The Bystander Effect: A Guide to Effective Ignoring

At some point you will be somewhere at the wrong time and you will witness someone in need of aid, if you don’t, especially with as vague as I’ve made this scenario, you need to 1. get out more and 2. look around more. 

When this happens you need to be like everyone else, don’t be a hero. Be a bystander. Be a looky-loo. Maybe you don’t watch racing (of the cars) so you aren’t well versed in watching the wreckage, let me be your guide.

Look confused

By looking around and fumbling with your phone and touching all of your pockets no one will see that you are not acting. This person in distress, maybe run over by a rouge dumpster, will think you are just not good under pressure. It buys you time, you get a front row seat to the entire drama.

Stand at a good distance 

You need to keep a respectable distance, if you are too close to the action the hero, and one will eventually appear, will enlist you to help stabilize the leg with an ax in it. If you stand too far away you won’t be able to get good cell phone pics of the splintered bone and gushing blood. Find a middle ground, it will depend in the situation, but find it and enjoy it. 

Make your presence know 

If the act of you not acting isn’t getting noticed, make a move. If a stray dog is attaching your neighbor make sure they see you watching. Open the blinds, press your face against the window. Don’t move to aid them, just make sure they know that you see what’s happening.

Post your experience

The pictures, the video, it could make you famous. This person having fallen on the ice and bleeding from the head, they could be your 15 minutes. And don’t worry if you don’t get images you can always update Nextdoor so that your neighbors know exactly what went down and how close to it you were. 


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