You might feel prepared for any crisis, from a massive hurricane to the dissolution of the government, but you could be missing something crucial: an active social network.
The most essential tool for long-term survival can’t be purchased. It’s difficult to find and impossible to replace. Without it, even the most prepared among us will have a limited chance of success when trouble hits. And it can’t be found behind a computer screen.
The most important weapon to have in your back pocket? A trusted network of family and friends.
While having a high Facebook “friend” count and thousands of Twitter followers is entertaining, your list of online acquaintances will probably fall short when it comes to an emergency.
What you really need is a community you can rely on nearby.
Regardless of how meticulously you wrote your contingency plan, things change. Having people you can call on for help — and are willing to help in return — will net you additional resources, assist you with struggles beyond your control, and boost your problem-solving power. They can even help your brain work more efficiently and keep you healthy.
Yes, there are risks associated with trusting others, particularly if you are a prepared survivalist and precious metals collector. The potential for theft is real, so be discreet when it comes to your assets, only telling those you trust completely.
Yet emergencies provide an opportunity to interact with those around us, and you may be surprised by the charity and kindness you find nearby (and even abroad: after the tsunami struck Japan, people from all over the world flew in to help sort through the debris).
If you don’t have much in the way of community — which is increasingly common, given our tendency to move around the country and communicate online — now is the time to build up your group of friends. Get to know your neighbors. Join a club. Participate in a place of worship. Take up bowling. Not only will these activities enrich and invigorate your life now, but they could also save your life.
What Do You Think?
What kind of community do you rely on in a crisis? How have your friends enhanced your life?