Social Question

rebbel's avatar

(You have the feeling that) You are being followed; (Men and women) What do you do?

Asked by rebbel (33424points) February 7th, 2012

Imagine the following:
Women: You walk the street in the evening, it is twilight and you have the feeling you are being followed, by a man.
What would you do?
Would it make a difference if it were still (day)light outside?
Or if you were being followed by a woman?
Same question for the men, but you are being followed by a woman.
What would you do?
Being followed by a man?
Would that differ?

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25 Answers

Blackberry's avatar

I don’t tend to walk in dark alleys or anything, so I would assume it’s just a person going the same way as me. If I really felt threatened, I would get ready to turn around and strike!

marinelife's avatar

I would go into the nearest open business. If he followed me, I would call the police.

babybadger's avatar

(Note: I’m a girl) I would be more scared if it was a man and if it was at night. I would probably walk quickly or run away to the nearest “safety zone,” depending on how scared I was.

That would be too much of an original Hollywood/society-accepted bad situation, if that makes any sense. It’d be like deja vu.

talljasperman's avatar

I get approached, but rarely followed, all the time I usually just tell them that I not interested in a church singalong today and to call me instead when a good video is on that isn’t one sided. If they persist I intend to tell them to… Anyway that’s one of the reasons that I stay a home. it’s safer and I can lock the doors.

ragingloli's avatar

At least that is what I phantasise about doing.

flutherother's avatar

The streets here are quite busy even at night and there is usually somebody walking behind you. I don’t think anything of it.

babybadger's avatar

@flutherother But you have the feeling of being followed, not just that there are people walking behind you.

wundayatta's avatar

I tend to move quickly and try to convey confidence. I look for other people. I check for weapons (usually there are none). I go to where I’m going unless I can’t get there safely, in which case I locate the safest alternative route, which might be a business or a house or simply quickly walking down the block.

In the country, I might hide and let the follower go past. In fact, I might do that in the city, as well. I might also get out my cellphone and call the police. Or I might start talking or singing really loudly. Like singing about what is going on. Describing the situation. Something weird just to make others pay attention and the follower to think twice about any action hostile to me.

flutherother's avatar

@babybadger No, I don’t get that feeling.

Zaku's avatar

Ok let’s see, I’m a man, so I have the feeling I’m being followed by a woman… um, I’d probably try to get a look at her without making it obvious I’m looking or that I’m paying any notice. Then it would depend on the type of woman it seems to be, and what my own circumstances (in my life, and my immediate location and situation) are. Day or night would be just one of those circumstances.

In general, sure it makes a huge difference. A few things that come to mind:
* I’m much more likely to imagine a man shadowing me as a potential threat. I’m also more likely to consider them a significant physical threat, which would also affect my decision about what to do.
* I have been followed when I was a kid a few times, and I believe it was a threat of being beat up or harassed by older kids. We ditched them, out-running them, going down hills and through woods, into public areas, etc.
* The circumstances make a big difference because they affect my estimation of what a person may be doing following me, and what may happen if they are and various things happen. Could it be a mall police officer (mistakenly) thinking I’m worthy of suspicion? A thug? A con artist? A pickpocket? There are so many possibilities…
* If it’s a woman, is it a crazy one I know? Is it someone interested in me?

babybadger's avatar

@flutherother Huh. Fair enough :)

WestRiverrat's avatar

I would find a place to set up and maybe bag the coyote or fox that was following me.

I have had coyotes and fox stalk me when I have been turkey hunting before. The first time it happened I don’t know who was more frightened me or the coyote. I was set up against a stump with the fallen tree in front of me. He came around the stump looking for a turkey and almost stepped on me.

6rant6's avatar

I think in any of these cases I’d try to infer why a person would be following me. Maybe they need help. Maybe they are about to serve a summons. Maybe I dropped something they want to return. Maybe they’re going to mug me. Maybe I struck them as so charismatic that they can’t help themselves. Maybe I forgot to put on pants. Many possibilities.

stardust's avatar

I’d hurriedly walk to the nearest safe place I could find.

saint's avatar

Turn around and wait

mrrich724's avatar

I’d keep on walking and remain aware. For I have a 40S&W caliber pistol strapped to my waist and I will use it.

If he/she gets closer I shout “what’s going on, I feel threatened and I will not hesitate to use deadly force.”

If they legitimize their route, I will say “I’m terribly sorry.” But if they don’t I won’t take my front face off them until they are gone.

Luckily, this probably won’t happen.

Oh, and my response does depend on the factors you supplied. I’ll be much more aggressive if it’s late at night than during the day. I’d be more agressive if there are no witnesses to deter someone from carrying out their bad thoughts. Male or female doesn’t matter as much as physical stature and perceived capacity for them to physically dominate me.

But like I said, mainly I’d just keep walking.

Michael_Huntington's avatar


Berserker's avatar

I’d do what Xena does, and pretend I don’t know they’re following me. Seriously. Try to grab an advantage for myself if they get ready to do something.

Thing is, this hasn’t really happened to me, and I don’t think I would even realize I was being followed until it was too late. Probably hurry into a place with a reasonable amount of people, if possible. yodel

keobooks's avatar

I’ve had situations where things felt dicy and I was walking alone. This is cheesy but I saw it on some talk show when I was a kid and it’s worked every time. Instead of speeding up, I slowed down and let the guy pass me. I didn’t stare the guy down, but I made sure to look at him in a neutral/bored way, nodding slightly.

What the woman on that talk show said was that if you were a young woman on the street alone, it was important to look aware of your surroundings, and confident that whatever was going on was pretty much no big deal to you. Predators—muggers and rapists—are looking for people who look scared and vulnerable. If you don’t look scared, one of two things happen—they ignore you—you don’t even show up on their radar because they are specifically looking for timid easy targets.

Or they may pause and think there’s a damned good reason you don’t look scared. And that reason could be a gun or a black belt—who knows? But he’s not going to bother finding out.

I have no idea if I was ever in danger in any of those situations, but I walked home from the 16th and Mission Station to 14th and Guerrero (next to Valencia Gardens Projects) in San Francisco five nights a week for a few years and got into very little trouble.

Once a very stupid friend of mine thought it would be funny to grab me from behind and say “Gimme all your money, bitch!” I was scared out of my wits, but I turned around and looked at him. When I looked at his face he said “When did you see me coming behind you? Damn I can never surprise you!” He had NO idea that I just about died of terror for a second or two. And he KNEW me. I figured my face of confidence and boredom was pretty darned convincing.

Berserker's avatar

@keobooks That’s some very good advice.

There was also a discussion on Fluther not too long ago, where someone said that rapists or muggers actually look at potential victim’s shoes, to see how easily, or not so easily, that potential victim could escape. :/

digitalimpression's avatar

If I’m being followed by a woman I turn around and find out who it is.

If I’m being followed by a man I turn around and find out who it is.

Fight or date.. I’d have to know.

MilkyWay's avatar

If it’s a guy, and it’s night time, I’ll walk as fast as my legs can to the nearest shop.
If it’s a woman and at night I’ll walk on the other side of the street/road, keeping an eye on her.
If it’s a guy in daytime, I’ll do the same as I did at night.
If it’s a woman in daytime, I’ll stop to tie my shoelace and let her carry on ahead of me.

King_Pariah's avatar

What would you do?
I probably wouldn’t pay much mind to it but when ever I get close to home, then expect some fence hopping to lose her.

Would it make a difference if it were still (day)light outside?

Or if you were being followed by a man?
That’s when I go somewhere obscure, time to have some fun and feel alive for a bit.

whitenoise's avatar

Keep in mind….

You may be suffering from paranoia, but… still everyone may be after you!

OpryLeigh's avatar

Regardless of whether it was light or dark outside I would get myself to a public place and then call my boyfriend or someone I trusted to come and pick me up. I would probably be more nervous at night time but it depends how many other people were around.I’d be freaked out if that person appeared to be stronger than me whether they were male or female. I don’t go out after dark on my own because I am nervous of this very situation.

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