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.

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