According to Princeton psychologists Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov it only takes one tenth of a second for people to form an impression when they first meet a stranger. The study also concludes that “longer looks” at a stranger will not sway the first impression (Wargo, 2006).
The first impression can be a lasting impression, and there are no “do over’s”.
Fair or not, like it or not, we all are being judged continually. We all are being sized up, if you will, by strangers, acquaintances and law enforcement as we move about during our daily lives. We are judged by our actions, our looks, and race and by our political and religious affiliations.
In some cases, people imagine others may be a threat based solely on looks, race, clothing, tattoos, hair, and other features. People are bombarded with images of the so-called bad guys on television, in the news and in the movies and the images carry over into their daily lives, and thus people are on the “look-out”.
Profiling, looking for danger and being on the look-out for threats will only increase once the SHTF.
BLISS as a Guide
B – Blend in with the surroundings.
L – Low silhouette
I – Irregular shape
S – Small.
S – Secluded
The acronym BLISS is usually associated with the military. It is an easy way of remembering the key points of camouflage. BLISS can be used in any situation however, to help you blend in so you are not the focus of attention.
Once outside of your home, you are under constant surveillance, by cell phone cameras, and surveillance cameras in stores and along the streets and not to mention drones and even satellites that are monitoring continually.
It is very difficult to become invisible, but you can become insignificant, so no one pays you any particular attention. You will be seen, but what do they see is what you have to ask yourself. Your actions and appearance will be judged. You may have to change your habits to stay off the radar.
In some cases all it takes is a change of clothes to blend in. Obviously wearing camouflaged clothing and Camo face paint, for example, would make you stand out in a shopping mall, and may very well draw the attention of security. Your appearance has to fit the setting you are in so you go unnoticed.
Some people have very strong feelings about personal expression, and they should, but you want to blend in and complete your mission, whatever it may be, without drawing attention to yourself. Personal expression is fine, but in a survival situation where Martial Law may be enacted is not the time to express yourself unless you want all the attention on you.
Once the SHTF some would not want to be labeled a Prepper or a survivalist. Some people right now are concerned they are being labeled or judged, because of the supplies they buy, supplies such as ammunition, firearms and large amounts of certain foods and so on. People will be judged based on their actions, and in some cases, people may come to the attention of law enforcement or others with nefarious intentions. You do not need this type of attention.
Freedom of Movement Is an Illusion
In some states and jurisdictions you can open carry a firearm. In plain sight for all to see if you are licensed. However, just because you can legally do it does not mean you will not be challenged. Your routine can be disrupted, and once this happens, you are no longer “flying under the radar”.
You stand out. In a restaurant, store or when walking along the street people will notice. Some will see the firearm, and they may not know the law or care. A phone call is made, and then you may be challenged by law enforcement in the parking lot or even in the establishment. The caller may even embellish somewhat to ensure the police do show up. The police will find all is in order, but you have been detained in a sense, and now you are on the minds of others, you stand out.
In a SHTF scenario people will be hyper vigilant, they will be looking for threats in everything, in everyone. Martial Law may be in effect, and so you could be detained without reason just because of the way you look or act. You will be judged and possibly detained by those that do not need probable cause. You do need to move around even during Martial Law, but to accomplish your tasks; you need to disappear in the crowd.
Your objective is to survive and to do so, you may have to do things that go against your nature, against your beliefs, but you must sustain life, and often times you must live so your family can survive. You have to be able to read the situation you are in correctly, so you can blend in, and go unnoticed.
You may have to cut your hair, color your hair and cover up tattoos so you go unnoticed. You may have to change your clothes to fit in. If everyone in the crowd waiting on handouts from FEMA is wearing dirty clothes and it is obvious they have not bathed recently, and then here you are looking refreshed with clean clothes, clean hair and nails, you will stand out, you will be remembered, and you may be followed home.
Being a Stranger Means Danger
If someone has never met you then you are a stranger to him or her, and in a split second, you are judged. In a SHTF situation you could be deemed a threat based on first impressions.
If you flaunt your resources, wear your attitude on your sleeve and then let everyone know who and what you are, you may be the first to die when the SHTF. Going unnoticed can help you survive. Start practicing now.
Wargo, E. (2006). Retrieved 2015, from http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/publications/observer/2006/july-06/how-many-seconds-to-a-first-impression.html