Does a high situational awareness make you a more helpful person or less so? “How To Help a Couple Who Seem Desperate.” A typical scenario took place today, prompting me to write this article.
I was visiting a mall, parking on the second level. There were several cars, but a relatively quiet spot. So I go inside the mall, begin my Christmas shopping and come back outside around noon.
Because the second level of the parking lot is a bit more isolated, as usual, I heightened my awareness, but nothing crazy. But then, a young woman appears about three spots over from my car, looking a bit desperate. She says, “could you please help boost my boyfriend’s and my car?”
I indicate I have no cables, but they tell me they do. A quick evaluation of the location, how they behave and appear, and my gut feeling tells me I can help. So, I say, “Sure, happy to.”
Even so, I keep a safe distance and my eyes on them, and everything works fine. I wish them good luck, and they seem very grateful. Then, something tells me to ask the next question. I ask, “How many people have you asked till I came along?” I have no idea, as I might have been the first one. And at no time did I feel any paranoia, more pleased that I could help a couple in a jam.
They indicated they asked four people before me, but all seemed very apprehensive, and one ever scared, almost running away. I found that very interesting, and I began asking myself some questions that inspired this post.
Thought #1 – Are more people likely to help in a similar situation, or would most avoid helping, and why? For example, perhaps some people do not care to help others, while others might be afraid to help.
I discuss similar situations like this when I teach our various violence prevention and self-defence courses. Unfortunately, many think that because I teach self-defence, I am more likely to avoid helping due to the possible risks, whether high or low. I tell people it is because I have a higher level of knowledge than ordinary people in situational awareness that I help. I don’t create all these paranoid ideas of what could happen. Instead, I make quick, simple evaluations, and if my gut feeling is in check, I help.
Thought #2 – I find it sad that so many people will not help because everyone needs help from time to time, and if you are in a similar situation, you sure are thankful when someone does help.
Sometimes one should not help, but those times are the exception, but that is based on my life, lifestyle, and where I generally find myself.
Thought #3 – I understand many of the different lures and how a woman approaching me can be an excellent strategy if they have bad intentions. But, again, they are the exception and relatively easy to establish with some basic situational awareness training.
And at any point, if I find I have made a mistake, I will not hesitate to exit the situation and have no concern over looking rude or foolish. So one of the strategies used on common folk is knowing many people will do anything to avoid looking foolish or rude, even to the point of continuing to help, even if their intuition is screaming at them to leave.
What are your experiences in helping people? Are most people helpful or not?
Chris Roberts, FOUNDER SAFE Violence Prevention & Self Defence