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How to outsmart street hustlers

In the past, I used to be annoyed as hell by street hustlers.

I used to think "how they fuck they dare thinking I'm their potential victim".

But with time, I learned to deal with them in more astute, powerful ways.
Here is a miniguide on outsmarting street hustlers.

How Street-Hustler Approach Their Targets

Nice times out of ten, street hustlers approach their targets with a friendly facade.
Here are their techniques:

  • Making small favors which you often don't need

For example, the might motion to a car to stop to "help" you cross the street, or they might come to help you with directions while you're checking google maps and the last thing you need is a street hustler with a broken English.

What they're trying to do is to leverage the "reciprocity rule", such as: if they helped you, now you need to listen to them, and maybe do a favor back.

  • Start talking to you with "easy to answer questions"

Such as the ubiquitous "where are you from man".

  • Guess something, so that you will correct them and invest more in the interaction

For example:

Street hustler: You're Italian right? Or French...

The moment you correct them, you're already engaging them and they'll keep going with some other stupid questions, such as "from where".

  • Compliments

Everyone's a sucker for compliments, which makes them a common stratagem of all types of manipulators.
They might say:

Street hustler: "nice shirt man"

If you engage them, then they will keep on going. "Where are you from", "where did you get it".
Instead, you will reply "thanks man, great taste", and keep on walking.

  • Ask you for a small favor

Often they ask for the time, for direction, or maybe if you know any open restaurant.

This is a technique that muggers also use.
The moment you stop they start with their fuckery.

How to Outsmart Street Hustlers

Your goal is to engage with very low investment.

I call it "engaging without engaging".
You want to reply quickly while also communicating "that's it, not interested in talking to you".

This technique leverages the "ignoring the frame" technique discussed in frame control.

For example:

Street hustler: hey man, nice shirt
You: (look in his general direction, slight smile, neutral tonality) thanks man (turn your face away right away)


Street hustler: Where you from man?
You: (look towards him, brief eye contact, slight smile, head nod) Hey man, what's up

If you want to reply, you can also reply and have some fun with it.

The trick is to reply in a way in a way that thwarts any attempt to build rapport and get real investment from you.

For example, when they ask where you're from, be purposefully generic, or say the local area where you're staying.
That will lead them to invest more, and you can then let the conversation die out "naturally".
For example:

Street hustler: Where you from man?
You: (look towards him, brief eye contact, slight smile, head nod) Hey man. Europe
Street hustler: Where from Europe?
You: (keep on walking, drop eye contact now) All over, I don't have a place
Street hustler: Where you staying?
You: (keep on walking) Everywhere man, I'm a global citizen and now I'm doing some stuff. Cheers man

This behavior communicates street smarts, and social intelligence, which makes for poor targets.
And if you're with someone, you also look smart and powerful.

If it's night: always keep an eye on the stranger

If it's night and they ask you for some favors, never stop.

Contrary to daytime and streets with lots of people, you also want to keep an eye on them.
Do not keep walking by giving them your back.
Always move away at an angle, so that you can look at them with the tail of your eye.

Street hustler: Hey man what time is it?
You: (keep on walking, with strong, loud voice) Hey man, I don't know, cheers, good night

You talk a bit more here for a simple reason: muggers love victims who are drunk and high.
So you want to show the opposite, that you're in full control of yourself.
But providing a coherent answer, you are also communicating "I've got all my wits here".

The "what time is it" is particularly dangerous because you might look down at your watch. In potentially dangerous situations, never take your eyes away from the stranger.

Show Power In Daily Conversations

98% of people who will ask you random questions are well intentioned.

And yes, me too I'd rather always tell the truth.
It's so much better telling the truth.
And that's why I build my life around being as honest as possible, as often as possible.

But here is the clincher:

A lie to a friend, matters.
A lie to a radon person, which doesn't even damage him, means nothing.

And telling some white lies to some people you'll never see again better protects you against that 2% who are actually assessing your exploitability.

Taxi drivers, shoppers, bartenders... Even if they seem friendly and innocuous, they have the potential of plotting against you.
So don't give out to strangers any information which reveals weakness and exploitability.

Some typical questions and topic that reveal weakness or strength:

Q. How long are you here?
A. Not yet sure, depends, maybe a few months

For evolutionary reasons, people always prefer to cheat strangers and passerby.
Furthermore, short periods suggest that you know nothing about the local cultures and costumes, which makes you a better potential victim.

Instead, always say you've been here or some more months.

Q. Is it your first time here?
No, I come here often

First timers are the rookies everyone wants to fuck with.
Instead, say you come here often because you got business / work / friends / family.

Q. Do you speak the local language?
A. Always say "yes, a little bit"

I know what you're thinking: but what if I don't speak the local language at all?
Of course you don't, but who cares.
If they talk to you in the local language, just say "good accent man, but I prefer speaking English now".

Q. What are you doing here?
A. Work and visiting family / friends

Tourists are everyone's favorite targets.
They know nothing and know nobody, which makes them isolated, easy targets.

Always say you're visiting family or friends who have been living here for a very long time.
And that you're here for work.

Q. Where are you staying?
A. I'm staying with friends / in that luxury part of town

Same as above.
You never want to say you're staying alone, and in some crummy hostels.
Say some luxury areas, which suggests powerful friends, connections, and power to retaliate.

Q. What job do you do?
A. I work with the embassy

You want to mention jobs that convey power and connections.

International law firms with a local branch, financial advisers to the government, international agency discussing government loans, etc.

But political connections are the best, especially in poorer areas.
Political connections immediately make you more powerful than the local people.

Just make sure your political connections are close to the government (ie.: if you're in Iran these days, don't say it's through the American embassy :).

How About Women You Bring Home?

The vast majority of times, "girls just wanna have fun".

But you might also meet some bitches who might want to take advantage of tourists.
Or maybe both have fun and take advantage of tourists.
As they say where I come from "it's the opportunity who turns men into thieves". So don't give that opportunity.

When I feel like I can't trust a woman, I might use some of the above answers.
Girls often ask if you're alone, or travel alone.
And sometimes I say my friends are just in the room next to ours, but I prefer having my own.

If you bring home two girls, you might also start thinking about the physical element of being overpowered, which is where the "imaginary friends the next door" can come in handy.

I prefer not to lie with women though because I love honest connections and romance, and you can't have that with lies.

So, 95% of the time, I'm honest.
But before fully opening up, I want to be sure about her.

Killer7, Social_Strategist#1 and 4 other users have reacted to this post.
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?
Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on January 8, 2020, 4:48 pm

How Street-Hustler Approach Their Targets

Nice times out of ten, street hustlers approach their targets with a friendly facade.

Here are their techniques:

  • Making small favors which you often don't need
  • Start talking to you with "easy to answer questions"
  • Guess something, so that you will correct them and invest more in the interaction
  • Compliments
  • Ask you for a small favor

If this strategy didn't work to some extent, there wouldn't be any street hustlers. Does that mean that this strategy classifies as good social skills? Would you say that this is unethical or manipulative?



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