Are you the person in the room who gets noticed right away? Do people seem to respect your opinion, whether they agree with it or not? If so, you might be a bit intimidating.
Let’s face it. A certain degree of intimidation can be a good thing. It means people trust you and value your opinion. But there’s a difference between being respected and feared, and it can be tough to recognize when your strong personality is making others uncomfortable.
That said, there are some definite signs that your personality trait may intimidate people, and understanding these signs can help you create more meaningful relationships. Read on for signs you intimidate others and what you can do about it!
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Signs You Intimidate Others
It’s not easy to gauge how we come across other people, particularly when we’re around them regularly. But if you’re feeling overwhelmed by your professional relationships and suspect that you may be intimidating others, ask your colleagues for their honest feedback. If there are obstacles in the way of effective collaboration, work with those individuals on ways to break down those barriers together. It’s often easier to build trust than it is to earn it back after you’ve lost it.
But if you believe that you intimidate others, there are a few things you can do about it.
1. You Have Very Strong Opinions
Having strong opinions is a powerful and admirable trait but it can also make you come across as intimidating. Oftentimes, this happens when you’re giving your opinion or pushing for a certain outcome, and others feel like they don’t have the space to speak their minds.
If you find that you’re vocal in certain situations, take time to listen more than you talk. Ask open-ended questions, such as “What do you think?” and try to understand where somebody else is coming from. Additionally, be mindful of language choices and how quickly you speak—it can be easy to come off as condescending or aggressive without intending to.
2. You Like to Be in Control
It’s important to be in control of your life, but if you feel the need to control everything including people and situations. You might come off as a bit too intense. People can get intimidated by someone who seems to hold a lot of power, but it’s also human nature to want to take back that control from someone else.
If you like to be in charge, here are some tell-tale signs that your personality trait is intimidating people:
- You have strong opinions and don’t accept other perspectives easily.
- Your decisions are final and rarely changeable.
- You always take the lead in conversations and decision-making.
- You often come off as domineering or overbearing.
- People often hesitate to disagree with you, for fear of repercussions.
3. You Have No Problem Saying No
It can be intimidating when someone has no problem telling you “no.” People tend to take it personally when they are told they cannot have something they want but if you’re confident enough to reject someone’s offer without hesitation, it can give off a vibe that you don’t need anything from them, which is seen as a sign of strength.
4. You Don’t Open Up Easily
When people try to get to know you, do you find yourself holding back? It’s possible that your tendency to keep your thoughts and feelings to yourself can be intimidating. People want to feel like they’re getting to know the real you, and when you don’t open up easily, it can make them feel like they’re not a priority to you.
This doesn’t mean that you need to become an open book, but it’s important that people know what kind of person they’re dealing with. Showing your vulnerabilities and sharing your stories can help build trust and connection with those around you.
5. Your Vocal Tone Can Come Across as Impatient
Do you often find yourself wanting to get things done, like yesterday? This can come across as impatience and many people find this behavior intimidating. Your impatience could make it seem like you don’t care about people’s opinions and that you need things to happen right away which can be a bit scary. At that time without knowing your vocal tone can be changed so aggressively. Which may can create emotional impact among your relations, colleagues , members or the people around you.
To ensure that your impatience isn’t seen in a negative light, it’s important to take the time to listen to what other people have to say.
6. You Have High Standards for Yourself
Do you have high standards for yourself and hold others to those same standards? If so, then it’s possible that your personality may be intimidating people.
Having high standards is certainly not a bad thing. But oftentimes, people may see these expectations as daunting and be too afraid to take on the challenge. As a result, they may steer clear of you altogether.
Take a few deep breaths before speaking or responding in order to avoid jumping into things too quickly. Additionally, giving yourself deadlines for tasks by breaking them down into smaller parts can help you stay on track without being too demanding.
7. You Are Very Confident in Yourself and Your Abilities
It’s natural to have some level of confidence in yourself, but if your confidence borders on arrogance, then it’s likely that your personality trait is coming off as intimidating. That’s because you’re coming across as overly self-assured, and this can make people feel uncomfortable or even insecure around you.
So how do you know if your confidence may be seen as intimidating? Here are some signs that might clues you in:
- Whenever someone challenges your opinion, you are unwavering and feel like there’s no room for compromise.
- You rarely admit when you don’t know something or when you’re wrong about something.
- You firmly believe that your way is the right way, and tend to expect others to follow suit without question.
- You have a strong presence in conversations: what you say carries a lot of weight with those around you regardless of whether they agree or not.
8. You Are Highly Competitive and Hate Losing
Sometimes you really hate losing. So sometimes you show assertiveness as a part of your body language. And that can make people feel intimidated, especially when it comes to activities like sports or board games. After all, if you’re fiercely competitive, people might worry that you won’t take defeat gracefully.
However, being competitive isn’t necessarily bad. It can actually be a sign of drive and ambition. You want to win at whatever you put your mind to, and that’s a good thing! Just remember that it’s important to stay level-headed when competing against others. Even if you don’t win, controlling your emotions is key in any competition. Respect the decision of the judge or referee, as well as the effort of your opponents.
9. You Are expecting Others to Perform at Your Level
It can be difficult when you expect others to meet the same level of performance as you do. It takes a lot of patience, understanding and flexibility to recognize that not everyone performs at the same level and works at the same pace as you do and it may be intimidating for them when your expectations are too lofty for them.
10. You Have a Tendency to Be Overly Direct or Blunt
You’re not afraid to speak your mind. You don’t hold back, even if it means offending people. You’re blunt, direct and honest with everyone you meet. You don’t sugarcoat things and tell people how you feel.
You’ve found that being direct is the best way to get your point across and help others understand what you are trying to say.
11. You Are Very Direct in Your Communication Style
The truth is that most people are able to handle the truth—even if it isn’t pleasant. People appreciate straightforwardness and honesty, even when it’s uncomfortable. Instead of hiding your feelings away or playing games with people, be honest about what you’re thinking and feeling in any given situation. Doing this allows people around you to get a clear understanding of who you are and how you think.
12. You Constantly Need to Prove Yourself and Be the Expert
Nobody likes someone who seems invincible or unshakeable because it can be hard to relate to them and this can make them intimidate. While perfection is admirable, it’s important to open up and let your guard down so that others feel comfortable around you. Showing vulnerability and admit faults once in a while will help others around you feel more at ease.
At the end of the day, having high standards is great just remember to show others some empathy, too!
13. You Are Quick to Criticize and Judge
You make snap judgments about people. You tend to jump to conclusions when interacting with others, which can make them feel uncomfortable and nervous around you. You may also think that they’re lying or cheating on their partner when they’re not, which can cause problems as well. Because of this negative attitude people may often avoid eye contact with you. Not just because they feel you have power dynamics but because making eye contact with you make them uncomfortable in that situation.
14. You Rarely Show Vulnerability or Admit Mistakes
You are not afraid to admit your mistakes and failures, but you rarely show vulnerability or self-doubt. You’re not a bad person, but you also don’t want others to see you as weak. This can be a problem when it comes to interpersonal relationships. When you hide your true feelings and feelings of inadequacy, people may be confused by your behavior and become worried that they will hurt your feelings in return.
15. Taking the Lead
If you find yourself frequently taking the lead in group conversations or leading projects, it could be seen as a form of control—which can be intimidating depending on who you’re interacting with. People like to feel involved and heard, so if you take charge all the time, it can come across as aggressive.
16. No Emotional Reaction
If someone is offering their opinion and you remain unphased with little to no emotional reaction, that may come across as intimidating since most people expect for others to react when interacting in a conversation. Not showing much emotion could be perceived as condescension or superiority rather than simply staying cool, collected and logical.
17. You Have A Hard Time Expressing Your Emotions
It’s not that you don’t care – it’s just that you’re afraid of what they might say or do based on your own reaction.
You’ve been told that you don’t express yourself enough, and it’s true. But the problem is that you’re afraid of saying or doing something wrong. You worry about humiliating others, making them feel bad, or upsetting them in some way. This can make it difficult for you to be authentic with people, especially when there are other people around who are watching (and judging).
Some people are natural born leaders. They are the default spokesperson in a meeting, the first to volunteer for projects, and they seem to attract attention like a magnet. Extraverts thrive in this environment. However, what happens when you are an introvert that leads? Quite simply, you intimidate others. You see, it takes a certain amount of self-confidence to be in charge.
Some extroverts may not even realize that others view them as intimidating because of the skill level at which they lead. Introverts have the same skill level, but because of their personality trait, their words and actions carry more authority than they intend. More often than not, this intimidation is involuntary. If you’re an introvert who leads (I’m assuming most designers are), then take heart–there are a few things you can do to mitigate this inadvertent intimidation factor.
- Perfectionism Is Increasing, and That’s Not Good News by Thomas Curran & Andrew P. Hill Published in Harvard Business Review https://hbr.org/
- Perfectionism: Can High Standards Lead to Mental Health Disorders? BY RENAE REINTS 2018, published in Fortune https://fortune.com/
- The Intimidation Factor By Jennifer Latson published , 2019 published in Psychology Today https://www.psychologytoday.com/
- 5 Reasons Why Being Intimidating Can Be Awesome for Your Career
- Being intimidating–or bossy, overpowering, or demanding–may not be such a bad thing after all. BY PETER ECONOMY, THE LEADERSHIP GUY@BIZZWRITER published in INC magazine https://www.inc.com/
Call to Action
We can’t speak for anyone else and how they view you, but we’d like to believe that even when you intimidate others, you are still approachable. After all, intimidating people don’t have many friends, right? That maybe not true. But its your own choice to be who you are. So consider these signs if you feel that you have a intimidating personality which makes you overwhelmed. This is just a friendly reminder.
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