Familiarity Breeds Security
To identify a potential threat, remember that familiarity breeds security. Maybe it is someone you passed while walking your dog, a person in the car pool lane, the kid who bags your groceries, or the meter reader. Familiar faces breed a false sense of security and intimacy. The more times you cross paths with someone, the more you think you “know them,” which means you are more likely to drop your guard. This familiarity increases the chances you will operate in denial, ignore your gut, and assume that this person you “know” would operate in the world at the same moral level you would. All this may create dangerous situations by causing a delay in your ability to identify a threat and impede your willingness to draw the line: to take action to keep yourself safe.
It is easier to identify a threat if a total stranger approaches you in the same manner as someone with whom you are familiar. An emotional and mental response would be very different with a familiar face than with a stranger. Knowing your attacker gives that person leverage to manipulate you as they may know your soft spots or trigger points. They immediately gain an advantage over you and understand that you will be more at ease because you think you know them.
Remember, wolves/predators have a different comfort level with violence, manipulation, and deceit than sheep, and they will engage in violence while sheep are still trying to figure out what is going on.