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Handle This: Followed Home

Walking home from a friend’s house late on a Thursday night, you notice a man hovering about a block behind you. He seems to be minding his own business, so you try not to worry and instead, focus on getting home quickly. However in just a few minutes he’s only 20 feet behind you.

Of course there’s no way to be sure that he’s following you, but your gut tells you something is wrong. You’re a minute away from your house, so how would you handle this?


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i-am-awesomeness i-am-awesomeness 9 years
cptnruthless-- that's a really good tip to remember. Thanks!
eshellmoyer eshellmoyer 9 years
I would go to one of the 24 hour stores in my neighborhood and I often do the keys in knuckles thing when I walk home. There's one store in particular where I know the guys who work there late at night and police and neighborhood security come in to get coffee. Whenever I get a sketchy vibe from a cab driver I redirect them to a 24 hour CVS or Duane Reid. The only time I've been attacked or threatened was by a girl. I ignored the sound of pounding footsteps behind me because it was the middle of the day in a small neighborhood. It just goes to show you that you should follow your gut even if the circumstances seem like they should be safe. I guess anywhere where there are no people nearby you are vulnerable to attack. It makes me glad that I live in a neighborhood where there are people on the streets at all hours.
purple-alpacas purple-alpacas 9 years
i have a question though..what if you turn around to confront the person about the time and in that moment he attacks you?
designerel designerel 9 years
god! this gave me chills just reading everyone's posts. thanks for the tips on passive confrontation. i would also try going into a neighbor's house rather than my own (hopefully i would be friendly with them!)
JenFan1 JenFan1 9 years
This actually happend to me about 7 years ago before I had a car. It was a winter night and I had 2 blocks to walk from the bus stop to my then home in an apartment building. Because it was snowing, it was a rather quiet night and there was nobody around. I noticed a guy with a black hoodie and shaved head following me, so I crossed the street. He crossed right after me. I started to quicken my pace, and so did he. At one point I almost broke into a full jog and he was still just 3 feet away from me at all times. I thank God for my luck because as I got to my apartment building a family of 4 was exiting and held the door open for me so I wouldn't have to fiddle with the keys to unlock the door to the building....he stopped just steps away from the glass and as I turned around I saw him glaring at me with such hatred in his eyes..then he took off. I have never been that scared in my life and I just thank God that family was coming out when they did. Usually there is nobody exiting at that time of night so it truly was something looking after me that night. But nowadays I would for sure have my keys in my hand...still do if I have to walk alone anywhere and I would love to get a taser. My fiancee always wants me to carry this switchblade he bought for me, but I always fear if worse comes to worse, the attacker might easily take it away from me and use it against me!! Ladies, please do not ignore your gut feelings. It is there for a reason, and if its telling you something is not right, 99% of the time, something is not right!
Frank-y-Ava Frank-y-Ava 9 years
i would pull out my cell phone and pretend i'm talking to somebody! that always works, i wouldn't go to my house i would try to go in a store!
drhotie92 drhotie92 9 years
This is one of my greatest fears...I hate walking anywhere period but walking alone is worse, if i was in a situation like that i would start walking really fast to the nearest crowded street or to one of my freinds houses. Just thinkin about this makes me nervous and scared.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
I don't walk alone for any reason at night but if this did happen to me I'd get on my phone but make sure that I was staying alert to what the guy was doing. I'd be too chicken shit to ask him for the time and I never thought about not going to my house in case he came back. UGH, glad I live in a safe area and in an area where you're not going to be within walking distance to anything at night.
Jewels2080 Jewels2080 9 years
I carry a taser in my purse, (they make smallish cute tasers now). So I would get out the taser. It was a little expensive but it's nice to have a little piece of mind.
michelle-c42934 michelle-c42934 9 years
Actually this reminds me a little of when this weird guy followed me in Paris for two days. On the second day I noticed him following me for about an hour, and he approached me and told me the places he'd seen me visiting the day before and the current day (major panic attack at this point). I said thank you to some of his comments and declined his advances and clung on to my best friend, we walked into a really super croweded area and sprinted. We went to a restaurent, got a table and hid out for two hours. Running away worked that day.
michelle-c42934 michelle-c42934 9 years
When I lived in central london sometimes I'd have to walk alone late at night and if it was a bit creepy I'd just run home. I was once with a friend and she was freaked out that someone might be following us, we couldn't get behind him for some reason, so I just grabbed her hand and said run with me, and we ran home and it was fine. When I was living in Cape Town we'd never go out alone and my friends usually kept their hands in their bags holding a knife or pair of scissors. I never carried a weapon as I would be worried that a stronger attacker could turn the weapon on me. I don't really think it's a good idea to talk on the phone because then you're senses aren't fully aware of your surroundings, but its definately a good idea to let someone know if you will be walking somewhere late at night alone. I wouldn't confront a stranger because if they are a creep, then talking might encourage them communicate with you or might anger them. But I do see how, if they aren't a weirdo then communicating with them could settle your nerves and stop you from being worried.
LadyAngel89 LadyAngel89 9 years
The asking for the time is one of the best ways to confront someone you feel uncomfortable about. As well you may want to consider saying something that would make them very sure you've taken a good look at them. Most attackers do not want to be identified, and if you even look like you MIGHT put up a fight, generally you're too much trouble. I still recommend that if you're willing to get a concealed carry license. Second best is pepper spray (which doesn't affect everyone the same way), a makeshift weapon (like keys), at the very least if your grabbed... FIGHT BACK, your elbow is one of the most durable parts of the body, put everything you've got into it and run. Screaming may generally get someone's attention but most likely they wouldn't want to put themselves in danger... scream a description of the attacker if you have one, then someone can call the authorities for you, people are much more likely to call the police than to come out and try to detour or stop an attack.
winnduvall winnduvall 9 years
I would NOT walk to my own house, just in case the creeper was up to no good. Maybe walk to a more public place and see if he continues to stay behind you. Get on that cell phone, definitely!
onion-waffle onion-waffle 9 years
If you haven't already, you should get Gavin DeBekker's "Gift of Fear." My boss bought it for me years ago, and I swear, it is a real eye-opener. Do NOT engage any communication with someone who is giving you the creeps. If you get that gut feeling, you don't need to worry about still seeming pleasant and nice to that person! Tough nuts if they are offended. What's more important? Your safety, or seeming nice to this one weirdo person? Just get away. Don't step into an elevator with them, don't stay on a train with them, just get away or move to where there is more traffic. Or yes, I agree with karlotta, if it's too late and they're really close, do something that calls attention to you so someone will notice. We have our intuitions for a protect ourselves.
karlotta karlotta 9 years
I was followed on a dark brooklyn street one night; I had gotten off the subway and was headed home, when I noticed this strange little man who was keeping a few paces behind me. After a couple of streets, I was totally freaking out - I lived in a really bad neighborhood and it was 2AM, the streets were completely empty, so I just turned out and shouted at him: What? What the fuck do you want? You're creeping me out! He apologized and said he was afraid I'd run into trouble and was just following me to make sure I was alright. YEAH, SURE! HUH HUH! He was actually really tiny so I thought I could take him worse comes to worst, so I walked with him for a while, we started chatting, and he told me he'd just gotten out after 7 years in jail. I was TOTALLY PETRIFIED. Then we got to my door, and I realized I didn't have my key. I rang and rang the door but my roommate wouldn't answer. The guy kindly handed me his cell phone (I didn't own one at the time) and told me to call a friend and find a place to stay. My friend wasn't home, and I was just standing there like an idiot, wondering where they'd find my cut up dead body the nest day. But the guy was like - "hey, I've got an idea!" : he helped me climb up the fire escape and open my window from outside, and I got home safe - and found my douche of a roommate in a bubble bath with his headphones on and some horrible music blaring. So... I never knew what to think of that crazy, weird encounter. That guy was shady from head to toe, yet he was only just really sweet and helpful to me, and I never saw him again. Who knows!? Don't judge a book by its cover! (Another time I was followed by a perv with a long lens camera - shouting at him in the middle of the street and making a huge fuss made him go away. I think stalkers get scared if you act really crazy and loud!)
luckyme luckyme 9 years
Let me preface this by saying, I'm an overly paranoid person. Anyway, I would definitely pull out my pepper spray and my keys. I WOULD NOT walk to our near my house. I wouldn't want the person to know where I live. I WOULD walk into a public place and call the police. Even if I am being paranoid, I'd rather be safe than sorry. Plus, it's always ALWAYS important to trust your gut. And yes, I speak from personal experience.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
TheMissus great suggestions. If you are on the phone or call someone make sure to stay in the "know" of what is going on. A lot of the time attackers go after people on the phone thinking they aren't aware of their surroundings so much.
mondaymoos mondaymoos 9 years
Way to go Sporky. I have mace... and I learned that the best way to hit an attacker is with your elbow. I'd, of coarse, try passively confronting them first... what can I say? I have an aggressive personality type.
TheMissus TheMissus 9 years
If you feel like someone is following you, the best thing to do is turn around and "passively confront" them... Just like BBKF wrote. Potential attackers aren't expecting you to turn around and "confront" them. Simply asking for the time is a great way to throw them off... Also, definitely have a make-shift weapon in your hand to defend yourself. My favorite "make-shift weapons" are: 1. Keys 2. Lit cigarette 3. Stilleto with a very sharp heel 4. Beer bottle
Sporky Sporky 9 years
Very clandestinely grab the mace in my purse and see what happens...
nikecold nikecold 9 years
This has actually happened to me twice on the same day. We were doing social service askig for donations on the street back when I was in high school and we decided to have lunch at a friends house when we came out and started walking again we realized to creepy men were walking behind us, so we just walked into a pharmacy that was nearby where they eventually walked in too, and we just looked around for a while and managed to explain to the cashier that we thought the guys might be following us. Later that day we were trying to get back to my friend's house and this time we noticed two guys who seemed pretty drugged up following us and they actually came up close to my friend and tried to grab her ass. Anyway we played it 'cool' told them off and started walking a bit quicker and turned into a the next block where luckily the first house had its gates open, so we went into the garden to hide until they walked past us. When we tried to get back our path and keep waking home the guys where standing about four blocks away, we were pretty creeped out, so we walked to a friend's house a block away but she wasn't home. Then we just started talking to one of the nannies from a nearby house until we finally reached someone on my phone. When we drove past with a friend who went to pick us up the guys where still standing, waiting around.
brittanyk brittanyk 9 years
This happened to me once, so I got on my cell phone and I called my friend. I said really loudly, to make sure that he heard me, that someone was following me and I just stayed on the phone until I got to my car. I was at my apartment but I wasn't going to walk up to my door in the dark and let him know where I lived. So, I just ended up getting in my car and staying at my friends house. Anyways, once he heard me talking to someone he took off in another direction.
jessy777 jessy777 9 years
I would walk past my home and into the nearest open business. This way I can see if he is following or where he might go. If he was still around, I would call someone to meet me outside or go to a friend's house. In my opinion it is better safe than sorry.
citizenkane citizenkane 9 years
I wouldn't walk home by myself at night in the first place. No matter how close it was. BUT if I did, I would pull out my cell, call someone and talk very loudly the whole way.
alliallialli alliallialli 9 years
I would probably call someone. I'd never thought of describing the guy (though it's a good idea), I just always figured that being on a phone would be a deterrent. Also crossing the road, like NLM1212 said, I think is a pretty good way to tell whether or not someone's actually following you. I don't know where I'd go other than my house though? No one I know lives close by, and there aren't any shops or anything.
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