As we move right along here; it is advised by Mr. McGraw that you trust yourself first! Giving people the benefit of the doubt blindly is just not something that really makes sense in this day and age. Dr. Phil suggests instead that we keep an open mind when we meet new people and simply gather data that confirms for us one way or another that the person can be fully trusted, trusted with only some things or, “Not trusted at all!”
Phil says that he doesn’t want us to be paranoid. But he doesn’t see it as reasonable to just blindly trust people until they give us a solid reason not to.
Also, Dr. Phil McGraw advises that if we don’t feel right about someone we stop and ask ourselves what it is about that person that bothers us. This is a redundant theme throughout the original Dr. Phil book, “Life Code,” but is important to remember. Sometimes the things that bother us about a person which we can’t articulate are the things we most need to take action on in the form of preventative measures; at least until we have more concrete information.
References from other people, background checks and observations of a person’s conduct can all be considered relevant forms of data collection. It is all useful in helping us to determine whether or not we are dealing with a Baiter. However, be warned, when it comes to references on people you are dealing with, “Make sure the reference given is valid!” Sometimes people who put their good name behind others are completely in the dark about who they are endorsing.
If someone says that so and so is an expert in XY and Z, don’t be afraid to ask what they are basing that upon. If they say that their business associate is highly successful, ask them how they know. Sometimes people endorse other people without even knowing the principal street address of the business or person they are vouching for; let alone whether or not the business is actually being run in a legitimate fashion. So be very careful.
It is advised here, too, that when we are out in public we get in the habit of raising our Social Sensitivity Awareness to cover more than just the person of our immediate focus. The more aware we are of what goes on around us when in a restaurant, at a bar, shopping in a mall, or places along those lines, the better off we are.
What is, “Social Sensitivity Awareness,” you ask? Mr. McGraw tells us here that Social Sensitivity Awareness usually encompasses the interactions we are having with other people. Those we are focused on and expect to be focused on us. It is the usual monitoring that we perform of how others are reacting to what we are saying and doing.
What Phil is saying is that we need to expand that awareness to include other people in a location with us who are not in our group. Is the couple at the next table over from us in a restaurant arguing? Is the group of guys over at the next table getting drunker by the minute? Is a complete stranger overly complementary to you or your significant other? Are you getting the picture yet?
Now, to be clear, “The name of the game here is to become aware of as much of your surroundings as possible.” By no means does Dr. Phil suggest that you have to do anything about what you observe, or that you have to get involved in things that don’t pertain to you, in any way. All he is saying is that you should be aware of what’s happening around you. This way, if you do find yourself suddenly involved in a potentially volatile situation, you are not caught off guard and more effectively able to handle things.
Another term for Social Sensitivity Awareness is, “Situational Awareness.” Regardless of which term you use the idea is still the same. Pay attention to your surroundings and keep track of what’s going on.
For example; I know that when I go to a bar with friends on a Saturday night to see a band play I’m there with them to have a good time. However, when I enter the bar I’m listening and watching to see what kinds of behavior people are exhibiting. Not because I’m paranoid or nosey but because I would like to make sure that my friends and I can avoid getting caught in the crossfire of whatever type of situation might arise out of someone’s purely drunken stupidity, if at all possible. When I notice that the people around my friends and I are beginning to show signs of intoxication it’s generally a cue for us to put our heads together to discuss whether or not we should stay or go.
During this time I’m paying attention to my friends, “Definitely!” Otherwise we wouldn’t be hanging together in the first place. I’m just making the effort to keep tabs on what’s going on around us so that our time together is, and continues to stay, “Pleasant.” If a problem comes up, we’re not caught off guard, have more than likely worked out a strategy for effectively dealing with it and are better off for it; all simply because attention was paid to the environment beyond our little group from the start.
I don’t know about you but Dr. Phil’s remarks about having Situational Awareness, or exorcising a higher than usual level of Social Sensitivity Awareness, make perfect sense to me. Which would you choose? Having something go down unexpectedly? Or, would you rather be aware of what is happening as the situation unfolds? I know what I would choose because, “I really hate being blindsided!”