If someone displays these 9 traits, they’re quite intimidating to be around

Here’s a simple fact: having a strong and confident personality can make you quite intimidating to be around.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes, displaying strength of character helps you attract other like-minded people who are also comfortable in their own skin, and before you know it, you’ve made friends for life.

However, it’s important to note that there’s a big difference between being intimidating because you’re confident and being intimidating because you’re cold.

The following list is a mix of both.

Are you ready? If someone displays these 9 traits, they’re quite intimidating to be around.

1) They move with supreme confidence

It all begins with nonverbal communication. People are social beings, and we can often gauge who it is we’re dealing with from something as simple as their gait.

Here’s an example. When I was younger, I hunched a lot. I suffered from a lot of anxiety, and when I was in large groups, I just wanted to blend into the background. What’s more, it wasn’t uncommon for my friends to make fun of me or put me down because they felt they could.

The way I hold myself has changed a great deal since then. I now part the crowd with inner confidence, and as a result, the same people who used to laugh at me are now complimenting me and talking about how intimidating I sometimes seem.

Chin up. You deserve to take up space in the world. And as soon as you do, people will naturally have more respect for you – even if it occasionally veers into intimidation.

2) They don’t overexplain themselves

“Can you come tomorrow?”

“Oh, I can’t, I’m so sorry! I’d love to come but I have X and Y and then Z.”

“Oh, okay. What about you, can you come?”

“No, sorry. Maybe next time!”

Who’s more intimidating? The person who goes into great detail just to explain all the reasons why they can’t do what’s expected of them, or the person who just says “no”?


The thing is, you don’t owe anyone any explanation. Your life is nobody’s business. 

If you can’t come to the party, then you can’t come, and that’s that. You’re completely free to only disclose the information you feel comfortable sharing.

Many people don’t realize that, though, which is why overexplaining has become quite normalized nowadays. In turn, people who do the complete opposite – they just decline the invitation and go on about their business – can come off as a bit scary.

3) They assertively state their boundaries

Let’s be honest with each other. Most people struggle to establish firm boundaries.

And that’s completely understandable. 

We’re conditioned to think that saying a firm “no” or admitting that we don’t like how a certain person treats us is a huge buzzkill. After all, you don’t want to “ruin the fun”.

But that’s exactly why people who aren’t afraid to state their boundaries loud and clear are so intimidating.

“That joke’s quite hurtful, please don’t make it again.”

“I don’t want to participate in this activity, so stop trying to force me.”

“I don’t like it when you talk to me like that, I don’t think it’s funny.”

Sounds quite harsh, doesn’t it? But that’s only because we’re not used to saying it as it is.

Remember – you have every right to state your boundaries in clear terms.

4) They aren’t friends with just about anyone

If there’s one trait that intimidating people share, it’s that their standards are quite high.

They won’t be best friends with you just because you’re nice to them – on the contrary, they keep a very tight-knit circle of friends whom they fully trust.

However, this also means that they may come off as cold or unapproachable because they’re not actively looking to connect with others on a deeper level.

You might have to put in a great deal of effort to make it past the small talk stage, and lots of people don’t have the patience or the courage for that.

And at the end of the day, it also depends on the character of the person you’re dealing with.

If they’re intimidating because they’re cold, self-centered, and insensitive, they probably wouldn’t make for a great friend to begin with.

If they’re a bit scary due to their confidence, though, it may be worth it to try to crack the shell open and see what kind of connection’s hiding on the inside.

pic1901 If someone displays these 9 traits, they’re quite intimidating to be around

5) They project their own standards onto other people

You didn’t think this article would be just pure praise, did you?

Every coin has two sides, and so do intimidating people. While some of their cool aura may be due to their high level of confidence, sometimes it also has to do with the fact that they’re not as empathetic as they could be.

Trust me, I know what I’m talking about. As someone who gets quite a lot of stuff done on a daily basis, I tend to project my standards onto others, which only leaves me confused about how “slow” their performance is.

But I’m very aware of the fact that the people around me aren’t actually slow or lazy. 

Everyone’s on their own timeline, and while I struggle with X, others may find it hard to cope with Z.

This is why I always try to stop myself before making quick judgments and assumptions.

6) They are highly opinionated

I used to have a friend who intimidated pretty much everyone in our friend group. She wasn’t cold; she wasn’t quick to judge; she wasn’t mean.

What she did do, however, was have strong opinions on almost everything. And oftentimes, that’s more than enough to scare people off.

She could have a discussion on almost any topic with anyone and she’d always end up winning the argument simply because she did so much research in her free time that she knew exactly what she was talking about.

Knowledge is power. She knew it, I know it, you know it. If you’re well-read and have amazing rhetoric skills, don’t be surprised if some people feel intimidated by you.

7) They stand by their decisions

The choice to stand by your decision and not go back on your word is a very powerful one.

It means that:

  • You carefully thought everything through
  • You believe that you’re doing the right thing
  • You won’t let anyone tell you otherwise because you don’t need anyone to validate your choices in life

The latter especially can be very scary to some because we’re so used to relying on other people for help and advice.

If you display self-sufficiency, integrity, and strong moral principles… well, that’s a super powerful mix. No wonder that some people are intimidated.

8) They accept compliments with ease

Do you know what the scariest thing you can do is?

Be comfortable in your own skin. Yep, it’s as simple as that.

True confidence is rare, and the fact that you accept compliments easily – instead of dismissing them, you say a simple “Thank you” – shows you might possess the level of self-love many of us strive toward.

It’s okay to know that you’re smart, kind, pretty, or talented. As long as you have enough self-awareness to reflect on all facets of your personality, not just the positive ones, being proud of yourself is nothing bad.

You’re not big-headed or narcissistic if you give yourself credit where credit is due.

9) They keep their cool in heated situations

Finally, people who are quite intimidating to be around keep their cards close to their chest.

And what do I mean by that?

Well, let’s just say they don’t broadcast their thoughts and feelings to the whole world. They’d rather self-reflect in peace than have a heated fight with someone, and that sense of calm can come off as cold or scary because many of us aren’t used to it.

If you’ve ever seen someone remain completely stoic while another person shouted in their face, you know what I’m talking about.

While intimidating, it’s also incredibly admirable. In fact, it is often exactly the fact that something’s admirable that makes it scary because we aspire to reach the same level of confidence, calm, and self-sufficiency, and don’t know how to get there.

In other words, people who are afraid of you might just struggle with their own self-esteem issues, giving rise to fear, jealousy, and judgment.

The best you can do is keep being your best friend. The fact that you like yourself is impressive, after all. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.


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Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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