Spotting a tail

Can you?
We advocate situational awareness, but how much do you rely on your observation?
And what about your gut feelings?

Years ago in San Antonio I was walking by myself down a deserted street in a commercial area when I spotted someone I thought was tailing me.
I ducked into a doorway a couple of times and nonchalantly looked backwards as if I were lost and saw my tail do the same, only to re-appear when I continued on my way. When I passed by an above ground parking structure I scampered inside and took up a defensive position behind a concrete column and waited.
My tail would have to walk past my column to either enter the structure or continue down the street, so at least I’d have the element of surprise if things got bad.
I waited and the fellow never showed. He would have had to reverse direction in order to turn down a side street so I figure he thought I wasn’t worth the effort to rob.
Then I made a hasty retreat to my hotel,
Has anyone else here experienced this?
Can you offer any tips on spotting a tail?


I think you did the right thing. I think if it feels like someone is following you you shouldn’t ignore them. That is when SHTF. Follow your instincts and check them out if you can’t put distance between you both.


Flip side of the coi: How do you avoid appearing to be a tail?
This is very important for situations when one or two women are walking along and a solo or pair of men behind them look like possible stalkers tailing them.
Without intending to, we men can push alert women from Yellow to Orange quickly simply by following at the same pace. Less alert woman may have their Spidey Sense go off and be rather scared.
If I think I may be looking like a sidewalk stalked, I either slow down so the female(s) pace takes them farther and farther away from me, or I cross to the other side of the street and then walk notably faster then they are to pass them smoothly and briskly.

No, it is not alright to speak to them to reassure them you are an OK guy.


Better to be safe then sorry. I have driven by my house several times because of a following vehicle. :thinking:


Yea anytime it looks like someone is following me in the car I always drive around for a bit to see if I lose them or I go to a store I never go home until I know for sure


Ha ha ha… I can think of few things that would set off more red flags than some stranger trying to reassure me that he’s not going to harm me. Because that means the thought at least crossed his mind, right?

And yet, some folks (especially men) do exactly this.


Opinions welcome.

For some reason while on the street if I feel I have a tail, I walk directly towards the victim, with blood in my eyes. Is this the wrong approach?

This has happened numerous times when leaving a retail establishment. Maybe it was just paranoia but by spinning around ( on a dime ) and walking directly towards seems to throw them off guard!

They, then spin a move in a different direction.
When my wife and I were a little more spry, I take right she takes left. Unless the tail has a special condition, he can only keep an eye on one of us and we know who that would be…fooled ya, wife is very attentive.

I’ve done nothing wrong, I’m in an area that I have a right to be in!
I suddenly forgot something so I headed back. If stalker thought I was the mark, things just got reversed, he became my mark. Is this valid?

If in a car, weird as it may sound, I evade and escape, 4 left turns then bolt! Screw the speed limit and stop signs. In all seriousness I don’t have a reason to be followed or stalked by a vehicle. If so directly to the police station or a hospital but never home!

It’s funny you bring this up. My wife and I play a game, see who’s more aware! Just the other day at the doctors ( which was fairly crowded 26 people) we had to sit and wait for 47 minutes.

What did we notice? The guy with NRA hat, 4 Hawaiian shirts, 7 with glasses, one 70 year old hippie fisherman still wearing his sunglasses indoors, 2 tourists one with a NY shirt the other with a tacky Hawaiian polo ( obvious ) who didn’t speak English, was Italian, but what we laughed at, about the same time, when we looked at each other and said “no one, except me had laces on their shoes!”

Being aware and paying attention is fun for us! Seriously you don’t want to mess with a team that’s been together for over 34 years!

FYI, my wife and me going to the bank!

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Around where I live you have these people that go around and do something they call follow home robbery and they wait for someone to come out of store or get into a nice car anything like that and they follow you home and rob you I never ever go strait home I always drive around for a little bit and keep an eye on what’s going on.

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At the library I asked a librarian if they had any books on paranoia.
“They’re right behind you,” She replied :laughing:


I was being followed by a private detective agency. Apparently, my future family did not trust me and had me followed. I caught on pretty quick and made a game of it. I did not marry the girl because the parents did not approve.
One trick is to never go the same route every day. Pay attention to the vehicles behind you and if you feel you are being followed turn and head back in the direction you are coming from then again turn around and head in the original direction, this will let them know that you are being followed.
If you are professionally being followed it will be by a team communicating with each other. This is a harder tail to catch because no one is always following with you, they are taking turns.
One way to spot a tail is to be in the right lane and change into the left lane to see if they change their lanes. If they change get to a turn lane and do the u turn, then continue till you are clear of them and turn around again but try to find a different way to go to where you were going. If they are behind you, go to turn around again. Do not try to speed away just drive normally. Another one I have done is go to a round about a see if they follow you. A couple times around and they will keep going and you can choose another direction.


I don’t think there is a wrong way to handle someone who seems suspicious. It’s when you make up an excuse for them so you don’t have to handle them is when you can find yourself in trouble.


I wonder it she ever thinks. What if? :thinking:

Good one, I will remember that one. Thanks. :+1:

A few days after I added the above post, the NRA Women site published the article
Situational Awareness: Nice Guys vs. “Nice Guys"

which included this passage:

Actual nice guys hate the thought of making you uncomfortable.
All men have a story about the time they were going somewhere on foot and realized (too late) that the woman walking in front of them had just sped up and crossed the street to get away from them. When real nice guys tell this story, you’ll hear genuine regret that they accidentally scared someone. When NGs [shorthand for the “Nice Guys” in the title] tell this story, you’ll hear aggrieved anger. How dare she skedaddle away from him—he’s a Nice Guy!


I hope you told her.

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She was told by them. She was given the ultimatum of marrying me and losing everything or not marrying me, she chose the latter and ended up calling it quits but. got married two months later.
It was meant to be!

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That settles it. You really lucked out. Cheers!

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Worked for the federal government for 38 years traveling globally. Many things are taught about this very topic and I lived in condition yellow/orange when overseas so much that I still, after being retired, check my six constantly, leave a car length of space in front of me at traffic stops, maintain visual and spatial awareness, and have been known to drive through my neighborhood when I suspect a car is following me without going home. And, I will go by the police station if I feel the need. Hell, I even check cars parked on the street close to my house for anyone sitting there. It can be tiring to live like this but being aware is a never ending situation. And yes, I live in a state where I can carry concealed or open carry legally!


Sounds like you do not like having to be aware, but, unfortunately, that is the world we live in. I commend your training that is likely far superior to what a civilian would get. You are in a better position than most of us using Situational Awareness. Try not to feel paranoid, it is just your awareness. You are obviously far more aware than most of us. I was at a gun show several years ago with a vet, he pointed out several people that I had not noticed. It made me realize even at gun shows I needed to be more aware.


Sorry it sounded like I didn’t like the awareness; quite the contrary, I am glad I received the training and having the ability to be able to be more aware of my surroundings. My point was that it can be exhausting to live in a yellow/orange condition 24/7. But yes, you are correct! It is far better to be that way in this world as it is today.

Thanks for responding.


Some people call that PTSD.