The Grey Man Concept: Going Unnoticed

The Grey Man Concept: Going Unnoticed

When in public places, such as transitional spaces, it’s best to go unnoticed. The less attention you draw the better. A “grey man” is a person who goes unnoticed by blending in with the environment and not stimulating others. Learning how to “go grey” will help keep you out of criminals’ cross hairs. Here are four things you need to know to stay under the radar.

Understand the Baseline

You must always understand what is “normal” for the environment you are in. Your tastes, behaviors, fashion and personal preferences should take a backseat to what is the status quo in your environment. Understanding the baseline, or norm, of you surroundings will help you blend in and not draw attention. When traveling, you must research the baseline of where you will be visiting. This is especially true when visiting foreign countries where where the language, dress, demeanor and fashion will vary.

Know How to Blend

The idea of being a “grey man” is simple. You want to go about your business without being noticed. The less attention you can draw to yourself the better. Let’s take the example of eating dinner at a restaurant. The idea is to have dinner and leave without making a lasting impression on anyone. After you leave no one should be able to recall  much about your presence. Here’s some things to keep in mind in this example:

  • Dress appropriately for the venue. If it’s a casual sports bar do not show up in black tie formal wear.
  • Do not consume excessive amounts of alcohol.
  • Keep your tone down. Avoid being loud and boisterous.
  • Be seated at a table that isn’t in a high traffic area.
  • If there’s a problem with the food or service ignore it. State your dissatisfaction by not returning.
  • Don’t engage other patrons. Be polite, but brief in your interactions.

Do Not Create Stimulus

Think of stimulus as an interesting or exciting quality. You do not want to interest or excite anyone when it comes to self-defense. Avoid stimulating others. To do this, think about how we are stimulated through our senses. The four senses through we are likely to stimulate others include:

  1. Sight: Understand the baseline of the appearance of those in your environment. Look at your dress, hairstyle, makeup, accessories and demeanor. Don’t get locked in on your physical appearance only. Is your vehicle gong to standout in the areas you will be driving? Will you have a pet that draws a lot of attention?
  2. Sound: Do not create a lot of noise. If you talk or laugh loudly try to tone it down. Do you have a vehicle that that makes a lot of noise and draws attention?
  3. Touch: Do not invade others’ personal space. Avoid crowded areas where you will bump into others. If you’re carrying a backpack or bags make sure you don’t inadvertently hit others with them.
  4. Smell: Do not emit strong odors due to perfume or anything else. Be especially cognizant if you’re going to be traveling in confined quarters such as an airplane or train.

Learn to Observe

An excellent way to hone your grey man skills is by observing others. Determine what makes people stand out in your mind. Why are you able to recall the presence of some but not others? Over time you will learn what makes people noticeable and how to minimize your presence.


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