Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Building Community? Warning Signs of People to Avoid

There is a fair amount of talk within the prepper/survivalist community about building community.  Much of this talk revolves around how to find folks to build community with, or what skills you need to look for. In this article I want to come at the idea of building community from a different direction - who you need to exclude from your community and why. Almost nothing will doom a group faster than a toxic or disruptive individual. Avoid the following problem folks (even if they are your wife's cousin). 

Warning Signs of People to Avoid

1- Addictions.   Addictions of any kind – drugs, alcohol, gambling, TV, etc – are a MAJOR warning sign.  These people are not in control of their lives - their addiction is in control. They will create chaos and ultimately be a danger to other group members. Avoid anyone with any form of addiction. Pray for them. Offer to help them find assistance in overcoming their addiction. But do not make them a part of your group until they have successfully and completely overcome their addiction.   
    
2- Mental Illness.  I'm not referring to people who are a little unusual, or that "march to a different drummer." Rather, I'm referring to those individuals who have actual long-term mental health issues. Avoid them. Remember, at some point during the crisis, their meds will run out. Besides, the stress and chaos of a crisis will likely make their illness even more serious. This might seem heartless, but including them in the group will put everyone else in the group at risk. You can help people without making them part of your group. Pray for them. Help them find assistance and treatment for their illness before a crisis hits.  But, don't bring them into the group until their mental health issue is brought under control without the need for drugs.

 But what about my 8-year-old son who has epilepsy? What about my 77-year-old Mother who has Alzheimer's? I am not telling you to abandon close family members who need help. You will need to make special accommodations to your plans for them, but don't abandon them. This advice is about bringing in strangers and other outsiders into your group. Your first responsibility is your household, family & true friends, not strangers or even distant relations.


3- Bizarre or Unusual Requests Early On.   If you are just getting to know someone and they suddenly hit you with a bizarre or very unusual request, tread carefully. These people don't understand boundaries, and probably have additional underlying problems. 

Examples of bizarre requests might be to borrow a significant sum of money, or to keep a major secret they inexplicably told you about, or to quickly make a serious commitment, or to do something illegal or unethical. Those are the type of requests you might make of a life-long best friend, not of someone you have only recently met. Beware.

4- Dishonesty.  Its one thing (and probably a good thing) to be guarded with personal information, and concerned with maintaining privacy.  We should all be that way. However, it is something else entirely to outright lie. Don't expect someone to completely open up to you and tell you everything about their life, especially early on. But you should expect them to be honest in what they do tell you. 


5- Chaos in Their Personal Life.  A lack of stability in their life may be a major warning sign.  If they bounce in and out of work often or spend large stretches of time unemployed  - it is probably a bad sign. Same goes for other areas of their lives – friendships, relationships, living arrangements, and so on. Do they bounce in and out of relationships often? Does their life seem full of drama where things seem to constantly go wrong and they always seem to have problems of one sort or another? A chaotic life now will certainly carry over to a chaotic life after SHTF,  Of course context matters, so use common sense. Anyone can be laid off from work, or go through a rough patch in their relationships.  However, constant chaos is not normal.  Look for trends within their life, not one time events.

6- Don't Share Your Values and Worldview.  If they don't share your same worldview, values, and religious & political beliefs, then they won't be a good fit for your group or community. Minor differences of opinion are okay, but major differences on important topics will hinder group dynamics. In fact, a major crisis or SHTF event will only exacerbate these differences. 
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