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My husband and I built our own house, raised and butchered pigs, chickens, cattle, sewed clothes, made quilts, and a lot of other things over the years. We make sure to have medical supplies and can a lot of food. My writing has been in quite a few magazines read by preppers and homesteaders.
I know how to can anything you want to put back and I can tan a hide. We live on nearly 11 acres. I say all these things not to brag but rather to show how others get the impression that I am in a position to get them out of a bad situation.
Even when we were living in a 1970s travel trailer in 2008 with no bathroom and struggled to keep it 60 degrees in the winter while raising pastured pigs and a few chickens and cattle, I had people jokingly say “Well, if anything happens I am coming to stay with you.”
“No, you’re not.”
Harsh, but it is rude for the unprepared to think they can just head out to my place if something happens. There is no way for us to support that many people in a long term emergency.
What bugs me the most about some people saying this is that they are often those that don’t even visit me or talk to me on anything that resembles a regular basis. We have spent a lot of time and energy to have what we have.
Our 20s were not full of festivities and going out on the weekends but as a result we are more prepared at 34 but there is no way to help everyone that needs it in a crisis.
Sometimes it is someone I haven’t seen in more than a decade. Sorry, but if you are not involved with my life now or care enough to hang out once in awhile then why should I put faith and trust in you in a major situation and also provide supplies?
Major family members come first and even if I had extra supplies they would go to those with useful skills that could contribute positively to the situation. Not just anyone.
This is a tough situation to have an answer for. Sure I think that it is good to help people but at the same time you cannot give everything away or take care of everyone. After much deliberation, I have come to the conclusion that there are some things that need said to those that say they are going to rely on you during an emergency.
“Can you actually make it to my place?”
Unless you live really close then there is a good chance that you are not going to be able to reach another property. A lot of the people that say they are going to come find me in a SHTF situation would simply not be able to make it the distance they would need to.
Commuting 50 miles in a car is one thing but if it is dangerous times then 50 miles might as well be on the moon. Also most are not prepared to walk that far in a short period of time. It is not politically correct to talk about weight and body size but it is important to being prepared so I am going to anyway.
I grew up in the 80s and 90s when the only time you saw someone using a ride on cart in a store it was because they were very old or disabled. Now, people do it just because they don’t want to walk or exercise.
Americans as a whole are not in the greatest physical condition. Saying you are going to hit the bush with your bug out bag or next to nothing is a lot different than actually doing it. When I was 24 in 2007, I could not walk up the hill to our property without catching my breath.
Being in good enough shape to walk a 15 mile day with a pack weighing 20+lbs or even with 10 lbs is not actually something I feel most people are up to. Plenty of people don’t even have the right footwear to be on their feet and moving for any major length of time.
While you don’t want to point out to your friend that they are lacking fitness, you can point out physical limits in a more polite way like asking them if they are prepared to walk a long distance in an emergency. They will put it together from there if they have much sense.
Getting in better physical shape is something that should be emphasized more in prepping. It is easy to think you are in better shape than you are. We have people sometimes want to spend a day out on our farm working and they honestly expect to go out there and do the same level of activity as we do.
No one starts at the top. It takes time to get into shape and too many people get impatient and just give up. If you want to be able to actually bug out then you need to make sure you can hike a bit with a pack.
I realize that there are the elderly and disabled to think about as well. These folks need to be prepared to shelter in place or have someone near them that can help out. In a major emergency or collapse, driving somewhere might not be an option.
If you are worried about things, then start prepping.
When someone says I am coming to your place and have done nothing to prepare themselves it is like telling you “I am not going to sacrifice now, but I am more than willing to take from you later”. Some people may not quite realize what they are saying exactly but the reality is that they are prepared to mooch off your prepping now.
The best thing you can do is tell the person that there are a lot of things that they can do to be more prepared. Relying on you is not going to help them if you live a long ways apart especially and you cannot plan for everyone.
Help guide them towards getting started with prepping activities. A lot of people don’t realize how much investing $20 or less here and there in extra supplies can help.
There are countless small steps that can get someone started. Instead of just saying “Don’t rely in me!” offer to open their eyes to the world of prepping! If someone doesn’t take you serious then that is their problem. At least you were honest and tried.
Tell them you simply don’t have enough to take on anyone else if the point of coming to your house is pushed
You really need to be firm with others that you don’t put back enough for others, that is is work and money enough to take care of your own needs and those of your family. People make a lot of assumptions about how much you have based on the outsider looking in approach.
Encourage people to put back food and have a good water filter or two. Food and water are the most scarce resources in a true emergency and while filtering some water to help someone out is one thing, putting back enough food to take on refugees is not realistic.
Maybe you might have enough for one person but when you have a lot of people acting like you are their back up plan in a SHTF situation it is easy to see how you might be in a situation of having to turn a lot of people away and the drama and escalation that could result from this.
It is best to discourage and say no right now and decrease the odds of others showing up.
Encourage these people to develop useful skills
Did you know how many people in their 20s and 30s don’t know how to even cook a basic meal? It is astounding the lack of basic skills due to being raised in a consumer based society.
I remember in my 20s that my boss was amazed that I cooked at all. I was shocked enough to say “Well, yeah – we got to eat!”.
Learning useful skills can save time and money within your household and make you a more prepared person if you cannot rely on all the goods and services you are privy to at the moment.
Youtube has a ton of videos that can show you how to do stuff so it is not like you have to take the time to go take classes for some skills. Here are some examples of skills you can encourage others to do to be more prepared. A few of these may require help from a friend to learn (hey that might be you in this case!) or an inexpensive short class.
- Gun Repair & Shooting Skills For Hunting
- Firewood splitting
- Canning, Drying, and Other Food Preservation
- CPR & First Aid
If you ever do find yourself in a SHTF situation then if someone does have extra supplies and resources so they can take in a refugee even for a short time period, having useful skills is going to put you in a better position when they are picking and choosing who to accept into their group.
Suggest they consider the other members of their family and the overall needs
When someone says they are coming to my place they are usually not just talking about bringing themselves. Sometimes it is a spouse and a few kids. So wait a minute? I am supposed to say “Oh alright just bring everyone.”
As much as I love kids, let’s be honest in a crisis situation they are mostly consumers. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of small tasks kids can do but they are more vulnerable and simply not as strong and lack a lot of the major skills that are useful.
There is no way I can take on a lot of people that are not putting something back into the situation even if I have a bit extra. If someone has kids then they have even more reason to prep for their own family and be prepared enough to give kids the attention and resources they need to get through a bad situation.
Consider lying and say you are bugging out and not sheltering in place
I don’t like to tell people to lie but when the survival and safety of you and your family are at play, it might be something you should consider.
Telling those that want to use you as their go to place in SHTF that you are bugging out if things get bad rather than sheltering in place can help put the idea out of their head. You can also add in that your reason for this is that you are concerned about too many roving bands and refugees so you feel you are better off.
Of course someone might try to come anyway but they also might just remember that there would be nothing for them there if they did and you would not be there to help them in other areas of survival.
A Very Hard Subject
This was a difficult and harsh post for me to write. It is good to try to help others and I don’t want to see others suffer but one of the things that my Vietnam veteran father taught me is that sometimes you have to put aside the warm and fuzzy feelings and survive.
Jungle warfare was hell and the army couldn’t get through to his platoon for 5 days once. He almost starved and had to eat and drink some pretty terrible things while walking out of the jungle.
Major situations make it necessary to make some tough decisions and considering how you will deal with them before they happen is a critical part of prepping.
I am sorry if this article has been too crude and offensive for some but I feel that the reality is that too many people think they can take from others or rely on them while doing little or nothing now during good times.
About the Author: Samantha Biggers lives on the side of a mountain in North Carolina with her husband and pack of loyal hounds in a house her husband and she built themselves. When not writing she is working in their vineyard, raising Shetland sheep, or helping her husband with whatever the farm and vineyard can throw at them.
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54 Responses to “How To Deal When Someone Says “If Anything Happens, I’m Coming To Your House””
You’re right. A healthy weight and fitness are two of your most important preps. And, even if nothing happens, you’ll live a longer, less painful and more active life.
Dear Backdoor Survival Readers,
I cannot thank you enough for the kind comments and valuable information you have added to this article. As I said before it was a hard one to write because there is so much to be said. I think a lot of you added a lot of things that I didn’t have the space for but hoped you would think about so you can be better prepared. I am sorry I cannot respond to every comment on here but I do assure you I read them.
Terrific article, top to bottom. Your best statement was “I am not your backup plan.”
Do not feel sorry at all for writing truth you could not change if you wanted to . I’m a combat veteran and promise you people can get ugly.Even if you helped some , you cannot help all who will come so the hard decision will have to be made at some point.
It took years to find a kindred spirit. I would throw out little zingers in conversations, waiting to see if anyone bit. Tidbits like, “The future is, of course, unknown, but I think we are in for some very bad times.” Nothing, and then one day it happened. A church friend let me know she had a certain degree of trepidation about the future and was buying storage food. We are the same age, went to the same university, and have many valuable skills.
We have not hidden the fact that we have a small ranch and have been building, slowly over 6 years. We get the, “Well, I’m coming to your place if anything happens.” And I’ve even heard them invite others to bug-out (they didn’t know this term to use it) to our place. Seriously? I’m not concerned. Our place is 3.5 hrs from our city, and everyone has family they won’t be willing to leave behind. They don’t even know our address, just our county. People presume a lot, and I do feel badly for the cities. Hopefully more people will begin to prepare after the recent hurricane fiascos.
How about asking for a check for $3000 per member of their family that they plan to bring so you can add food for them to your larder (payable within 60 days of today and non-refundable) AND within 6 months a certificate from their local college or university for one of the following qualifications: animal husbandry, crop management, food preservation or auto mechanics? Might deter some people.
I like it! Not just a blanket, bring everything you can, but $3000 up front. There are many skills to be learned at our local community college. Heck, there are just regular old life skills that I would welcome. However, many people would bring nothing particularly useful to the table.
Here’s a short list, off the top of my head, of types of people I could welcome: doctor, dentist, vet, nurse, EMT, combat veteran, pastor; someone who can sew, knit, crochet, spin, weave, cook (put together a non-traditional, nutritious meal with available ingredients), garden, forage, wildcraft, shoot; have knowledge of useful herbs, various food preservation techniques such as fermentation, canning, and dehydration; cowboy, machinist, welder, builder, Boy Scout or Girl Scout leader with skills who took their groups camping frequently and know many ways to cook outside, peacemaker, pianist or guitar player…you get the idea.
One of the best articles I’ve read on survival. I enjoyed all the comments as well. I too have been told by friends that “I’m coming over to your place”… I think it’s important to learn as many skill sets as possible for everyone in the family. Read and learn about homesteading, canning, food storage, security, medical and communication. The world is changing and we need to be prepared.
Someone said that to me once and I immediately responded, “You know it’s gonna be a shame to have to shoot everyone I’ve ever known.” The look on his face was priceless! He’s knows me well enough to know that I meant it.
I’ve always told those people, “Good, we can always use fresh meat”. I don’t smile when I say that, they wonder if I’m joking…
Great article. I’ve had a ‘couple of friends’ say they’d come over to my place if anything bad happened. My reply has been and always will be…Don’t come empty handed and be prepared to work. For some reason that always puts them off some.
Truly a wonderful, informative article. Thank you. I am like you only more of everything considering I am much older. I would first tell them who dare to think I would help them that I don’t have that much because I only thought it would be short term. Don’t like lying but, there comes a time. And, I would be sure to tell them the entire property is booby trapped and they can expect to be blown up. I have been preaching to everyone on my email list to ready themselves. So they don’t think I am a Kook I say “The way things are going with the world, the weather, the floods, hurricanes, fires and earthquakes it is a good thing to start with a go bag and to have one for each in the family as well as the dogs. They can carry their own. Make one for the car, as well. You can get a list on this site”. I have sent them your URL and told them it is my favorite and they should do themselves a favor and check it out. Maybe they will listen to you since not everyone is heeding my words. I could go on forever on this topic but, I am sure someone will cover anything I might say, somewhere in these comments. Have a good life dear, Gaye. Keep “preaching”. I’m listening.
Thank you for the kind comments and sharing my article with others. I tried to address a lot in this article and I definitely had to think a lot about this one.