“Dear strong woman, you are not intimidating. They are intimidated. There is a difference.”
Although the author addressed only women in the original quote, the principle applies to everyone with strong personalities.
If you’ve ever felt like people are threatened by your presence or if you’ve ever been told that you’re intimidating – then the quote applies to you.
Sometimes, even without intending to, your personality can come off as super strong and it scares the people around you.
How do you know if you have an intimidating personality?
Let’s answer that with this list of 15 signs you have such a strong personality that it intimidates others.
Let’s dive in!
1) You don’t suck up
People-pleasing is not in your vocabulary if you have a strong personality.
You don’t need someone else’s validation or approval because you’re confident in your abilities.
Meanwhile, this level of self-confidence can intimadate others for a few possible reasons:
- They have low self-esteem.
- Their brains are wired to think that getting ahead requires scratching a few backs.
- They’re simply lazy and would rather kiss ass than exert effort.
- Their childhood traumas taught them that people-pleasing behaviors are the only way to avoid conflict.
A person with a strong personality focuses on kicking ass, not kissing it.
2) You’re your own master
You don’t suck up, so it makes sense that you also don’t depend on others to decide for you.
Instead, you make your own choices, and you own up to whatever their consequences may be.
Being independent is an admirable trait. But it’s sometimes intimidating, especially in relationships.
Your partner feels more secure in a relationship when they feel needed.
So imagine how intimidated they must feel when you don’t turn to them for advice or support.
They’re probably feeling useless with a constant fear of being abandoned.
3) You’re graceful under pressure
There’s beauty in someone who can keep their composure even under stressful situations.
But this attractive trait of yours can also intimidate others.
Let’s look into it:
If they’re usually a mess under pressure, watching you maintain your poise in challenging situations can trigger someone’s insecurity.
Your gracefulness can also push them to set the bar too high for themselves. This leads to feelings of inadequacy when they fail to match your level of composure during difficult times.
4) Complainers get on your nerves
While you default to grace, some people complain as their immediate and default reaction to stress – and this drives you crazy!
You see complainers as crybabies who use every opportunity to find something wrong.
Your strong personality doesn’t let this slide. Instead, you unapologetically call out this fault-finding behavior.
It probably goes without explaining why this intimidates the complainers around you:
They don’t want to be called out.
While they’re complaining, you’re out there problem-solving.
This leads me to the next sign of a strong personality:
5) You’re a solution seeker
When faced with a problem, you have no time for anything but finding a solution.
Here’s the thing: the problem-solver can often intimidate and irritate some people.
Because sometimes, it highlights their own weakness or inability to find the solution themselves.
But here’s what they don’t realize:
- Not finding the solution does not always mean failure – but not trying does.
- You’re not problem-solving to upstage them. You’re doing it for the greater good.
A strong personality does not give up on a problem until it’s solved.
6) You don’t take sh*t from anybody
You strongly dislike people who have an excuse for almost anything.
You set your standards high, and you’re not one to be easily bent into settling for less.
You also have clear boundaries and won’t tolerate anyone who dares cross this.
The combination of your standards, boundaries, and no-nonsense personality can intimidate some people, especially the ones afraid of rejection and accountability.
7) You scratch beneath the surface
Part of your strong personality is your wisdom to look past the obvious and your courage to challenge assumptions and beliefs.
For example, even if you didn’t mean to, a family member can feel intimidated when you challenge their beliefs surrounding gender roles in relationships.
They’re scared that you might prove them wrong, and they can also be intimidated by the confusion that sets in when you challenge their truth.
This critical thinking is handy for navigating complex problems, but it can also intimidate those that are comfortable in their beliefs.
Because when you challenge people’s beliefs, you’re pushing them out of their comfort zones.
8) You don’t take no for an answer
A list of what makes a person intimidating to others wouldn’t be complete without discussing stubbornness.
Your stubborn attitude can work for or against you.
Here’s what I mean:
Your unwillingness to accept “no” develops your resilience, shaping your character and making you even stronger.
But sometimes being hell-bent on something scares others because you make it hard for them to offer their opinion, suggest alternatives or meet you halfway.
Your stubbornness can come off as dominating, making your peers feel discouraged and sometimes even diminished.
9) You know what you want, and you go for it
Your stubbornness and a clear vision of your dream life drive you to make even the impossible possible.
You’re a natural dream chaser, and nothing can stand between you and your goals.
Your unwavering commitment to your goals can make some uncomfortable, especially if they’re not as driven as you.
Also, when you take risks for the sake of your dreams, you intimidate some people who are content at embracing the stability and predictability of their lives.
But the dream chasing gets more intense:
10) You up the ante
Unsurprisingly, a strong personality like yours will not rest even after you’ve reached your goal.
Once you’ve reached point A, you will create another dream, going for points B, C, D, E.. even up to point Z!
And there’s a good reason people are intimidated by your unending quest:
They feel like you’re constantly raising the stakes to taunt them into competing with you.
But here’s the thing:
Strong personality types keep moving the goalpost to achieve their best self. From their point of view, their only competition is themselves and no one else.
11) You have strong opinions
If you’re unafraid to voice your opinions, you can bet you have a strong personality.
You can also bet on people getting intimidated by you.
Strong opinions can make the people around you uncomfortable, especially if they have a different point of view and dislike confrontation.
Sometimes, no matter how respectful you try to express them, your strong viewpoints make others uneasy, preventing them from voicing out their own.
12) You also have a strong moral code
Not only do you have strong opinions, but you also have a solid set of principles.
You’re probably wondering how one can possibly be intimidated by something as innocent as a set of moral values.
Here are a few possibilities:
- They might not share the same beliefs as you, making them uncomfortable, rejected, or conflicted when around you.
- They may be holding on to feelings of guilt due to past mistakes against one’s morals.
When it comes to values, opposites don’t attract.
13) You stick to your guns
Backed by your firm conviction and unwavering moral compass, you’re not afraid to stand your ground.
You will not easily bow down to peer pressure or give in to threats.
You remain firm in your decisions, even if it means receiving backlash from others.
Sometimes not backing down challenges the status quo, which can be intimidating, especially to those with authority or influence.
If you think about it, there’s really nothing wrong with you sticking to your guns. The intimidation stems more from people’s fear of losing their power or control over the situation.
14) You’re picky when it comes to your tribe
What does a strong personality mean when it comes to friendships?
One word: selectivity.
People with strong personalities don’t just let anyone in their lives. They value meaningful bonds and trustworthiness, so they’re extremely picky with their friends.
Their fear of not being good enough to get into your inner circle intimidates people around you. They might even think you’re a snob for being intentionally selective with friends.
But don’t let that get to you.
Your friends can significantly impact your life and happiness, so you have every right to filter them out.
15) You don’t water down the truth
Brutal honesty is another one of your strong personality traits.
You don’t beat around the bush, and you don’t like sugarcoating or mincing words.
You call a spade a spade and say things as they are without worrying if it offends someone.
But you only ever speak the truth when necessary, usually for the benefit of the one who needs to hear it.
Ultimately, you still believe that if it’s hurtful and not beneficial, it’s best to not say it.
Unfortunately, some people don’t get this. Often they only see your honesty as an attack on themselves or their characters.
You’re not intimidating – they’re intimidated
Let’s pause for a moment and reflect.
Having a strong personality is not a flaw; it’s a testament to your self-assurance, confidence, and independence.
You are an individual who respects yourself, understands your worth, and doesn’t shy away from displaying these traits. But it’s essential to note that your strength might be perceived differently by different people.
Remember, perception is subjective; it’s filtered through each person’s experiences, biases, and insecurities.
This means when people feel intimidated by you, it’s not a reflection of your character, but a mirror to their own self-view and past experiences.
That said, it doesn’t entirely absolve the responsibility of understanding the impact of your actions on others.
Firstly, the cornerstone of any interaction should be empathy. Empathy is understanding others from their perspective. While you shouldn’t undermine your strong personality to placate others, considering the feelings of those around you is a sign of emotional intelligence. This doesn’t mean you have to dilute your character; rather, it’s about creating a safe space for dialogue and understanding.
Also, be open to feedback. Others’ reactions can provide valuable insights into how your personality traits might affect them. This doesn’t imply that you should change who you are; instead, it’s about embracing personal growth and recognizing areas where you might adapt your approach in the spirit of harmony and understanding.
Remember, having strong opinions or a strong moral code doesn’t necessitate imposing them on others. Respect the fact that other people may have different viewpoints. Acknowledge their opinions, even when they conflict with yours, as this fosters a healthy exchange of ideas and reduces the feeling of intimidation.
Moreover, displaying vulnerability could be a valuable counterbalance to your strength. It’s a myth that showing vulnerability is a sign of weakness; in fact, it takes great courage to expose one’s softer side. By opening up and sharing your vulnerabilities, you can help others see that you’re not a force to be intimidated by, but a human being with strengths and weaknesses, hopes and fears, just like them.
Having high standards, either for yourself or others, is commendable. However, be aware that not everyone operates at the same level. If someone fails to meet your expectations, it could be an opportunity for conversation rather than a prompt for criticism. Encourage growth instead of demanding perfection.
Lastly, remember the power of compassion and kindness. A strong personality paired with a kind heart is a formidable combination. People are less likely to feel intimidated if they experience genuine warmth and kindness from you.