Most self-defense situations start with words. If the words become aggressive, start preparing yourself by assuming a ready stance, not an obvious stance but a small inconspicuous back stance at a 45-degree angle to the aggressor. Keep your hands inconspicuously between you and the aggressor: lightly fold them or assume a Jack Benny position with one arm folded across the midsection with the other elbow resting on the folded hand with its hand and fingers resting on the side of the face as if you were intently listening. If attacked be prepared to shove the attacker back, block, or counter-attack. Do not touch the assailant unless you are forced to, as it can trigger aggression and possibly a physical attack.
Do not permit a potential attacker to touch you at any time, even if he or she appears to be friendly. An experienced fighter will feign friendliness, even submission, to make an opening for an attack. Another common ploy is for an attacker to offer a handshake and then head-butt or knife you as soon as the grip is taken.
You will be afraid. Fear is the natural precursor to confrontation. Shaking legs, trembling voice, and goose bumps are all natural by-products of adrenal release.