without getting into an “end of the world” scenario. Those end of the world scenarios can come later; after they’re already convinced that they have a responsibility to protect their family.

Balancing OPSEC and Evangelism

Here’s the problem for most of us; trying to balance OPSEC and evangelism. We’ve all been told that we should keep our mouths shut about prepping, so that we don’t let people know what we are doing. But let me ask you a question… do you really think that there’s nobody who has any idea of what you’re doing?

I know that I can’t say that; and I’m not talking about the people who read my writings. As best I know, the only people who I know personally, who read these writings are those who I have personally brought around to my way of thinking. The people I’m talking about are friends, neighbors and family members.

My mother knows I’m a survivalist type and she lives almost 1,000 miles away. She doesn’t know that because I’ve told her; she knows it because I was interested in it as a teenager. My sister knows too. Again, that’s not because I told her, but because she is building a tiny house and I made some suggestions to her for water purification and solar how to build her own solar panels.

Unless you’ve done an extremely good job of being secretive, you have neighbors who have seen you buy things that they don’t buy. They’ve probably wondered about your rainwater capture system and the 500 pounds of rice you brought home that day.

Some of this can be explained away, but not all of it. Of course, if you get them to start prepping on their own, you won’t have to explain it away. You’ll have a partner in crime instead.

I wouldn’t go around bragging about how big a stockpile you have, how many guns you own or where your survival retreat is located. But to think that nobody has any idea that you are prepping might just be a bit naïve. Keep your details secret; but don’t think that all your secrets are truly secret.

Dealing with “I’ll just go to your house”

Of course, the big problem with letting people know what you are doing are all those friends and family members who respond by saying, “When the SHTF, I’ll just go to your house.”

How do you deal with that? Let me give you the short answer first: “No you won’t.”

Look, there’s no way that you are going to have enough in your stockpile to take care of your family and everyone you know as well. All you’re going to be able to do is slow down how quickly they die, while speeding up how quickly your family dies. That is, unless you plan for those people as well.

I have decided that I’m going to be ready for those people. The way I’m doing that is to lay in a huge stockpile of rice, beans and oil, along with seed for gardening. While it might not be very satisfying, they can live off of rice and beans for a while. But the price I’m going to charge them for that rice and beans is that they start gardening, so that they can take care of their own family. I’ll help them, but only if they’re willing to help themselves.

Option two is to create a list of what they need to have with them, if they show up at your house. Some friends of mine own a shooting range, which of course includes a gun store. They told me that I’m welcome to join them on their ranch if there is ever a serious SHTF situation. At the same time, they said that someone would be sitting on the roof of the house with a .50 Barrett and a good spotting scope. If they didn’t see me pulling a trailer full of supplies behind me, they’d give me one warning shot before they shot for real.

There are ways of dealing with people who intend to mooch off of you in a survival situation. But you can only do that successfully if you are willing to talk straight and give them the truth. The best thing you can do is dissuade their idea that you’re going to take care of them. Then you can start leading them into the light.

What light? The light of prepping for themselves. People who look to you to take care of them are prime candidates for conversion. They are the ones who at least realize that they need some help. Therefore, all you have to do is convince them that the only place they’re going to get that help from is themselves. Once they realize that, all they need is a little teaching and a little guidance.

Written by

Bill White is the author of Conquering the Coming Collapse, and a former Army officer, manufacturing engineer and business manager. More recently, he left the business world to work as a cross-cultural missionary on the Mexico border. Bill has been a survivalist since the 1970s, when the nation was in the latter days of the Cold War. He had determined to head into the Colorado Rockies, should Washington ever decide to push the button. While those days have passed, the knowledge Bill gained during that time hasn’t. He now works to educate others on the risks that exist in our society and how to prepare to meet them. You can send Bill a message at editor [at]

Latest comments
  • Thought provoking article. I know a few who are at least somewhat prepared for hazardous times. Not so much If they bug out for very long.
    I know my kids are all preppers to whatever degree they are able. All are learners and hard workers. We all sort of dances around the question until I just told them I have packed. Bug out bags to cover several different circunstances or needs. One includes a full on surgical kit except serious painkillers. There is a bottle of whiskey in there.that opened the conversation.
    One son even suggested a possible spot my husband and I could survive in if we had to leave home. Running on foot to the mountain is now beyond us. But a secluded little canyon with water and an abandoned old adobe home and nearby ancient pit dwelling that are both repairable is a real possibility for us. It’s 5 miles by pavement and dirt road. Check out the small year around stream and perhaps drive across on the firm rock bottom. There is a seap in the canyon and a good spring on the bench above where deer and elk go for water. If my small RV can ford the stream safely it could be parked out of sight in that canyon. I know the last living owners great grand daughter so being there would be ok with family.
    My daughter has faced several hurricanes in Florida. Had to ride them out to stay on call for her job. Husband the same but he’s retired now. They have supplies and water stored. I’d prefer they left but she needs to be there. If SHTF they’d always planned to come where I am. It’s several days drive under the best of circumstances so it may not be possible. They have found a rural friend about a days drive away that has given an invitation to come there if ever needed. Their supplies and knowledge would be a blessing.
    It isn’t always easy even with family to find out who’s interested. Who can be interested in prepping. And who is already working seriously at it. Going alone is not a good answer if your really like minded and willing to work together it could be much better and much more could be accomplished both during hard times and in a reconstruction time after a serious SHTF time.
    There were prepper enclaves near where I lived for a while in the hills. They were serious military types. Pretty scary guys and not the neighbors I’d want under any circumstances. Their ideal is a fort. Mine is a cooperative family. Both are cohesive groups. I’ll take the family structure.

  • Clergylady, when it comes down to it I would say that your attitude is one of the best that I have run across. You sound like the kind of person I’d want to have as a good nieghbor.. I live in the hinterland and we are starting to do more than just talk. God bless you for expressing yourself. I hope that the family rallies around because I feel the the SHTF day is getting closer every minute. Again, thank you and God bless you

  • I wonder about the lefty preppers. Leftism has destroyed everything it touches and leftists are the ones making excuses for the very people who might doom our existence.