People who are intimidating on the surface but kind and gentle underneath often display these 9 behaviors 

On the surface, some people can seem quite intimidating.

They have an air of authority, a strong presence, or a serious demeanor that can make others feel a little uneasy.

But don’t let that exterior fool you.

Often, these individuals are the ones with hearts of gold, full of kindness and gentleness.

They’re like coconuts – tough on the outside but sweet on the inside.

Let’s dive into the 9 behaviors often displayed by those who may seem intimidating at first glance, but are truly kind and gentle underneath.

1) They listen more than they speak

We often associate intimidating people with loud, boisterous behavior.

But in reality, those who seem tough on the outside but are soft on the inside often display a different kind of behavior.


These individuals have a knack for making others feel heard and understood.

They know that the key to truly connecting with others isn’t always about what you say, but rather how well you listen.

Rather than dominating conversations, they take a step back.

They give others the space and opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings.

They listen carefully, showing genuine interest in what others have to say.

2) They show empathy

A personal experience comes to mind. I once worked with a colleague who, at first glance, appeared rather intimidating.

He was tall, had a stern look, and was always quiet.

But as I got to know him better, I realized that he was one of the most empathetic people I’d ever met.

One day, I was having a really tough time with a project.

I felt overwhelmed and stressed out.

He noticed my struggle and instead of just brushing it off, he took the time to talk to me about it.

He didn’t just listen; he empathized with my situation and shared words of encouragement.

He even went as far as offering to help me out with parts of the project.

It was then that I realized that beneath his silent and intimidating exterior was a kind and gentle soul who genuinely cared for others.

3) They’re patient

It’s interesting to note that those who appear intimidating often possess an admirable level of patience.

This might seem counterintuitive, but it’s their patience that often gives them their strong demeanor.

Patience is a virtue, as the saying goes, and it’s a trait that’s highly valued in many cultures around the world.

That endurance often translates into a calm, collected exterior that can be perceived as intimidating.

These individuals don’t rush things or push people.

They understand that good things take time and that everyone moves at their own pace.

4) They have a strong sense of integrity

This trait can sometimes be mistaken for sternness or rigidity, but in reality, it’s a reflection of their deep-seated values and principles.

They stand by their words and follow through with their promises.

They are honest, reliable, and consistent in their actions.

This unwavering commitment to their principles can sometimes come off as intimidating to others.

But at the heart of it all is a gentle soul who believes in doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.

5) They respect boundaries

respect boundaries People who are intimidating on the surface but kind and gentle underneath often display these 9 behaviors 

They understand that everyone has their own personal space and limits, and they take care to not overstep.

They won’t push you into doing something you’re uncomfortable with.

They won’t invade your personal space without your permission.

They respect your time, your decisions, and your right to have different opinions.

This behavior might make them seem distant or aloof at first glance, but it’s actually a sign of their respect for you as an individual.

6) They are protective of those they care about

Beneath the intimidating exterior of these individuals lies a heart full of care and concern for those they love.

They are like guardians, always ready to stand up for their loved ones when they’re in trouble or facing adversity.

Their protective nature might come off as overpowering or even controlling at times, but it stems from a place of genuine concern and love.

It’s not about asserting dominance or control; it’s about ensuring the safety and well-being of those they care about.

7) They are not afraid to show their softer side

I remember a time when a friend of mine who had always been viewed as intimidating surprised us all.

We were at a community event, and a small child was visibly upset, lost, and crying.

My friend, who was usually quiet and reserved, immediately went over to the child.

He knelt down to the child’s level and spoke softly, trying to comfort the little one.

It was a side of him we hadn’t seen before.

His actions that day showed us that despite his serious demeanor, he had a soft and caring side.

People who are intimidating on the outside but kind and gentle underneath aren’t afraid to show their softer side when the situation calls for it.

They know that showing vulnerability isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of strength and compassion.

8) They value authenticity

They favor real and meaningful relationships over superficial ones and are not afraid to be themselves, even if that means appearing tough or serious.

They appreciate honesty and sincerity from others and are likely to reciprocate in the same manner.

Their authentic nature might sometimes be perceived as intimidating, but it’s actually a reflection of their respect for truthfulness and genuineness.

Despite their tough exterior, they believe in the importance of being true to themselves and others.

9) They are often misunderstood

Their strong demeanor or serious attitude can be off-putting, leading others to form hasty judgments about their character.

However, if you take the time to get to know them, you’ll find that they are some of the most caring, gentle, and compassionate individuals you’ll ever meet.

Their intimidating exterior is not a reflection of a harsh nature, but rather a shield that protects their sensitive hearts.

Remember, it’s not about the first impression; it’s about understanding and seeing beyond the surface.

Final thoughts: Look beyond the surface

Understanding human behavior requires us to look beyond the surface.

The saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” holds true, especially when it comes to people who appear intimidating at first glance.

These individuals, with their stern exteriors and quiet demeanors, might seem distant or aloof.

But once you get to know them, you’ll often find that they are some of the most kind-hearted, gentle souls you’ll ever meet.

Renowned author and motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar once said, “Every obnoxious act is a cry for help.”

People who seem intimidating might just be trying to protect their sensitive nature.

So next time you come across someone who seems intimidating, take a moment.

Try to see beyond the exterior.

You might just find a friend in the most unexpected of places.

The world is full of surprising paradoxes, and people are no exception.

Picture of Lucas Graham

Lucas Graham

Lucas Graham, based in Auckland, writes about the psychology behind everyday decisions and life choices. His perspective is grounded in the belief that understanding oneself is the key to better decision-making. Lucas’s articles are a mix of personal anecdotes and observations, offering readers relatable and down-to-earth advice.

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