It was like one of those dreams where you try to scream and can’t. I was paralyzed with fear and it took a minute to shake my shock so I could call the police and report we had been robbed.
My friends and I were walking on a Friday night to another friend’s apartment. It was dark and we were being followed a bit closely by a man, but I brushed it off… yes, I BRUSHED IT OFF. I didn’t want to assume anything bad about him; it felt rude.
This incident taught me and my friends a lot about safety. Read below for ways to keep yourself safe in college and beyond.
Not in Kansas anymore, Toto.
Whether venturing out of state or staying local for college, it is important to adjust your mindset around safety. It is easy to take it for granted that when you get back from the restroom, your laptop will still be sitting on your table at the coffee shop, but it is best not to get too lax about being cautious. Lock up your doors, your bike, and your valuables.
Pay attention to your surroundings! It is so easy to be sucked into Instagram or the latest T-Swift album (but why tho?). Stop looking distracted and like an easy target. Take out one of your earbuds and turn the volume down. You can still have your life soundtrack playing in the background, just don’t let it drown out danger.
If you go to an event with a friend, leave with that friend. In fact, don’t go into unfamiliar situations alone. A tactic of criminals is to isolate the victim, so don’t give them this one for free. If you feel unsure about an environment, leave.
Avoid toxic people!
Sometimes the biggest red flags about a person are what we like most about them at first, but they can lead to hurtful and abusive relationships, romantic or otherwise.
How do you know if someone is bad news?
- They are obsessed
Toxic people move too fast by claiming to be in love or wanting to move in together not long after meeting you. They will shower you with gifts, compliments, and attention. They might even be mirroring your values to appear like the perfect friend or date. Don’t be fooled! This is a way for them to gain your undeserved trust.
- They don’t share
They badmouth others in your life and make you feel guilty for hanging out with anyone else. At first, you might interpret this ‘jealousy’ as flattering but they are really trying to cut you off from your support system.
- They push your buttons
They start to push your buttons on purpose to learn what hurts you. When they know what you like and what hurts you, they can start to manipulate you by manipulating how you feel.
- They play the victim
Every time you bring up something they did that hurt you, it turns into being your fault. It might happen so subtly that you don’t notice until after your conversation. If you constantly feel like everything in the relationship is your fault, it’s a sign of manipulation.
- They question your judgement
They might start by criticizing or mocking your taste in music, your clothes, or your hobbies. Slowly, you’ll start to question all of your decisions and let him/her make them for you. This is how they start to take control.
For more information on signs of toxic people to avoid, watch these videos: