How do I: Make my way through a crowd?


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The Independent Online

The seasoned commuter is most likely a pro at it and with 57,000 people weaving through London's most crowded concourse at Waterloo station every rush hour, that's hardly a surprise. But navigating your way through throngs of people doesn't have to leave you sweating and wanting to punch the dawdling pedestrian in front of you.

There's no need to get stuck behind a slow walker – but there are now hundreds of Facebook groups (often with violent solutions) dedicated to this urban problem. Simply put your eyes on the problem and take a second to allow your brain to process the patterns in the movements and speeds of people in front of you.

Remember the tactics that you'll need to walk through a fast-moving railway station won't be the same as those for a packed concert or busy market.

For moving crowds, walk deliberately and with intent. Where possible, make a conscious decision to look directly up at the point you are trying to reach. This way members of the crowd can see where you're going and move accordingly.

If the crowd is very heavy look down at the floor several metres ahead to carefully place your feet and hold your arm in front of your chest as a "human indicator" of your end destination.

For fixed crowds you need to be more patient; people who can feel a constant (but not aggressive) pressure will often step aside, while a gentle tap on the shoulder will often create the space you need. Be prepared to weave through groups. Stand straight, square your shoulders and set your elbows at a defensive angle.

In both situations you should evade rather than invade by changing direction to slip behind people rather than cutting in front of them.