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Ask Amy: Solo hiker is creeped out by a stranger

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

– Solitary Walker

Dear Solitary: The first thing I would do is to find another place and time to walk. (You’ve done that.)

I would also notify whatever entity is in charge of this trail. Other people might have reported similar concerns.

I would also consider walking with another person, and/or carrying a bottle of protection spray.

Next, I would override that inner voice about what might be “socially acceptable,” and focus completely on self-protection.

I would also reread “The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals that Protect Us From Violence” (2021, Back Bay Books).

 

This book is author Gavin de Becker’s own gift to people – women, especially – in instructing us to pay very close attention to our body’s signals for when we are in danger, and to act on those instincts.

Women have been socialized to be polite, and to even ignore our own instincts to flee, in order to make a stranger comfortable.

My suggestions might seem like a serious overreaction to what others might believe is nothing more than an annoyance.

But you should never disregard your own instincts. This is “the gift” of your own fear, and this fear, concern, and caution is legitimate.

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