If The Situation Doesn’t Feel Right, Then Retreat – Get Out

situational awareness and your spidey senses

Filed under personal security. The following advice should be common sense. However, I’ll explain in a minute why it’s important. If you’re in a situation that doesn’t feel right, it’s best to get out. Retreat. Here’s what I mean…

I will give you one example of the type of situation I’m referring to.

Just recently, I was in a Walmart picking up a few things. I had a few grocery items on the list too. So I made my way over to the grocery area. I was walking along the back dairy aisle looking for a block of sharp cheddar cheese.

As I approached the vicinity, among the bustle of activity, I began to hear louder voices standing out from the rest of the background noise. You know how that works, right? We have an internal ‘alarm’ that triggers when something “out of the ordinary” is occurring. If you’re in tune with your own situational awareness, you’ll pick up on it much sooner than most others.

Anyway, as soon as my own ‘alarm’ triggered, I moved my gaze from its search for cheddar cheese – to where those voices were coming from.

Down the aisle a bit, coincidentally where my block of sharp cheddar cheese awaited, two employees were in the beginning stage of a heated argument. At that moment one of them angrily walked off and through a nearby back-door into the stock area – slamming the swinging doors as he went.

I slowed my walk with the carriage, wondering if their spat had ended. I scanned my eyes around, assessing.

Seconds later, the employee came back out and started back in again with the other. Almost shouting. The situation was escalating rapidly. Neither were backing down. The one employee who had walked out obviously changed his mind and went back to re-engage. Uh-oh…

If you find yourself in an escalating environment of potential danger, then get out.

So here’s what I mean, and the advice of this post…

Though my message should be obvious and common sense, most people would tend to stop and gawk at the situation. It’s sort of human nature I suppose. The brain freezes due to an exceptionally out-of-normal experience.

What did I do? Immediately upon realization that this was escalating, I turned my shopping cart/carriage and got out of there. Why? Because I didn’t know what might happen next. Why put yourself in a risky situation where there’s no upside? Instead, there’s only risk. I didn’t gawk out of curiosity. Nope. Got out of there.

As I increased the distance between myself and the arguing employees, I could hear them getting louder. Eventually it ceased. I made my way to a different part of the store to collect a few more items on the list.

After a while I went back to extract that 1-pound block of sharp cheddar. The commotion was over. I got my cheese.

I have been in many other similar situations throughout my life. I’m sure that many of you have examples you could share too.

The simple message is not only tuning your Situational Awareness, but acting upon it. A first response should usually be to remove yourself from the situation. Let the gawkers gawk.

[ Read: Situational Awareness & Background Noise — Use Your Ears! ]