Fine-Tuning Your Survival Signal Awareness

Posted: August 2, 2011 in "The Gift of Fear", Crime Watch Tips
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It’s true that you can deter a potentially dangerous situation by just being aware and conscious of your surroundings.  Try to read between the lines.  I’ve actually practiced this a few times.  I find that if you’re confident, aware, focused, use appropriate eye contact, and don’t show any fear, you’re ten times more likely to avoid being targeted as a victim or get caught up in something uncertain. 

There are many books available that talk about how to use your survival signals to help protect us from violence.  I wanted to share some highlights that I found interesting.  I can’t express enough that we need to pay attention to that “inner voice” alerting you to something that doesn’t appear or feel right.  Of course, this isn’t always a potentially dangerous situation.  It can be an uncomfortable or a high stress situation.   

There are many messengers of intuition that are worth your attention.  Stop and acknowledge them, think about what’s behind these feelings.





Gut feelings





Persistent thoughts

Nagging feelings

According to the book The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker, there are seven survival signals we need to be aware of when placed in uncertain, new, or potentially dangerous situations.  Learn to look between the actions and pay close attention to your intuitions when confronted.

Forced Teaming

This technique is an effective way to manipulate a situation of premature trust, such as “we’re in the same boat”.  The detectable signal of “forced teaming” is the projection of a shared experience.

Charm & Niceness

Think of charm, such as rapport, is having a motive.  Now the difference between “charm” and “charming”, it can be a bit deceiving.  Look behind the person’s charm.  Most of the time it will be harmless, but other times there can be a manipulation beneath it.   

Too Many Details

It has been studied that when someone wants to deceive you, they give you too many details.  Commonly, when people are telling the truth, they don’t feel a need for extra details of a situation.


This involves a slight insult to warrant an easy refute.  For example, a man stops a woman and says to her “You’re probably too snobbish to talk to me”, hoping to get a rebuttal response.  A potential rapist or mugger to avert your attention from the situation could use this technique. 

Loan Sharking

This is classic example of someone using this technique that you owe them something, which makes it difficult to ask them to leave you alone.  Criminals use this technique as the kindly stranger.  Be aware and read between the intentions.

Unsolicited Promise

This is one of the most reliable signals where a stranger makes a promise and most likely has a questionable motive.  Take a good look at the situation. 

 Discounting the Word “No” 

This is a fairly self-explanatory technique to observe.  If someone doesn’t take “no” for answer, there is most likely another motivation.  

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