When confronted with a potentially dangerous situation or a person whose behavior causes concern, self-defense experts often suggest that you should “trust your gut.” But what does this advice mean, really? How can we realistically apply it?
Lots more to say about this, but here are two factors to keep in mind.
Personal dynamics: when you get that ‘ping’ – that feeling on the back of your neck that signals danger – don’t ever try to argue yourself out of that feeling. Act on it. Analyze the cause and then remove its source.
Group dynamics: trust your friends’ guts, too. Never try to talk someone else out of their ping. When someone you care about says, “That guy makes me nervous,” our human tendency is to offer reassurance. We don’t like our friends feeling uneasy, so we try to soothe the feeling away and ease their discomfort.
There’s nothing wrong or bad with wanting your friends to feel comfortable, but here again, it is both safer and more kind to remove the source of the discomfort than it is to explain why they shouldn’t feel that way.
Don’t reassure – solve.