We all get those “bad feelings” about certain situations, people, decisions, establishments, and ideas. For me personally, I have those intuitive thoughts and they are sometimes spot on and sometimes WAY off. When they are way off, it’s most commonly because I confused my egotistical leanings with my natural intuition or “gut”. However, there is one thing that I have become more and more sensitive to in terms of danger: shady situations that could result in physical harm or other unappealing repercussions.

There was always part of me in the past that had some idealistic notion that if I something nefarious going down that I would be able to solve it. I thought I would be the hero and expose the bad guys. Problem is, life isn’t always like the movies where someone can take huge (and sometimes very foolish) risks with their safety and come out alive at the end. SO, I’m saying that unless you have no other choice, if you perceive or sense that you could be harmed in anyway shape or form, you would do better to run away.

People are unpredictable. Your life is not worth you striking out on your own to figure out why:

  • That one shady looking guy keeps walking around your neighborhood.
  • It seems like there are drug dealers around your area.
  • People’s cars are being broken into.
  • A string of suburban homes have been burglarized.
  • That person at the bar looks like their up to no good.
  • On and on and on…

It’s a noble pursuit to right the wrongs of the world, your community, your neighborhood, or even your social circle, but when you are dealing with strangers and you’re doing it on your own…be careful or just don’t at all. You’re worth more, and risking your safety or your life in pursuit of solving these problems on your own is frankly a bit foolish.

I am writing this rule, mostly because I have witnessed a string of shady characters in my neighborhood as of late. The other night I saw some guys hanging out in our parking lot that I know don’t live in our complex. Basically, our parking lot has become a thoroughfare for people to get between two streets in Austin. With that foot traffic, we have seen some shady characters, a few automobile break-ins, and some other occurrences that leave me feeling a little unsettled. It’s part of the territory of living in an urban area near the city. You are just going to experience and witness a little more crime than when you live in the suburbs.

I have called the police a few times to come out and patrol, and more and more the area feels safe. However, there are periodic occasions where I sense something off or illegal might be happening. Or, I witness something that just doesn’t sit right with me. My first instinct is to “get to the bottom of it”, but I have been reminding myself lately that in real life people are extremely dangerous animals. And, I’m not at all obligated to take big risks with my safety. So, instead, I have been:

  • Writing down the information about what I saw.
  • Calling the authorities if I think someone is in danger.
  • Walking or RUNNING away if I think I am in danger.

I’m not saying that people shouldn’t take action if they think they can solve a dangerous situation. I’m just saying that we should all be judicious about the risky situations we get involved in, and remember that in sketchy scenarios people are neither predictable or altruistic. They are worried about themselves, so you be worried about you too. And, if you have to do something, ask someone for help.