Despite our best efforts to conceal that we are preppers, there is a good chance that your neighbors will eventually figure it out for themselves.
I’ve written before about how to keep others from discovering that we are preppers, and we should be doing everything in our power to limit other people’s knowledge of how prepared we are.
So the question is, what should we do if someone discovers that we are a prepper?
How Could We Get Found Out?
One of the unfortunate facts about living in a neighborhood is that there will be people who are nosy and overly interested in other people’s business.
There are many ways that we can conceal our preparedness mindset, but there are many ways that our habits will betray us. For example, when our neighbors see us always putting a get-home bag in the car’s trunk, they wonder about it and may even ask what it is for.
Another thing that can be our Judas is when there is an extended power outage in the area, and you are the only one on the street with electricity. Regardless of how they find out, we need a plan for what to do if someone discovers we are preppers.
Turn Them Into Preppers
Your first and best course of action is to convince them that prepping is not fringe or weird but is the best thing to start doing to protect themselves and their family.
Prepping is daunting for many people just starting out, so try to make it as approachable as possible.
Start by telling them how easy it is to prepare a simple 72-hour kit and make sure to let them know that FEMA and the government suggest that everyone should have one. Most preppers have a bunch of checklists lying around, and handing some off to your neighbor is an excellent way to get them thinking about preparedness.
If you have excess gear or supplies that you can comfortably part with, gifting some to your neighbor is a good way to spread a little goodwill which will help them get started prepping and hopefully keep them from turning to looting when faced with an SHTF situation.
Let Them Know You Are Ready To Defend Your Family And Preps
It is inevitable that people who discover that you are a prepper will say that if there is a disaster or emergency, they are going to come to your house.
This is where you should make it clear that you only have enough for your family for a short time and have a plan to defend your property.
You need to deploy some diplomacy here. The last thing you want to do is tell your neighbor that they will be met with gunfire if they come knocking after SHTF.
Instead, let them know that you have thought very carefully about how to defend your home in case of looting, and your policy will be not to open the door for anyone outside your immediate family.
Telling people that you will potentially use violence to defend your home is a touchy subject.
You must walk along a thin line between informing them that you are ready for looters and outright threatening to start shooting everyone on sight.
One way to have this conversation is as such:
Neighbor – “You look like you’re ready for the end of the world. If anything happens, I’m coming to your house.”
Prepper – “It may look that way, but most of my gear is for camping and hunting. The truth is that we’ve got enough for a short-term emergency, maybe two weeks if we ration everything. That’s only for our family, though. We are hunkering down as soon as things go bad, and that door opens for no one.”
Neighbor – “What? Even us? We’ve been neighbors for decades!”
Prepper – “As I said, I’ve only got enough for my family. Looting is going to be a big problem, and we have planned a pretty elaborate defense of our house. No one is getting in.”
Neighbor – “Wow, you’ve really thought this through, haven’t you?”
Prepper – “Yeah, I have, and so should you. I’ve got a bunch of checklists you can have to get your family prepared as well. If you want, I’ll also send you some links to stuff I’ve found online. The government wants you to be prepared for 72 hours, but preparing for two weeks doesn’t take much more. I’ve probably got some extra stuff laying around as well you can have to get started.”
The conversation above is only an example but notice how the prepper downplayed the amount of time they were preparing for and made it clear that he would not be opening the door for anyone and was ready to defend their home without threatening anyone directly or exposing what that defense is.
Keep A Watchful Eye
Some people will find out you are a prepper and will not be interested in prepping themselves or engaging with you in conversation about it.
In many cases, these are just average people who don’t care about what you are doing and are simply staying out of your business. However, they may also be at arm’s length because they plan to take your supplies by force.
There is no good way to tell who is going to turn to looting and who is not, so you should be wary of everyone who knows you are a prepper. Don’t treat everyone like criminals, be civil, polite, and helpful.
Treat everyone the way you would like to be treated but be aware that anyone who knows you have food, water, and supplies could resort to looting if the situation becomes desperate.
We can not do much to eliminate the possibility that we will find ourselves outed as preppers to our friends and neighbors. In fact, the more people around us we can convince to become prepared, the better.
Forming a community of preparedness is only going to benefit us and the neighborhood as a whole. So when someone realizes you are a prepper, try to bring them to your side rather than ignoring them and considering everyone around you a potential threat.
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