If the answer to being more book smart was to read more books, then what about how to be more street smart? You only have to read the paper or switch on the morning news to know that your safety should be your top priority at all times. It’s not about being scared or fearful, but having a healthy dose of common sense and habits that will protect you from potential harm. Here's some pointers on how to be more street smart.
I love listening to my music as much a fat kid loves cake, but never on the walk home if it is dark or in an area that is quiet or deserted. Not only will you not be able to hear anyone approaching but you are making yourself an easy target. Wearing headphones advertises that you are unaware and off in your own world. The same goes for your early morning or late evening runs ladies; this is top spot on my list of ways to be more street smart for a reason!
2. Say Goodbye
As above, the same goes for talking on your phone. You might say that you do it for your safety but how aware of your surroundings are you whilst telling your BFF about your saucy encounter with the guy from accounts this morning? If anything, have a number on speed dial and have your finger ready so if needs be, you can reach someone at the touch of a button.
3. Act out
When it comes to your safety forget your pride. If something or someone is giving you the heebie jeebies then do what you need to do to remove yourself from the situation. I once noticed a group of men walking behind me one night and felt uneasy about it, so I legged it to the closest main road. Who cares what they thought? If they were harmless then okay, they may have thought that I was a little odd; but if they were indeed looking to make trouble then I saved myself from being involved in it.
4. Speak up
If you are approached by someone who you think is potentially dangerous and you are in a public place, then speak loudly and be firm. Attackers are cowards at heart, if you show them with your tone, posture and eye contact that you are neither meek nor weak but assertive, strong and confident, they will soon realise that you are anything but an easy target. Even if you are not feeling it inside, fake it until you make it.
5. Hide the Bling
One way to be more street smart is to not advertise that you have money or nice things. Keep your phone, laptop or iPod in your bag if you are unsure about the area you are in, and put your money in your purse as soon as you have withdrawn it from a cash machine instead of standing there counting it. Also, try to get into the practise of wearing your bag across your shoulder; no one will attempt to grab it unless they plan to drag you down the road with it!
6. Know Your Options
I am feeling a bit like an S.A.S agent here, with all these ‘Street Smart’ tips and my next point only highlights that- know your options. Wherever you are be aware of your surroundings. Where is the closest place to go if you got in trouble? Where are the exits? Are there Police in the area? It sounds a bit O.C.D but for the hundreds of times these practices may not be necessary, if the situation were to arise only once they would be imperative.
7. Gut Feeling
When it comes to how to be more street smart, listening to your gut has got to be up there. You often instinctively know if something is not quite right or potentially unsafe, listen to your instincts and act on them. If your gut starts to tell you that you need to leave, run, or move away from a situation or person, then do yourself a favour and follow it.
8. Say It with Your Step
When I think of a street smart female images of a ‘Dangerous Minds’, bandanna wearing ‘Jenny from the block’ type springs to mind. If you want to be the part then you have to play the part. I am not saying sag your pants and put on a pair of hoop earrings larger than the size of your head, but walk like you woke up this morning and downed a bottle of ‘ I'm actually quite lovely but f*** with me and things are going to get ugly’. I mean it- stand tall, shoulders back, eyes ahead and let any potential ‘troublemaker’ know that you will not go quietly.
9. Forward Thinking
To take the stress out of situations and ensure your safety plan ahead. If you are heading home late at night then checkout the best route possible earlier in the day, or arrange to meet someone at your end destination. If you are going anywhere that you haven’t been before get on Google Maps and know the route. You’ll have more confidence knowing what you are doing and won’t look like a lost lamb waiting for trouble.
Some of us to need watch our bags as if they’ll grow legs any second and runaway, and others may not have to be so cautious. Whatever your situation or environment, we live in a world where it not only pays but is essential to be aware of your surroundings. Does anyone else have any tips to add to this list of pointers on how to be more street smart that we could all benefit from?