I live in a secure apartment building. All of the tenants receive a 3-digit code to give to people who are coming to visit. I’ve never lived in a secure building before and I really appreciate the benefits of having a few obstacles to deter most opportunistic criminals. I didn’t realize that there would be so many opportunities for me to exercise my instincts.
Two days after I moved in, I was walking through the lobby in a pair of sweats, an old tee shirt and baseball cap when I heard a frantic knocking at the entrance doors. I looked up to find a woman in her late 60’s waving me over. I opened the door and she said, “You look official. Thank goodness!” and then she proceeded to tell me a long and detailed story about why she needed to get in to see someone called Samir who she had an appointment with but she was early and he wasn’t answering his phone etc.
My first thought: that’s weird. Dressed like this, why would anyone look “official”? Why did she feel the need to give me so much information to justify her need to get in? Although she didn’t appear to be threatening in any way, my instinct was to not trust her. The strange compliment and over-load of information didn’t sit well with me.
As I was listening to the soft but clear voice of my intuition, all of the loud voices of my female cultural conditioning came roaring into my consciousness, trying to drown out my instincts: “Be nice! She’s just a harmless old lady, be friendly!” Thankfully, I have had a lot of practice shooing away my female conditioning like so many gnats. When I know that I’m going to be unhelpful, I find the experience is much more comfortable when I’m genuinely friendly in the process.
“What’s Samir’s code?” I asked gently. She said she didn’t have a code. Surprised I said, “Didn’t Samir give you a three-digit code? Oh, well, when you see him, ask him for the code. That way you won’t get stuck at the door. I’m sure he’ll let you in when it’s time for your appointment.” Then I shut the door. Did I feel a little bad about leaving her outside? Yes. Did I feel a little silly? Yes. But my intuition was very clear: don’t trust her. I learned a long time ago to listen to these messages, not judge them.
The pressure to be nice and helpful is strong and hardwired for women. People with bad intentions know this and will use it like a crowbar to pry compliance out of you, whether it’s letting them in a secure building or allowing them to get you in an isolated space to commit a crime against you.
Con artists, criminals and people with agendas will often broadcast their intentions through specific behaviors which your primitive brain may pick up on. If you’re willing to be in the moment, free of judgement and committed to do what your intuition tells you, the likelihood of falling prey to their machinations is greatly reduced.
Love yourself by protecting yourself. Listen to your intuition. Be unhelpful and do it with a smile.