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You Should Lie to Survive These 4 Unsafe Situations, Criminologist Says

These questions are major red flags. Here's how to respond.

From an early age, we're taught not to lie. However, there's one major caveat to keep in mind, says Dannah Eve, a criminologist and content creator who bills herself as "The Street Smart Blonde" on social media. She says that if your physical safety is at stake, you don't owe anyone the truth. In fact, a strategically deployed lie may be just what you need to survive a dangerous situation.

"If you have a gut feeling that something is off, you're probably right," the criminologist says in one TikTok post. She notes that if the other person doesn't go away and you're caught in the lie, this only confirms that you did the right thing by protecting yourself. "At this point, you would stay where it's very well populated, and ask for help," she says. "Remember that you lie to de-escalate the situation or prevent it from escalating altogether. Your goal is to return home safely every single night."

Wondering when it's OK to lie for your safety? These are the four times a lie could literally save your life—and exactly what to say.

RELATED: Retired FBI Agent Shares 4 Ways You're Putting Yourself at Risk Every Day.

If someone asks, "Do you live here?"

Two young women and a young man talking in an elevator
More Than Production / Shutterstock

Any time a stranger asks a probing personal question, this should raise an eyebrow. However, Eve says it should be considered an outright red flag if a stranger asks, "Do you live here?"

Eve gives an example scenario in another TikTok post: "You're in the elevator in the building that you live in and somebody that you don't recognize asks if you live there. Respond, 'nope, just visiting some friends I went to college with. No, just here dropping off a few things for my brother,'" the criminologist suggests.

She adds it's not normal for Lyft, Uber, or taxi drivers to ask you this question.

If someone makes you uncomfortable at a bar.

Man approaching woman at a bar

If someone approaches you in a bar and you get a bad feeling about it, Eve says it's important to trust your instincts.

"Let's say you're sitting and having a drink alone at the bar. Somebody that you get a bad vibe from sits down next to you and says, 'What's a girl like you doing here alone?' Reply with, 'I'm just waiting for my boyfriend,' or 'Waiting for some of my friends—they should be arriving any minute,' or 'I'm just waiting on my husband—he's outside parking.'"

In a separate TikTok video, she adds that it's important to always guard your drink carefully in bars, especially if you're alone. If you've made the mistake of leaving your drink unattended even for a moment, it's always best to get a new one, she says.

RELATED: The Hidden Dangers of Using 23andMe, Former FBI Agent Warns.

If someone asks if you're new around here.

Woman looking uncomfortable around older man

When you're in unfamiliar surroundings, you're an easier target. That's why it's best to always keep this information close to the vest.

"Now let's say you move to a new city and someone asks if you're new here. Respond with, 'No I'm here just visiting friends, but I actually used to live right down the street,'" she suggests. This implies that you know your current location well, but doesn't give away that you actually live locally.

If the person asks whether you're traveling alone, this calls for another lie. "Nope, traveling with my brother, traveling with my dad, traveling with my husband. The moral of the story is you are never alone, and a male figure is always meeting you."

If someone asks whether anybody knows you're here.

Man looking skeptically at woman

There's one question that Eve says should always be interpreted as a threat: if someone asks whether "anybody knows you're here."

"Your answer 100 percent of the time is yes. You're never alone, you're always expecting someone—preferably a male figure—and somebody always knows where you are, even if that's not the case," the criminologist says.

She adds that you should never leave anywhere alone if you're feeling uncomfortable. "There is no shame in asking somebody to walk you to your car, or calling a guy friend or an actual family member to come meet you because you don't feel safe," Eve notes.

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Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more
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