The eyes, facial expressions and body movements can give you early warning that the person you face has gone into fighting mode. Pay attention and beware!
Some signals are universal. Everyone around the world understands that smiling suggests happiness, satisfaction or when you want to show that you don’t mean any harm. Crying is taken for sadness or pain. How come these facial expressions are universal? How come we can understand each other through body language? There are indeed some cultural differences, but there are also many similarities. Despite various racial differences in body shape and color around the world, there is still a lot of similarity among humans which directly leads to comparable uses for body language.
Danger signals – The eyes hold the key
The eyes, it is said, are the windows to the soul. Often, the way in which a hostile person looks at you can be a predictor of what his plans are for you.
Cops, soldiers, and mental health professionals are all too familiar with “the thousand-yard stare.” This is the person who seems to be not so much looking at you as through you. He may be unresponsive or inappropriately responsive in other ways. What this should tell you is that in this moment he is in an alternate reality of his own, a place where you are probably not welcome. When you see this, start “creating distance” unless you in fact are a law enforcement officer, health professional, or someone else who has a responsibility for containing and restraining this person’s actions.
The opposite of the thousand-yard stare is the “target stare.” This is the guy who narrows his eyes and glares directly at you. The narrowing of the eyelids does for our vision what shutting down the f/stop on your camera does for the lens: it enhances depth perception. It tells you that you have become a very intense focus of his attention. If the circumstances indicate that this individual is at all hostile, the target stare is not a good sign. If you’re not a cop, psyche nurse, etc., Mother Nature is telling you again to start creating distance between you and him.
Your own body language is huge
Your own body language and an attacker’s body language are huge! Your own body language could possibly defuse a potentially dangerous situation, and paying attention to an attackers body language can prepare you for the unexpected, the secret is to be aware of the people around you, if someone is approaching you appearing aggressive or suspiciously looking then the alarm bells should be sounding loud and clear, an attack could be coming and you need to be ready!
It can happen where a potential attacker is all about looking tough and really doesn’t intend taking it any further, this is where your own body language can swing things one way or the other. It`s possible that by staying calm the situation may fizzle out before anything bad happens, but on the other hand if you immediately act aggressively then things could escalate pretty quickly. Always be prepared for an attack but don’t be the one that takes it to a physical level.
There is nothing cowardly about avoiding a fight if at all possible, actually it makes sense to avoid unnecessary conflict. After all, you cannot get hurt or injured from a fight that never happened, but many times peoples egos will get in the way of this and they’ll see avoiding a fight as a sign of weakness and because of this they’ll fight when they don’t have to and possibly get injured. It`s just not worth it, sometimes you have to fight, but make sure it’s only as a last resort.
Keeping you cool under attack
Deterrence. This stand can take one of two forms, which are best described as deterrence and de-escalation. Deterrence is quite a bold response, even though it doesn’t have to be aggressive or rude, basically you’re making a bold statement saying enough is enough! The only problem with this being if you’re not a match physically for the potential attacker it could be like waving a red flag to a bull leading to an escalation of the situation so think twice before using this approach as it might not work in your favor.
De-Escalation. This is just the opposite approach, you are trying to appeal to his good nature, assuming he has one that is. Instead of making a bold response you try to calm things down or make an excuse for why you are backing off, this might mean you are apologizing for something you haven’t even done in the first place! But if it ends the possible threat then take that to be a victory. De-Escalation can be a good strategy as it allows the potential attacker to go on his way believing he made you stand down in fear of him. However, many confrontations are fueled by nothing more than over inflated egos so this strategy could backfire on you by pushing him down onto a position in which his ego forces him to attack you. Think wisely before using either of these two strategies.
Avoid potential danger spots
Quite often, you might encounter a gang of teenagers hanging out on the street corner at night who are doing just that; hanging out and don’t intend anyone any harm, but if you feel uneasy about walking past them then don’t, seek another route to take. It is very easy to tell if someone could be trouble by their demeanor and attitude, if your instincts are warning you it’s for a good reason, don’t hang around if you feel threatened, if it’s at all possible to leave before any confrontation can happen, then it’s best to do exactly that. Get away safely.
Always be scanning your horizon for possible dangers. Think ahead, be one step ahead of any possible danger and always take note of someone’s body language. Why walk past a gang or group pf people anyway? If the situation turned bad you are already hopelessly outnumbered, so don’t even take that chance. Think wisely before you act.
Be aware always!
If someone is approaching you looking for trouble for whatever purpose, you cannot always predict what the potential attacker is looking for, but again watch their body language, if they’re staring at you continually as they approach you be on your guard, as this is not a good sign or if they have their hands in their pockets, be aware! they could quite possibly pull out a knife or even a gun!
Even the aggressors who just want to hit someone for no good reason are looking to get their joy at minimal cost to themselves, if you appear confident they will most likely see you as a bigger threat to them than they are to you and move on to the next person hoping they will provide an easier target. Similar actions to that of a bully who we know are nothing more than cowards. Better still, avoid being in situations where you might have to fight off an attacker.
I cannot stress this enough, pay attention to the person in front of you, whether it`s someone about to attack you, or someone simply telling you lies, their eyes will tell the real story of what their intentions are. After all, they don’t call the eyes the windows to the soul for nothing. The eyes are everything.