In fight-or-flight situations, are you more likely to fight or to flight?

First off, there's no shame in being a flight person if that's indeed who you are. It's a very natural, very rational reaction.

With that said, I'll repeat the title question: In fight-or-flight situations, are you more likely to fight or to flight?

Take, for example, active shooter scenarios (which we're all too familiar with, sadly). I know it's incredibly difficult to know with certainty how you'd react, so just give your best guess. Do you think you'd be more likely to try and hide (flight), or would you charge and fight? Also, tell me this: do you think your choice of response is better/smarter than the other?

A personal anecdote: I recently had a little experience at the grocery store (this is where almost all interesting things happen to me LOL) where a mentally ill person walked into the store and immediately began shouting, threatening, and scaring customers. One woman thought that she saw a knife carried on the man's belt, and it freaked some people out (especially given recent events -- San Bernardino is like 45 minutes from here). Anyway, I didn't play the part of hero or something as the situation got dissolved by store employees, but my natural reaction was to start walking towards the guy when I realized people were scared of him. I just felt an adrenaline spike and before I knew it I was headed over to try and diffuse it if it turned ugly.

I know this is just one small, fairly innocent example, but my reaction kind of surprised me.

Anyway, enough about that. How would YOU react? And do you think your way of reacting is the better/smarter way?

  • Flight
    38% (16)50% (21)44% (37)Vote
  • Fight
    62% (26)50% (21)56% (47)Vote
And you are? I'm a GirlI'm a Guy

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Most Helpful Girl

  • Fight. I'm incredibly stubborn and want to see justice. I'm physical and fiesty too. I probably wouldn't win but I'd put up a good fight for sure.

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    • You'd bust out some martial arts, I can totally see it!

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    • Haha well thank you. I am pro gun obviously but I hope people realize all life is sacred to me. 😊

    • Thanks for mh my darling Dodgers! 💙

Most Helpful Guy

  • "fight" and I hate these kinds of questions in the USA. Cuz I'm sure that we can all agree that the "laws" are so fucking stupid at times, right? Because while you may save ___'s life in an ideal situation, you may fuck around and be put in prison for it LIKE WHAT FUCK... So sometimes I think that the best thing to do is to "mind your own goddamn business" and let things play out on their own.

    Naw if I'm going to be jumped, shot at or saw that somebody had a gun while I was unarmed I'm going to #flight.

    But if I'm armed + I saw some idiot with a knife or some dude like "Elliot Rodgers" riding around doing drive-by shooting I'd OFF em with no hesitation #ItWouldBeMyHonor

    24.media.tumblr.com/.../...r2gywB1r79hl9o5_500.gif

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    • lmao thats what I'm say. Ima be running like i'm trying to steal a base ain't trying to get that Tom Dubois prsion treatment from trying little timmy cause he don't know no better than to take "candy" from that van he's never seen in his hood before

What Girls Said 14

  • This is an interesting question! I really don't know though. I've never been in a situation where I really needed to decide.

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    • Yeah, I never really thought about it until San Bernardino. That really hit close to home for me.

      I think your answer is the most realistic. Like, I think we all have an idea (or even an ideal) of how we'd response, but until it happens it's mostly speculation.

      All that said, if you had to guess, which way do you think you'd roll?

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    • Moral of the story: don't screw around with women in plaid skirts! They ain't jokin' around.

      http://i.jeded.com/i/mrs-doubtfire.13302.jpg

    • OH MY GOD XD

  • I'm 6'2" with 4 brothers who beat me up on the regular growing up, I know how to street fight and disarm weapons... and I'm a horrible, horrible runner.
    So I guess we know which way this one goes.

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  • I'm more than likely going to try running as far away as possible. If I was by myself. If I was with my family or something then I can't say that I'd react the same way. I'd want them to be safe.

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    • You make a good point. I was actually there with my mother (Christmas dinner shopping) and she had a terrified look on her face. It definitely fed into my reaction.

    • Right. Instincts and adrenaline would be geared towards flighting if I was alone but I'd like to believe that it would be different if there were others with me. That said, I hope and pray that I never have to experience anything like that.

    • Yeah it was scary for a split second, especially because other shoppers had horrified looks on their faces. I think a lot of their reactions were influenced by recent events, too, so it's understandable.

      Anyway, I agree! I hope I never have to experience a real-deal situation.

  • Most times I will try to walk away. If given no choice I'll fight for my life & have had to on a few occasions.

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  • I used to fight
    now I flight more, although the level of the challenges has changed

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    • I am talking about stressful situations

      not exactly life threatening situations

  • I used to work as close protection officer (bodyguard), I know work as tactical medic, my instinct is to protect people and to neutralize the threat. If I feel my self or someone else threatened I'll just react.

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  • Good question. which one would you consider hiding in the closet? ;)

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  • It depends. If there's a guy opening fire and I have no gun, fighting would be incredibly stupid. If I were armed, not fighting would be stupid and would allow him to hurt more people. Regardless of what people try to tell me, I am planning on getting a gun when I'm 21.

    Basically, if I stand a chance, I'm going to fight. If an unarmed person is attacking someone I'll use anything at my disposal to fight. I'm pretty confident with my abilities to fight a girl, but a man, I would need help..

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  • Fight. Shoved a 6' dude over in laxer tag that rushed me today 😂 scaring me is not a good idea

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    • Those chicks that think they're badass because they hit a person not allowed to hit back.

    • @Rawrzz oh you're funny.

    • @Rawrzz why do you attack some random person on the internet? You don't know me. You know NOTHING if how I think if myself and you have no idea if the situation I was referring to.
      It was fucking laxer tag with my friends. You think i didn't get shoved right back? Damn. So quick to be a jerk

  • I like helping people, that's why' I work in a police department. I not always fight, sometimes I use diplomatic approaches.

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  • YAS! Girls rule!!! You see, girls will fight, guys will run away like cowards. :P

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  • I'm a deer in headlights. I never know what to do so I freeze.

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  • Flight. I know I'm too short, weak and untrained to win a fight against anyone. I think my way of reacting is smarter for myself, but the other is better for everyone.

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  • I quickly weigh up the situation but usually it's fight mode and i will defend to the end, feisty that's me.

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What Guys Said 24

  • I'm definitely a fighter, historically, but it depends on the situation. My initial gut reaction is "check this guy's chin." I always loved the old Mike Tyson quote: "Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." I feel like a lot of people THINK they have the heart for tough guy shit, but they turn bitchmade if you push back. That said, in a situation like yours, there's no sense in fighting crazy people. And I have no shame in saying I'm nobody's hero. Priority #1 is self-preservation, because I'm not counting on anyone else to prioritize me. I've gotten involved in things that weren't my business before, it felt right at the time, but afterwards I'm like "man, I could have gotten fucked up or worse over someone I don't even know and I'll probably never see again." And for what? I grew up in the city, and I think it's a pretty common city attitude to employ the "head down, no eye contact, keep walking" philosophy. Getting a 30-second spot on the news for dying "a hero" doesn't really do me any good, you know? But I often find myself conflicted about that. But if we're talking non-human situations, peace, I'm out. Some kind of explosion or something, I beat feet in the opposite direction and ask questions later, haha.

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  • Everyone around here is all fight and no flight same with me, running away does nothing to help people who are in danger in a situation, panic only causes more panic and in a dire situation like a hostage one even if you manage to escape someone else may be hurt or even killed because you were able to get away in order to send a message.

    But there are other choices besides charging headfirst into a fight like a crazy person or running away, fight smart, be smart, use your head, if you have an opportunity to take someone out who is being a danger not only to himself but to others, then do it, but if you can't then don't, but don't run away, because like I said someone else could pay the price and how would live with yourself knowing you caused someone to get hurt or killed?

    Now for situations like what you were talking about were someone was just freaking out and someone thought he had a knife, get a good look at him but from a distance and find out, then go in and take care of the problem, rally some people with you and go towards him in a numbered group, since he won't be much of an issue to restrain is you have say 2 other people with you.

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    • Sage advice, man. That's a good middle ground. :) And I tend to agree, I think I'd feel terrible if something bad happened and I didn't take a well-calculated opportunity to help.

    • Thank you, and exactly you just have to be smart about it.

  • I would say it's probably smart to find an exit. However, be tactically smart. If you can't escape, find weapons to defend yourself. In an active shooter incident, throwing something at the person will throw their aim off buying people time to either escape or to tackle the guy.

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    • Yeah, one of my ex-military buddies says that a good pair of running shoes are sometimes the best defense one can have. Makes sense.

  • im more likely to diffuse a hostile situation as much as possible without any physical confrontation, i rather let the law fuck their ass up than myself because my issue is I honestly don't know when to fucking stop.

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  • The amount of actual fight or flight situations I've been in is fairly small.
    That said, every time I've been in situations where the choice came up, I generally went for the confrontation.
    Most of my example scenarios involve rather petty incidents with bully type people. Nothing has escalated since middle school however.
    What's a better reaction?
    It obviously depends on the situation.
    Someone equal to you attempting to intimidate you?
    Standing up to them is likely the better option in the long run.
    Conan the Barbarian walking up to you?
    Time for that sympathetic nervous system to ready some flight maneuvers.
    In a situation like you described, honestly, even though it may put you in a precarious situation, if more people reacted in that way, some things may have ended in entirely different ways.
    We see what happens all the time when people jump into fight mode in these situations.
    The off duty soldiers on the train in France, the man who covered the two women at San Bernadino, and countless more.
    To protect yourself, avoiding conflict is obviously the way to go, but in overall effect, the fight is often necessary.
    If the staff hadn't been there, and the guy had lost it, what would've happened in that store without you there?

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    • And I accidentally voted flight, because I can't read at all.

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    • I honestly consider these a lot.
      Most things I plan are who I would throw myself in front of the be honest.
      That's probably the best I'd be able to do, although I have decided that I'm completely fine with the idea of dying if I need to do so to slow down a shooter or crazy guy with a hatchet.
      I'd probably end up dying without even hindering them, but hey, do what you can.

    • Another reason I'd like a concealed carry in the next few years. I'm not sure if Alaska laws are 18 or 21, but either way I've got a while to wait.

  • When it comes to fight/flight scenarios most times I'll fight after all other options are exhausted.

    First time someone threatened my life I was 14 years old and my gut reaction was to get in his face push him back against a brick wall and yell at him for even considering threatening me. Didn't even know the guy. That was odd for me, because I don't get angry easily, but when he threatened me my anger went from 0 to 60 in no time.

    But there's been times the smart move was not to fight so I went that way. Getting held up at gun point when there is a counter between you and the gunman... smart move is to do what he says because you're not getting to him before he shoots. Plus, a gun in your face gets you to focus really quick. You'll think of several options and opportunities if you don't panic.

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  • I'm a runner man.. I have long legs and I can move pretty quickly. I'm getting the hell out of dodge every damn time. I'm not risking my life in order to seem heroic. Life is too fragile and too short lol

    If I was forced into something like if it involved a loved one that's a different story.

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    • Hey, that's totally respectable. Besides, heroism has many faces. :)

    • Yeah I'll run to notify the authorities lol

    • Exactly! Or you could pull a Forest Gump, running in and out of the jungle saving people! See, many faces! :)

  • I got speed so i'm most likely gonna take advantage of it and burn off lol but it depends on the situation. Almost all of my fight or flight moments have been from being chased by dogs (pitbulls O. o ) so once I hear the barking I immediately look for the nearest car to jump on. I'd try and fight if others are in danger like the scenario you posted but if i'm on my own, you'll never see another person take off as fast as I would xD

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    • Never run from a dog. Attack those hoes and watch em bitch up LOL. I love beating the shit out of alley mutts when they even dare "rush me" lol

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    • LMAO kick dat bitch in the throat 1 time 4 da hood and that'll make it run. But be warned if it's an attack dog yeah you finna get fucked up.

    • @Mistnigqa808
      So make em see Michael Vick when I arch that leg back? Gotcha

  • I'm not sure. I haven't been in a whole lot of dangerous situations.

    I tend to flee when it is things like bugs. But if it is a person, I feel like I would get more pissed and fight. Likely to my own detriment.

    Everyone things they would be a good fighter "should the situation come about", but people generally suck at it. The attacker almost always has the upper hand mentally. Like, there's videos of simulated school shootings, and even the biggest gun enthusiasts were godaweful and did much more harm than good. (The bullets were paintballs, but the members weren't told this.)

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  • I'm up for confrontation usually, I know because I was once tried to get mugged by two guys and I went on them. That until a group of guys came running towards us and the robbers went away.

    Maybe it was reckless but that's the way I reacted. I wonder, for example, if it were more than two guys, maybe a group of 5 or something if I would have run. I think reason still plays major role in these types of scenarios.

    I'd say fight for me. But I have yet to come across a flight position, not too curious in experiencing that either lol

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    • Haha, true! Neither scenario is appealing, really. But I'm glad you emerged victorious and -- more importantly -- unharmed.

    • Likewise man, glad you turned out fine. But yeah it's better to not know these things on a greater scale, though I guess it's cool to have an idea already.

  • I react by going into the situation. A good example of this is when my son's friend came over in the middle of the night a few months ago, the dogs were making intruder noises, and I grabbed a saber off of the wall of the bedroom and wen't out to... scare her to death, me with a sword in one hand and wearing nothing but a pair of boxers.

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  • My immediate, instinctive reaction is fight since I can have a temper, but usually I'll take the path of flight simply because I know better than to resort to violence. The problem is that I know a small scuffle can easily escalate into a matter of manslaughter or even murder, and I am much too deterred by the thought of serving a life sentence for a pointless fight that meant nothing. I would rather be regarded as a coward than be in prison.

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  • That's the most American thing I've ever read.

    You were waiting for things to get ugly WHILE he was shooting lol, like that isn't ugly enough

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  • In an active shooter situation? Lol

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  • I vote flight but it's situation dependent. It'd really depend on what I thought my odds were. I'm not gonna charge across a room to try to tackle someone twice my size with a submachine gun. I'm not a strong guy in general but I'm not a coward either. If I think I can effectively change the outcome of a volatile situation I'll do what I can.

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  • As soon as I'm 21, I'm going to start carrying a gun. It'll even the odds against an active shooter. However, in your situation, I would have responded exactly like you did. I wouldn't ever, ever pull out a gun unless someone was in real and immediate danger.

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  • Not to be a smart ass, but technically its called fright-flight or fight response. This is the case cause not always does someone run away or fight sometimes your so cared you just pause and don't move so in this case this would be a fright response.

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  • In a situation where my enemy is equal or weaker than me, I will probably take them on. But if it's a hostage situation, that's a freeze situation.

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  • So weird, more % of guys flight (including me) than fight, while with girls it's turned around.
    I would have expected the reverse, for guys to be more violent than girls..

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  • If I were armed I hope to god I'd fight, but if I were unarmed I would probably book out of there.

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  • Where's the curl up in a ball and get stabbed option?

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  • Being a former Marine, it would be fight. It's an instant and gut reaction. Heard someone coming into my house late one night, not expecting anyone. I damn near flattened her into my rug... It was my friend. The reaction I had took me off guard.

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  • I'm more likely to flight because I've gone through a lot of violence. But I'm also more likely to seriously wound my combatant and enjoy it. I'd probably play with my opponent and literally scare him half to death. I'm very easy on killing people but I would worry about their families and the law... I think I'm as cold as The Iceman, just not as gruesome... If people knew how cold I was - It would scare them.

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    • And I got a conscience - a clearer and deeper one - than the average fellow.

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