Avoiding a stare down

Ah yes, the epic stare down. Something that we as human beings have held onto since the caveman era. There are many possible answers that can explain the reasoning behind a stare-down. This can range from evaluating a potential threat, observing caused by curiosity or even mental disorders. As we human being try to pretend that we have evolved; there are always incidents and certain people to remind us that as intelligent and innovative as we are; we’re still human and as such – part of the mammal world.

Now lets get into a scenario – you’re walking down the street and pass by a small group of guys. One of them sees you in his peripherals and immediately turns to face you and stares at you in a intimidating way. How do you react? Before answering; its a good idea to think of the possible reasons why this individual suddenly feels the urge to stare you down. One reason could be he’s just having a bad day, or maybe wants to show some sort of dominance not only within his group but also dominance over you (or anyone that walks by him closely). Another possibility is that maybe he wants to test you; maybe you have a certain face or physical build that he sees as potentially threatening to his dominance.

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Either way; you’re faced with a few different reactive options. First is to turn around and walk away showing an immense fear and possible weakness/timidness. Second is to stare back at him continuously which will most likely provoke a hostile situation. Third is to look down at your feet while walking by which would show not only fear but exposing a serious weakness should that individual )or dare I say individuals) decide to do something to you. This would be very bad as you wouldn’t be relying on any sort of situational awareness.

The best reaction is usually along the lines of taking a quick look at him and the group while acknowledging them; maybe even with doing a quick head nod in a way that seems respectful but that also doesn’t appear threatening or challenging or weak. Most of these guys are usually content with being acknowledged without being challenged. Being in Las Vegas, even I have had my fair share of potential stare downs that never ended up escalating due to the reasons and reactions I’ve just listed. Keep in mind that this behavior is not actually limited to men; its been known to happen to woman as well. Although I can’t speak to the woman side of situations; I’d imagine a similar reaction could help other woman in these potential situations.

Photos courtesy of WGN Radio and NBC News