"A confused opponent is better than an angry one" -Suzanne Abernathy
This is the second of my three tenets: Awareness, Avoidance, and Action. As I previously stated, most dangerous situations can be avoided by simply practicing good awareness and not getting involved. If, however, you find yourself in a situation either because you responded too late or someone has targeted you, there are still many options you have before it comes to blows.
Set your ego aside: There is absolutely no way you can practice avoidance if your ego demands that you win a fight or that you believe it is wimpy to walk away from a fight. That is absolutely not true. There is no shame in avoiding conflict. On the contrary, engaging in a fight when you have other options is: #1 against the law, #2 very dangerous. Fighting is ugly, painful, and risky. At the very least someone will get hurt. Possibly someone will get killed and/or end up in jail and lives will suffer a tremendous negative impact.
So, if you see a fight brewing, or someone is taunting you, simply leave if you can. Take the easy way out. There is no shame in walking away from a fight.
Be aware of your surroundings: When you find yourself in a situation that is getting dicey, take a look around you. Where are your exits? What kind of situation are you in? Great example: I was at a Christmas party once when a fight broke out in the kitchen. I was in the hall, halfway between the front and back of the house. I quickly assessed my choices; back yard, bedrooms, front door. The back yard did not have a gate and I didn't want to trap myself in the house, so I went out the front door and around the corner just in case things escalated. From there, I kept an eye on the driveway so I could see when the instigators left and I knew it was safe to go back inside. (I was living at the house, so I ended up gathering my belongings and leaving later that night).
Be slippery: If someone does put their hands on you, wiggle and move and get away! It is much harder to fight someone who does not want to fight. I highly recommend learning about joint locks and the counters to joint locks (you can look up a local martial arts instructor for this or contact me). This training has made me very difficult to pin down and has saved me more than once. To be perfectly honest, I am not the best fighter, the fittest, or the strongest. But I know my body and have developed a strategy that works for me.
Avoidance mostly comes down to a mindset. If you truly believe that fighting is absolutely a last resort, you will find a way to get out of any bad situation if at all possible. Sometimes it is not possible but most of the time, it can be done and you can save yourself a lot of trouble.