It's been a concept for a very long time: women's intuition. Call it a sixth sense, gut instinct, a simple "knowing" that women seem to possess more often than men. But is it really real?
Psychology Today suggests that "...women are, as a group, better at reading facial expressions of emotions than are men. As a result, women are more likely to pick up on the subtle emotional messages being sent by others." That's their definition of the phenomenon; a science-based explanation of why women can sense things better than men.
According to Urban Dictionary, however, the definition of "women's intuition" is this: Something that every woman has where you just know. Whether it's that your lover is cheating on you or you get uneasy vibes from a co-worker, it's that gut feeling telling you that something is wrong. It may come in the form of a dream, deja vu, a funny feeling, all three, or something else. Never doubt this feeling. Ever.
I particularly like that last part... I think regardless of what is behind the feeling/sensation/suspicion, you should always know that it means something. Now, I'm not saying that you should go out and accuse your boyfriend or husband of cheating (unless you have hard evidence, of course; then accuse away). But don't squash that funny feeling. Intuition can come in particularly handy if you're feeling threatened or in an unsafe environment. You know how they say women can sense danger simply by the hairs on your neck? That's nothing to shake off. Listen to what your body, mind and senses are all telling you! It could just save your life...
I've been in a few situations where being more alert and reading non-verbal cues (as Psychology Today points out) has helped me work through situations.
One particularly scary one? About a year ago, I was running on a trail that goes around two golf courses and has a park nearby as well. It was the middle of the morning on a Saturday, so there were lots of people running, walking, riding bikes, etc. As I winded through one part of the trail, a man started running alongside me. It took me about half a second to realize something was not right. One, he was wearing khaki pants, no shirt and shoes that were definitely not made for running. He also had a bandage on the inside of his arm – you know, how like if you have to give blood? I took all of this in within one glance at him. And I was immediately on high alert.
OK, scratch that, I was freaking out.
It didn't matter that we were in broad daylight, or that there were tons of people around me. This man was not right. I slowed down, hoping that he would keep running ahead of me. But no, he also slowed down. I sped up, with the hope that I would lose him. He sped up. I started thinking of my options... stop and ask a fellow runner/walker/biker for help? Turn around and start running the other way? Confront him? I actually did confront him at one point, asking him to not run so close to me. He did not comply. I was about ready to ask for help when he must have run out of gas (or whatever was fueling his desire to run by me), and he fell behind. I tell you this, though; I kept looking over my shoulder the entire way home. And I did not rest easy until I was in my apartment, with the door locked.
Here's the thing. I've lived in Los Angeles for over seven years now, and I can count on one hand the amount of times I've felt unsafe or even a little uncomfortable. I live in a safe neighborhood, and as a woman (with intuition), I try to never put myself in situations where I'm subjected to danger. Who knew that running in an extremely populated public place at 10:00 a.m. would end up being the place where I've felt most threatened?
It goes to show that you never know... had I not listened to my gut in this particular situation, I may have gotten myself in a sticky spot. Women's intuition – is it real? Heck yeah, people. So listen to it, very closely.