If You’re Ever Taken Hostage, Here Are The Things You Should And Shouldn’t Do

Flickr / Aaron Van Dike
Flickr / Aaron Van Dike

Producer’s note: Someone on Quora asked: What are some do’s and don’ts if one was to get kidnapped or held hostage? Here is one of the best answers that’s been pulled from the thread.



  • everything the hostage taker(s) tells you to do.
  • make mental notes of everything you possibly can. Descriptions of the hostage takers, what they said to each other (if more than one), what you smelled and heard, they types of weapons they have (does not have to be technical).
  • keep in mind THEY ARE THE BAD GUYS. The good guys are the ones outside trying to get you out to safety. The longer you are held hostage, the harder this will be for you to keep straight. This is normal, and is called “The Stockholm Syndrome”.
  • be patient. As long as nobody is being killed or assaulted, the longer it goes on, the greater your chances of getting out alive.
    speak if spoken to.
  • in the event of a tactical assault by law enforcement, STAY DOWN unless you are told by the police to do otherwise.
  • keep in mind the hostage taker(s) will try to use you to escape. They may change clothes with you, or use you as a decoy. If you are sent outside, do exactly what the police tell you to do.
  • expect to be handcuffed by the police upon your rescue until they can sort out who the real bad guys are (or were).
  • expect to be interviewed by the police.


  • threaten, belittle, or challenge the hostage taker. He is already an inadequate personality, and he only needs a rumor of you to use as a bargaining chip.
  • join him.
  • try to be a hero – unless you have absolutely no choice. If people start getting executed, things will happen very fast both inside and outside your environment. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

This answer originally appeared at Quora: The best answer to any question. Ask a question, get a great answer. Learn from experts and get insider knowledge.

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