Service of Ignoring Pressure When Your Gut Says “No”

August 10th, 2020

Categories: Gut, Instinct, Medical Tests, Pandemic

I’m always sorry when I haven’t listened to my gut and I’m angriest at myself when I’ve given in to pressure. I first wrote about the subject in 2017. These days it could be life or death if you ignore your instinct.

This excerpt of a comment on Facebook from someone waiting in line for a Covid test reminded me. The writer ached, had low fever, cough and sore throat adding: “Could be a cold/flu but for fact that a stupid inconsiderate friend hung out w me Sunday —no mask—after testing positive on Friday…he got the results after contaminating my home. Shouldn’t have let him in.”

One friend did follow her instinct. She refused to leave the car when she saw that none of the guests at an outdoor celebration wore a mask. Another was embarrassed to wear a mask at a gathering of 10 because nobody else wore one.

It’s not easy being green, or an outlier, though if September 11 and the pandemic have taught us one thing it is to avoid or extricate from situations when our antennae flash “danger.” Would I have exited the World Trade Center, I asked myself, even though people were told to stay in place? Since 2001 there’s no question that I’d head for the stairway–and I did several times when my office was in a building with a sketchy fire alarm system and no loudspeaker to warn or explain why it went off. I always left the building.

Is your gut reliable? Do you listen to it? What’s happened when you’ve ignored it? Have you missed opportunities when it directed you to be too cautious?

Tags: ,

10 Responses to “Service of Ignoring Pressure When Your Gut Says “No””

  1. anonymous Said:

    “Relying on one’s gut” usually involves taking a gamble (as distinguished from using a “rational” approach). How does one measure its reliability except by using law of averages?

  2. Hank Goldman Said:

    Good topic for these viral days.

    Bottom line…. Always wear your mask and avoid crowds. Don’t go to Sturgis S. D. And stay safe. You won’t be sorry.

  3. Jeanne Byington Said:


    My experiences are anecdotal and the ones I remember so vividly are the ones where I kept saying NO and then relented only to be very sorry. I can think of a recent example of where my NO meant and stayed no but the many others haven’t made anywhere near the impression on my memory as my mistakes have.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Those attending Sturgis SD must be seeing and reading news reports that are different from what we see and hear.

    Just this weekend “Trump cheered by golf club guests as he says they don’t have to wear masks,” according to

    I don’t know what to say. Do people think that they are immune because they are wealthy?

  5. Hank Goldman Said:

    Maybe until the virus hits closer to home, your comment is correct.

    The wealthy don’t see it yet. And the bikers say they haven’t seen any cases or deaths yet. But they will… Unfortunately… They will! That’s why it’s so horrible, they will spread it back where they live and others will get it too.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Not all sports figures are wealthy but some are and a chunk have already tested positive for Covid-19. Celebrities like Tom Hanks and his wife caught it as did Chris Cuomo. It’s an equal opportunity disease. A dear friend of one of my friends and her friend’s husband died within a week of one another a few months ago. I can hear my mother say, “Have you counted their money? How do you know whether they were wealthy?” [She’d ask the same question if I declared that so-and-so didn’t have two nickles to rub together.] I can only guess: They lived in one of Manhattan’s toniest addresses and owned two apartments in it.

    As for the bikers I would ask them “who catches any covid virus in a day or two? If exposed to a garden variety cold at the office or in a school you don’t get sick that day.” It’s far too soon for us to see the repercussions from the bikers, as you wrote. And like pollen in a spring wind they will spread it wherever they go on the way home and to their homes. Scary.

  7. Lucrezia Said:

    It should not be hard being green when ones life depends upon it. I’ve only attended one celebration since March, without mask, since there’s no way one can eat or drink with one on. I expect to be attending another event, where masks are mandatory in the next couple of days. Caution and common sense are key. We are fortunate to be living in a state which is run with an eye to rid us of the virus. Hopefully we will not all be killed by the irresponsible leaders in Florida, Georgia and Alabama, to mention a few. While I don’t think much of putting those guilty of non-violent crimes in jail, I would enjoy seeing these governors in chains.

  8. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Back in March when this all started I was reluctant to ask people behind me in the grocery line to step back but a few weeks in it became easy as pie.

    As I have written here before I do not stop in the street to ask someone who is too close to me to please put on a mask. I do not want a confrontation and I don’t want to hang out around them for long.

    At any gathering however I would wear my mask until it was time to eat when obviously I would have to take it off. I assume that you will be cautious when you go to the gathering you mentioned in your comment should there be people without masks—-plenty of examples of this requirement and citizens who refuse to follow it – – or too many people. I trust you will leave.

  9. MarthaTakayama Said:

    I find it too painful to go over my regrets for not having followed my gut instinct.
    It seems that even though it may at times be awkward it is best to do so.

    With regard to being green in the midst of this pandemic it seems important to control my instinct to correct or lecture strangers who are not observing appropriate social distancing or other rules. The atmosphere of tension that pervades our culture largely fomented by our ridiculously ignorant and anti-science non-leadership has made this kind of exchange potentially dangerous or explosive.

    For the rest, I am extremely cynical about justifications for creating costly, hazardous potentially lethal traffic situations for bike riders as either a “green” or economical solution for the planet.

  10. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I, too, must not think of these instances.

    I find it easy to ask people to keep their distance from me in lines though I haven’t needed to for the longest time. As I wrote above and before, I won’t stop to ask people to put on a mask when I need to walk by them on a narrow sidewalk.

    The whole bicycle debacle in Manhattan is legendary. They take over sidewalks, travel in the wrong direction and all sorts of motorized vehicles zoom by in either direction on the dedicated lanes. NYers must train themselves to look in either direction on one way streets and avenues.

Leave a Reply