Warning signs of a violent man attempting to lure a victim

7 Clues You Might Have Just Met A Potentially Dangerous Man

As a woman, one of your greatest gifts is your intuition. Yet why do we hear countless stories from women who have been victims of violent crimes, who ignored their intuition? The very warning sign that was designed to keep them safe…

As you will learn from this post, much of this is about social conditioning.

When a man shows up being a little too charming, nice or helpful most women are not conditioned to say,

“Thanks but did you not hear me say f’off the first time?!”

Instead, you enter into a potentially deadly dance between the politeness you’ve been conditioned to offer, instead of paying attention to the warning bells you’re receiving.

You know the feeling…

that your heart is in your mouth,

feeling like it’s hard to breathe and holding your breath,

or noticing the hair on the back of your neck is standing up.

It’s vitally important to know how to avoid violent attacks by learning about the early warning signs and clues-

– before it’s too late…

Whilst the men who are capable of every woman’s worst nightmare, know exactly how to lure a woman into a dangerous situation, the very ways they can do so leave clues.

So here are your 7 potentially life saving clues that will help you know how to avoid violent attacks.

manipulation used by a potentially violent man to gain a woman's trust

Forced Teaming – Calculated Manipulation

One of the fastest ways to lure a victim, is to get them to trust you. Even if it’s only for 30 seconds. And Forced Teaming is a way of establishing trust pre maturely, because it quickly enforces a feeling of ‘we’re in this predicament together’.

For example:

Two people miss the last train or bus for the evening. Both of them are now facing their own predicament on how to get home.

When forced teaming is used, one stranger might ask “How are we going to get home?”  The emphasis here is on the use of the word ‘we’.

Most women are too polite to say “Um, what do you mean ‘we’, I don’t give a damn how you’re getting home,” and predators understand the social norms that keep us from being rude.

Far from being a coincidence, forced teaming is one of the most covert forms of manipulation. The predator prematurely forces trust when moments ago none existed.  It’s an extremely subtle violation of your personal space, and the predator uses this technique to test how easy it will be to gain control of the potential victim.

“The detectable signal of Forced Teaming is, the projection of a shared purpose or experience where none exists” – GDB

superficial charm used by potentially violent men to gain the trust of their victim

Charm & Niceness – To Control By Allure Or Attraction

Charm is a learned trait and women would be served well to look beyond the charm and kindness to determine if there’s an ulterior motive.  If a total stranger appears charming, ask yourself,  “Why is he so hell bent on  trying to charm me?”.

Because, just like establishing trust prematurely, charm is no accident.

Remind yourself that charm can be a form of control because people don’t think “charming and bad guy” in the same moment.  It’s easier to let down our defences and turn off our intuition when we think someone is charming.  Which is exactly why he uses it, the intention is to disarm you.

This also applies to someone who is excessively trying to charm you on a date and the feeling that “he seems nice enough but like he’s trying too hard”.

lies potentially violent men use to deceive a woman

Too Much Information (TMI!) – A Sign He Wants To Deceive You

Have you ever met someone, maybe made eye contact or shared a quick smile, then it seemed like you suddenly couldn’t get rid of them?

Although you’re itching to get away, you feel trapped. And since you don’t want to be rude, you feel stuck listening to the ‘story’ they’re telling you. In most cases, that person (for whatever reason) may just have needed to find some way to connect on a human level.

However, someone volunteering too many details when they weren’t asked for, can be a way of distracting you from what your intuition otherwise might have picked up on.  So, pay attention to what your gut is telling you.

When people are telling the truth, they don’t feel the need to back up what they are saying with additional details.

When people lie, even though you might actually be buying into their story, they aren’t convinced that they sound credible. Hence they add additional details to support their lie.

For example:

A stranger who magically appears and happens to be heading to the same floor of the building you are, strikes up a conversation. Although something feels off to you, he appears to be “nice” enough as he tells you how bad he feels that he is hours late on the promise he made to feed his sisters dog.

While polite exchanges between people are common, a stranger volunteering too many details about why they are heading to the same floor, should be a warning bell.

tactics used by violent men to engage their victims in conversation

Typecasting – Criticisms That Will Get Him Everywhere…

This is a highly sophisticated way of manipulating someone and tricking that person into proving they are not what the manipulator has just suggested they are.  Basically, no one really cares to be “labeled”, as it’s a bit of an insult.  So with Typecasting, the manipulator purposely says you are one way & you feel compelled to prove them right or wrong.

For example:

“You don’t seem like the type of woman who’s afraid of trying new things.”

The woman, wanting to rid herself of the label, then sets out to show him she is not afraid of trying new things.

Or, the man might say, “You don’t come across as someone who is boring, do you ever do anything spontaneous?”

In both examples the slight insult is designed to compel you to engage.

Sadly, even when women feel creeped out by such highly manipulative questions, they are conditioned to answer politely. And in doing so, they send off a signal that they are able to be controlled.

A tactic a potentially violent man might use to lure a woman

Loan Sharking – Luring You Into Obligation

This is a strategy that is used to play on a woman’s sense of obligation.

If the man can create a situation where the woman feels like she owes him, she is more likely not to ask him to take a hike.

Great examples of this are forcing help on you when you didn’t ask for any help. The emphasis here is on forcing help!

An extremely important point that differentiates dangerous men from someone who is genuinely offering help, is respecting boundaries.

As you will read in clue number #7 ‘NO’ is a complete sentence. If a stranger attempts to ‘negotiate’ your refusal for unsolicited help – get the heck away asap!

Whether he noticed you are struggling to manage the 2nd floor with your shopping bags, or juggling getting the stroller in your trunk, pay attention to his insistence on helping you.

If the first attempt to manipulate the woman doesn’t work, it is often followed up with Typecasting.

For example:

“Come on, I’m just a nice guy trying to help a pretty lady – are you going to fault me for that?”

Your response at this point, is helping him assess whether he can or can’t, lure you deeper into his control.

signs a man may have a violent motive

The Unsolicited Promise – A Signal Of Questionable Motive

This signal should alert you!

It means that someone is trying to convince you of something.  Honestly, how many people do you know who’ve actually gone out of their way to not promise anyone anything?  It’s a big and personal commitment to promise another person something.

But… He needs to convince you because he senses your doubt.

So if someone says…. “I just wanted to be able to help you”, followed by “I promise”,  the purpose is similar to offering too many details.  It’s yet another attempt to get you to trust him.

The emphasis here is on:

1.  There was no legitimate reason for the person to promise you anything. 2. You never asked for a promise in the first place.

So the question to ask yourself is, “What’s the point to a promise I didn’t ask for?”

violent men warning signs - why you shouldn't negotiate the word NO

Discounting The Word ‘NO’ – A Word That Should Never Be Negotiated

We’ve all heard the saying “no means no.”

Rape and violence are about power and control, so if a complete stranger is trying to control you, let this be an alarm bell.  Many women don’t understand how important a refusal to hear the word “no” is, as an indicator of someone whose intentions may be to harm you.

After interviewing Gavin De Becker, best selling author of The Gift Of Fear, Oprah summarized  her understanding perfectly:

“When you say no and the other person discounts it, you should think immediately, why is this person trying to control me? Because NO is a complete sentence.”

SEE ALSO: The Gift Of Fear – What Every Woman Ought To Know About Her Ability To Predict Violence – By Gavin De Becker

One of the most dangerous things a woman can do is say no, and then weaken her stance by relinquishing it. A stranger with sinister intent is looking for any foot in the door he can get.  So by saying “no thanks I don’t need any help” and then caving in a few moments later, you send a signal that you can be controlled.

With a stranger, the word ‘no’ is not negotiable. And your safety and life may depend on your NOT giving in to another attempt on their part.  They are testing you to see if you’ll be a good victim for them.

Bringing The Potential For Violence Into Context

As the author of The Gift of Fear (Gavin De Becker), pointed out – “context is everything.”

While many of these tactics are often used without harmful intent, your situation and surroundings are what brings them into context.  If you’re alone and isolated and approached by a man, you are vulnerable.

If he is overly friendly, remind yourself that his charm and niceness likely has a motive. That motive could be as simple as a lame attempt to chat you up for a date, or it could be much more dangerous.

If something feels off, it probably is.  Hesitation and doubt are gifts from your intuition.  Listen to them!

Have you ever been in a potentially dangerous situation, where your intuition picked up on any of the above?  If so, we’d love to hear your story in the comments below.

And please share this post to help other women understand the warning signs of being lured into a violent attack.

You could help save someone’s life…



  • Myfanwy White
    Posted at 23:41h, 25 December Reply

    I met you in Fitzroy last night and I’m very glad to have met you and read your website. It’s great and I’ll email one of my teachers in my domestic violence class about it as I think she would be interested. These warning signs are so spot on

    • Street Smart Women
      Posted at 18:03h, 03 January Reply

      It was great meeting you also and I’m glad you found our website. The more we raise awareness on the early warning signs for violence, the more lives we can save.

  • Wendy E
    Posted at 01:30h, 01 January Reply

    Wow! This article is spot on. Political correctness should never be a priority when any stranger approaches you, especially if you are alone! Thanks for the tips!

    • Street Smart Women
      Posted at 18:21h, 03 January Reply

      Thanks for stopping by Wendy. And yes, political correctness should never be a priority when it comes to strangers. Unfortunately social conditioning often kicks in, which is what puts many women in danger.

  • ST
    Posted at 18:15h, 06 January Reply

    I had an incident in Junior High School where I walked out of the girls bathroom that was located next to the auditorium. This boy that I’d seen singing with his family at our church and other churches asked me to follow him. I said why and he said just follow him.

    Even though my body was getting this eerie feeling, my mind told me that it’s okay, he’s a christian he wouldn’t do anything bad to me. So I followed him into this dark auditorium onto the lighted stage. As I passed the closet door, he pushed me into the closet that was full of boys. The light was off and they held me against the wall. It was dark and I couldn’t move or scream. This is all I know so far. I don’t know what happened after because I draw a blank. I just woke up one night screaming about this memory. I have fear of being close to crowds. I’m very afraid of being trapped. I know following him was so stupid, but I learned from an early age to be nice to everyone and was never warned about people that will do bad things to others.

    Thank you for this article. I hope others can learn through you.

  • Magdalena D
    Posted at 12:27h, 25 August Reply

    I recently worked an event downtown. I knew there would be no parking, so I parked my car nearby a trolley station and took the trolley downtown. The event ended in the early evening, it was still daylight. I waited for the trolley downtown, and noticed a man staring at me, walking away, walk back near me and staring at me. I thought he was creepy. When the trolley came, I walked quite a ways down the platform, so I wouldn’t be near him. I rode the trolley and when my station came up, I got up and accidentally kicked the person behind me. I looked up at that person and said “sorry”, and realized it was the creepy guy! I thought “How come he was sitting behind me, I walked so far down”?
    I left the train and I could swear that I saw from my peripheral that he left the train behind me, but wasn’t sure.
    My car was parked several blocks away.
    After a couple of blocks I finally decided to look back and see if he’s there. I looked back and didn’t see him.
    My car was parked by a school, with an empty lot next to it and no businesses nearby. As I was getting closer to the car, I just couldn’t shake that feeling that I was being followed, and I was worried about being alone. A voice said “get yourself into safety”.
    A group of 3 men was coming towards me and I thought “Oh they must be going to the station”.
    The station will have tons of people, security guards and I can call the police if needed, or at least an uber ride to my car.
    So once these 3 men passed me, I turned around and started following them like a little duck.
    And sure enough, walking back, now as part of a group, about halfway down the block, there he was!! The creep was there!!
    Once he saw me, and saw me walking towards him, he stopped and froze and stared at me.
    I had my phone pulled out to call 911 if needed and pretended to be looking at my phone.
    The creep stood there for a while, then he took out his phone, turned his back to me and started photographing the building he stood next to, which was just a random building.
    I walked past him, back to the station, turned around and he was gone.
    I called an uber ride to my car. The creep was nowhere to be seen.
    Had I ignored my voice and gone all the way to my car, it would have been just me and him and I would have been at his mercy.
    I do wish I had called the police right away, but then again, I don’t think they would have been there to catch him.

  • Emm
    Posted at 23:54h, 07 April Reply

    Unfortunately, my brother in law (married to my older sister for nearly a year now) has exhibited all of these traits, and have tried all of them on me, and I like to think that I have demonstrated that I know what he’s trying to do (gain my trust and take advantage of me sexually) but as a survivor of sexual violence, I am just terrified that I haven’t done enough to show that he can’t mess with me.

    The fact that my mother is absolutely blind to all of this and completely shuts me down whenever I have tried to criticize him doesn’t help matters. I don’t live at home, but spend my summers there, where my sister and the creep come visit monthly and stay over for 4-5 days. Any suggestions on what to do to keep him from trying again (which I feel like he’s the kind of guy who will never stop trying and will never stop crossing the line) or at least, to keep myself safe nonetheless? Thanks

  • Christa
    Posted at 17:00h, 15 June Reply

    When I attended community college, I was walking to my car when a stranger in a van asked me for help because his van had broken down. I can’t remember all the details, but he made himself out to be in need of help. There were people around, and although I did feel some caution with him, I felt it was decent enough to buy him some food. He kept asking little favors for help, giving me the impression he was stuck in his van overnight with no money, and I ended up taking his computer when he asked so I could charge it with his desire for me to return later. Of course I had red flags going all over in my head and gut, but I also felt incredibly uncomfortable turning him away if he really needed help. It’s completely ridiculous, I see that now, but at the time I felt like a jerk for thinking that someone who had yet to do anything bad I was already deciding was a danger. I couldn’t shake the red flags, and so I went to a friends father who was a police officer and told him what was happening. We all went back to the van, but instead of me delivering the computer back to the guy, my friends father graciously took over the situation for me. I was mortified, but relieved at the same time. I am certain that he had some choice words for the man.

  • Monica Louise
    Posted at 21:29h, 03 September Reply

    A few years back, in early evening I had parked my car and was walikng across the parking lot to my apartment. Suddenly I got the feeling I was being followed and swung round. There was a man just behind me who felt far too close and appeared to have come from nowhere.
    I felt really scared and uncomfortable and confronted him, asking what he was doing. He apologised and made some excuse. I angrily told him that he shouldn’t sneak up on people.
    He walked off, back across the parking lot and got in to a grey van I had never seen before.
    I felt really shaken up and continued to my apartment. The next day, in the car, I had the radio on. On the news there was a report of a woman being raped in her house ( just across the road from me). The rapist had followed her in ( when she was distracted with her shopping) shut the front door and attached her ? I will never know if it was the same man but it seemed like too much of a coincidence.

  • Alice
    Posted at 10:02h, 11 February Reply

    This is such an accurate list that I’m kicking myself for not having seen it sooner. Worth noting that it especially applies to people you meet online, and that’s where my story begins.
    Met a guy in his greying 30s (I’m in my 20s) who really seemed genuine, but I made the mistake of ignoring basically all of the aforementioned red flags.

    The first flag I ignored was the level of correspondence prior to meeting. He would send me 5 page essay messages in the dating app all day everyday, which I thought was great and got me excited because online conversations are frequently dry. This led to what I thought to be a red flag, which was that he wanted to move the conversation elsewhere, but asked for my social media or whatsapp instead of exchanging numbers. He basically foreshadowed the situation by saying there was no point since it would only create an additional avenue where I would have to block him. It did bother me and I thought it was strange that he would even think of me needing to block him, but in favour of an exciting date with an interesting person, I put it on the back burner. This quickly gave way to the another red flag; how quickly he introduced innuendos and alluded to sexual activities/behaviours, eventually sending a topless photo. I justified this as a guy being a guy, further supported by my dating inexperience and avoidance of all sexual situations, due to experiencing sexual trauma (but not dealing with it).

    On our first date, I picked the activity (#redflag), and he spoke as much and as charmingly (flag) as he wrote, touching on everything from childhood to modern philosophy, occasionally asking for my take, but mostly talking about himself. He was quick to play with my hair and take my hand (hello red flag) which at a minimum made me nervous. I made a subtle assertion as to why he should stop touching me, but this was ignored until I myself removed my hair/hand from the situation. Disrespecting my personal space continued when he ambushed me with a quick kiss in transit to the next destination. I thought that was too much and told him it made me uncomfortable and I left it at that, but he wouldn’t leave the subject alone. At first he tried to make me feel guilty by saying sorry and that he meant no harm (very dramatically), then prodded as to why I reacted that way. He wasn’t rude about it and I chalked up my response to being inexperienced with dating and maybe giving too much power to my fear of intimacy. With my consent, I let him kiss me again towards the end of the evening.

    By the end of the night he almost followed me all the way home but I told him it was far and not worth the trip it. That didn’t stop him from waiting around with me, blowing me kisses while I sat on the train and he stood on the platform, which garnered so much attention that I was visibly embarassed. All that to say I let the perceived positives overshadow the clear negatives, so I kept in contact with him.

    And thus, the long messages continued. They varied from future plans and activities to daily goings on and lots of sexting. He would send me (non nude) selfies of himself before bed and wished me to be there with him. He suggested meeting again, but oncemore I volunteered the activity. In my defence though, I often suggest the place to decrease the chances of being set up somewhere they regularly frequent (the sex trade is a real thing) since I live in a big city.

    Anyways, this time we went to a packed restaurant on a Friday night. It was way too loud for conversation and we had to eat at the bar, so while the food was good, I really wasn’t enjoying the venue. Again I tried to confront what I perceive as my fear of intimacy by putting my hand on his leg while we ate, in part as a deterrent to him touching me like he had since we had been seated (rubbing my back, massaging my neck, which I hate). He kept his jacket on his lap, which I thought was funny and tried to remove it. While he didn’t say much, he wasn’t laughing about it like I was and was somewhat stern about me leaving it alone.

    Later on he would tell me that he felt like he needed to be entertaining because I seemed uncomfortable, which made a lot of sense in hindsight because it felt as though he was performing. He showed off his knowledge of a foreign language he shared with the server and exchanged a few words with her.. He immediately looking for my reaction, but I pretended I didn’t notice and buried my head in the menu. I laughed at his need for attention from anyone who’d give him any, but he thought I was laughing at a guy who stood next to us at the bar and spoke to the bartender in the local language, which I speak and he does not. He seemed insulted that: (1) I didn’t tell him what the guy had said upon demand (I wasn’t listening to the guy so I didn’t know) and (2) I was paying attention to some other guy and not him, if even for a second.


    We left and he randomly began upon a tale regarding his dealings with an escort and how unemotional the interaction was despite how she was his type (curvy) and satisfied him sexually. He spoke out loudly in the quiet streets and discussed this so casually, as though it were the norm (sex work isn’t legal here). This was a giant red flag to me, firstly in how he regarded sex as a transactional thing; we had split the bill on the first date but mind you he paid for dinner this time. Secondly, I’ve known people on both sides of that industry and having heard about them and previously dates one (he only told me towards the end of the relationship) I thought it was terribly sketchy. I simply listened as we walked back to my car, but my fight/flight response cente lit up at the thought of being alone in a vehicle with someone I perceived as a heavily sexual person. My decision was not only informed by the sexting, but prior to the date I had checked out the other people he followed on his social media. Mixed in with coworkers and probably his mom, were hundreds of porn stars that corresponded to his preferred female body type. I asked him about it and he basically said he liked to be in a constant state of arousal. Is that even healthy?? Moreover, he had just finished telling me about an escort, as well as how women lied to him about things like having kids, adding that he had none despite me not asking (flag much?).

    Anyways, I kept my distance as we spoke in my car for about an hour, mostly discussing our exchange of messages. He said I wrote beautifully and this was a sign of the kind of wonderful magically fairy unicorn person I was (paraphrasing but you get the point). I retorted with what I felt they represented (insecurity and anxiety; storytelling at best), which he disliked and immediately negated.
    He soon made it obvious that he wanted to make out and alluded to wanting to touch me, which he has mentionned in our messages. Again I sank back into my helpless inexperience, not wanting to disappoint, and unsubstantiated theory that exposure would help me overcome- so I complied. I didn’t last long though, stopping him mid way through and volunteering to drive him home. Thankfully it was closeby and I quickly kissed him goodnight as to deter any more face sucking. Oddly enough, before leaving he asked me if there was anything I wanted to say to him before he left… Wasn’t sure what to make of that but I said soemthing silly like I thought he was cute (for what it’s worth, he was good looking) and went along my merry way.

    In the days that followed, the messages would decrease and were a lot less…characteristic. All of a sudden he had friends he had to go out with, his mom was in town so I couldn’t come over, he went to dinner with his bestie, ect ect. Even the language he used was different; he was giving short generic answers that were hours apart and used excess punctuation, especially when our next planned date approached. He specifically stated that despite the fact that he was messaging me less, it didn’t mean he wasn’t interested but was quite the opposite and that he wanted things to flow organically. I didn’t think anything of it but that intuition kicked in and I was sure to update my dating profile that I had neglected since meeting him.
    We hung out during most of the day during the two previous dates and so I assumed it would be no different, but all of a sudden the night before he had plans that would cut our day in half. He told me not to worry with way too many emojis and exclamation points, saying he would even come to my side of town to accommodate, further emphasizing that I shouldn’t worry and was extremely thankful when l reluctantly agreed. The day of, he said hello that morning and asked me how I was doing. I responded simply and he read but didn’t reply. I responded again asking him if he was okay because his energy was off and again he read and didn’t reply. As the hour approched I didn’t bother trying getting ready because I knew what was to follow.

    Reflecting on the entire thing, naturally I felt all of this wasn’t necessary if he always knew he didn’t want to go further with me. All thoroughout he talked about being open and expressing how you feel, and we even had a conversation about stating disinterest were it to occur, so this made no sense to me.

    Other than the fact that I feel like I dodged a bullet due to how weird this guy clearly was (with and without my participation) it’s been an eye opening experience because clearly I am doing too much to accommodate others while almost completely ignoring myself. The hardest part was not being ghosted (or ‘mosted’ ; when someone goes that extra mile of ghosting while on a good note/ for even less than the usual lack of reason), but rather finally addressing my trauma and trying to figure out why I allow(ed) these giant red flag behaviours to not only exist but persist in my presence, and often with my participation. As mad as I’d like to be at some dude for taking his mid life crisis out on me, I’m more disappointed with myself for ignoring those innate gut feelings like my intuition, that have allowed my lineage to survive in the wild — only to be dismantled by a charming stranger.
    I’m not going to fault all of mankind for the evils of few, but I feel exponentially better now that I am armed and prepared for the road ahead.
    Once again, I am thankful for this post and site in general. I could only hope that my story will help someone and make as big a difference as this information has made in my life.

  • Better safe than sorry
    Posted at 11:48h, 19 June Reply

    The best thing for a man these days is to mind his own business. Remember, even if the man is truthful and really wants to help a woman, she can’t read your mind and she feels afraid. And so at the same time it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a good man will be labeled as a predator for reaching out. Because that’s apparently what we are, predators! But somehow we are still supposed to make the first move in dating. Talking about a contradiction. And here is another one: The fact that the majority of murder victims on the streets are men, done by men, which is conveniently overlooked. Back to my opening sentence. So if a women has a flat tire or the battery is dead, call AAA. A women’s grocery bag rips apart. Too bad, I have no spare bags. A female jogger twisted her ankle and lies crying on the ground. Sorry, I ain’t helping you, but I am sure a female passerby will. I am with a woman in an elevator and the elevator gets stuck. Won’t happen because I don’t enter an elevator with a single woman in it. I am in a quiet room of a local library and three ladies come in, I stay. Then one lady leaves, I stay, then another lady leaves, I leave. Holding the door open for a woman who is approaching? Hope, I press the disabled button which keeps the door open, otherwise I didn’t see her. Women these days have a quazillion friends on Social Media, I am sure they can help themselves. Chivalry is dead and I am not reviving it. Feels good!

  • Kayna
    Posted at 14:32h, 02 November Reply

    Women must be and remain independent.Heads up, at all times, and not let their guards down, ever. We never know what someone could be up to, if in fact they are up to something. Better to be safe than sorry.

  • tia johnson
    Posted at 07:00h, 11 November Reply

    So often…yes…females do get “feelings” that may only last a few seconds…but we brush it off and try to justify it by saying “i know him”…”he’s a nice guy”.
    But when you get “that feeling” next time…maybe just be cautious of the situation.

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