If you find yourself in a dangerous and potentially violent situation you need to know the best strategies to get yourself out.
- BREATHE. Taking a deep breath will calm you and act like a system reset. The oxygen will keep your own aggression lower and allow your brain to function better, before it is impaired by the natural ‘Fight or Flight Response’.
- Protect yourself first. Your instinct may be to step in and first protect your girlfriend, boyfriend or mate but you will be of no use to them if you get yourself hurt.
- Make a plan, choose a strategy and focus on that. What are you going to do?
- Calm the aggressor
- Remove yourself and your group
- Remove the aggressor
- Follow through. From here on, everything you do and say needs to re-enforce the plan/strategy you have chosen. Your body language must support, not contradict, your words. In situations like this, it is imperative that everything matches: words, hand gestures, facial expressions. For example, if you are trying to calm the situation with words, back it up with the appropriate gestures and a calm expression – not crossed arms and an angry expression on your face. Keep calm and follow through.
- Seek help. Particularly where alcohol or drugs are involved, a situation can get out of control rapidly. Seek the help of a third person – parent, coach, police officer. Even if you have calmed or left the situation, it’s advisable to let someone know what happened in case the aggressor flares up again with someone else.
Overall, when dealing with a potentially violent person:
- – Don’t contradict them: this will only serve to inflame the situation;
- – Be assertive, not aggressive;
- – Avoid getting physically stuck between two people who are at odds;
- – Do not act like an authority;
- – Use your words, not your fists or any other kind of weapon;
- – Be aware of indicators that the situation is escalating such as clenching fists or kicking out at things;
- – Plan your escape.