The Insanity of Being Intimidated by People - Shola Richards (2022)

The Insanity of Being Intimidated by People - Shola Richards (1)

If you’ve been following The Positivity Solutionfor a little while, then I’m certain that you know this:

I believe that fear destroys more lives than any other force on this planet.

That’s why I talk about the dangers of living a fear-controlled life so often on this blog (like here, here and here for starters.)

While that’s true, there’s one form of fear that I haven’t really addressed up until this point, and it actually might be the most common form of fear that exists.

It’s the fear of other people.

Or more specifically, being intimidated by other people. If you’re in that place now,this one is for you.

The Truth About Power

Before I dive in, a quick disclaimer–I’m not a psychiatrist (obviously), so if you have a legitimate full-blown phobia of other people, then this blog post definitely isn’t for you.

But for everyone else who sometimes feels scared or intimidated by other people for whatever reason, take a minute to fully absorb this quote:

The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” -Alice Walker

I’m a 42-year old man, and I’m not embarrassed to share that it took me close to 35 years of my life to get this lesson burned into my consciousness.

For most of my life, I freely gave my power away to anyone who wanted it. Actually, even if you didn’t want it, I was happy to give it to you anyway.

Here are some cuts from the soul-destroying album that played on repeat in my brain every time I walked into a room:

(Video) FOOTBALL PHONE IN | #LNF

“These people are so much better/smarter than me.”

“I’m not good enough.”

“No one here likes or respects me.”

“No one in this room wants to hear what I have to say.”

“I don’t belong here.”

These beliefs ruled most of my adult life, and the results of these beliefs were devastating. Because I lived in fear of other people and their opinions of me, it almost destroyed my career, my social life, and anything else meaningful in my life.

Almost.

The only reason why those beliefs didn’t completelydestroy my life was that after years of being governed by them, I finally woke up to the truth. Here it is:

All of those beliefs are bullshit.

Yes, every single one of them. I’m done giving away my power by believing in those useless thoughts, and I want the same for you too.

Weare so much more powerful than we think, and the key to our happiness is to consistently remember that fact.

Yes, You Belong

I believe that in most cases, the feeling of intimidation has nothing to do with the person who intimidates us. Instead, it has everything to do with our insecurities.

Think about it. How often do we give away our power by allowing our insecurities to create insane stories in our mind about other people?

How many people experience near-paralyzing fear andnervousness when they’re introduced to the CEO of their company (or any other high-profile person) because they believe that they’re not good enough to be communicating with her?

How many people have decided not to talk to the cute girl in the room because they’ve convinced themselves that girls like her would never consider talking to guyslike them?

How many people avoid going to parties and social gatherings because they believe that everyone at the party is going to harshly judge them and/or not like them?

Here’s the truth.

The people who are intimidating you are not better than you. They aren’t more special than you are. They poop and fart just like the rest of us (and it stinks too.) In fact, they’re probably just like youin more ways than you could ever imagine.

Most importantly, the story that you’re telling yourself in your mind about how scary they are, isn’t real. Even though your insecurities are trying to convince you otherwise.

I don’t care if it’s the CEO of your company, your dream girl/guy, or even a group of strangers in the audience at your upcoming presentation duringthe next staff meeting. The key is to remember (and believe) this:

When you walk into the same room with them, you belong there.

Know Your Value

Unfortunately, there are some less-than-positive characters out there who actually enjoyintimidating other people. Case in point:

A couple ofyears ago, I was asked to give a class to a group of “interpersonally challenged” physicians on how to effectively communicate with their nursing staff.

It didn’t go well.

Let’s just say that I wasn’t warmly receivedwhen I walked into the room. I was greeted with folded arms, rude comments, piercing stares, dismissive sighs, scowling, and eye-rolling that followed every word that came out of my mouth.

To call them a “hostile audience” wouldn’t even begin to describe these people. Not only were they intent on intimidating me, they were intent on making sure that I knew with every fiber of my being that I didn’t belong in the same room as them.

I’d be lying if I said that it wasn’t an absolutely miserable two hours (because it was), but they epically failed in their attempt to intimidate me.

Why?

Because I know that I have value.

This wasn’t always the case. If that class happened 10 years ago, I would have run out of that room in tears and considered throwing myself off of the nearest bridge.

Instead, during that class, I focused myself fully on delivering the information in the best way that I could.

It was easy to keep pushing pasttheir rudeness and hostility because I know that my class has value (thousands of people who wentthrough my classesbefore them seemed to think so.) I know that there is value in my message of communicating with respect and kindness in the workplace (even if they clearly didn’t.) Most of all, I know that I have value as a trainer and a person.

Nothing that those guys could do ever change that.

Sadly, there are many people in this world who get their jollies from intimidating other people.

Whenever you’re on the wrong end of it, remember this: Stand tall and always remember that you have value.

Permission Denied

Here is the most important truth about intimidation:

No one can intimidate you without your permission.

There’s no need to over-complicate this: You either give other people your power, or you don’t.

As awful as those physicians were, they didn’t kill me. I’m not irreparably broken from that experience. I put it squarely in the rearview mirror and I refused to allow it to change how I view myself or my message going forward. Since that day, I’ve trained thousands more people with fantastic results.

As I said earlier, that’s because I’m done giving my power away to other people and ignoring my unique value as a human being.

In life, there will always be scary situations to overcome, comfort zones that need to expand in order for us to grow, and self-love that needs to be constantly reinforcedin order for us to fullyexperience the bestthat life has to offer.

None of the above can happen as long as we continue to listen to the wimpy voice that’s inside of all of us, sayingthat “we’re notas good as other people.”

We areas good and as worthy as anyone walking on this earth.

In the end, the power to rise up or the power to diminish yourself will always be in your hands.

It’s insane to believe anything else.

Your Turn

Are you easily intimidated by others? Have you been able to overcome being intimidated by other people? If so, how? Jump into the comments below and make your voice heard!

FAQs

How do I stop being intimidated by people? ›

7 Steps to Dealing With Highly Intimidating People
  1. Mentally prepare yourself well ahead of time for interacting with the person who intimidates you. ...
  2. Plan out what you want to say. ...
  3. Practice with others. ...
  4. Offer the right body language. ...
  5. Use comic visualization. ...
  6. Focus on how the other person is feeling.
23 Aug 2017

What to say to someone who is trying to intimidate you? ›

2. Be firm and direct.
  • I feel …
  • I need …
  • I feel uncomfortable about what's happening and I need to leave.
  • I appreciate the feedback but I don't agree.
  • That doesn't work for me.
  • Let me get back to you on that.
  • Here's what I can do …
  • I understand your position; here's mine.
4 days ago

What does being intimidated mean? ›

Definition of intimidated

: made to feel timid : affected or held back by feelings of fear or timidity When you're a collector and just starting out, you do feel a bit intimidated …—

How do you tell if someone is intimidated by you? ›

8 signs people are intimidated by you — even if you don't realize...
  1. They won't make eye contact. ...
  2. They turn slightly away from you. ...
  3. They speak quietly. ...
  4. They don't ask you any questions about yourself. ...
  5. They fidget. ...
  6. They stand back. ...
  7. They refuse to offer constructive feedback. ...
  8. They don't think you're on their side.
8 Jun 2018

What is the root cause of intimidation? ›

The root cause of intimidation comes from the age-old habit all human beings have of comparing themselves to others. We allow ourselves to be triggered by our own insecurities and issues when we see someone who we perceive as not having that same hurdle to conquer.

Why do people intimidate others? ›

Although some people intentionally intimidate others in order to bully and manipulate them, it's important to remember that you're not always responsible for the feelings you inspire in others. People might feel intimidated by confidence and assertiveness because of their own low self-esteem or insecurities.

Who is an intimidating person? ›

It is someone who makes others feel timid or frightened. Such people can be perceived as confrontational, off-putting, authoritative, and even aggressive. However, it is not always who they really are – more often than not, people who look intimidating are just blunt.

Why does someone try to intimidate you? ›

If you tend to be a bit insecure, then you will be a prime target for those who love to intimidate. This bully sees your insecurity as a weakness, and they will use this to their advantage. It's not uncommon for them to want to make you feel insecure or inferior, so they will use poor humor and sarcasm to achieve it.

What do you call someone who is intimidating? ›

The synonyms bully and intimidate are sometimes interchangeable, but bully implies intimidation through threats, insults, or aggressive behavior.

What is an example of intimidated? ›

An example of intimidate is to act very tough to scare your enemies. To coerce or deter, as with threats. The police intimidated the suspect into signing a false statement. To make timid; make afraid; daunt; cow.

What is intimidating behavior? ›

Threatening and intimidating behaviors are words, actions, or implied threats that cause reasonable fear of injury to the health and safety of any person or property. These actions include but are not limited to: threats of physical assaults.

Is it good to be intimidating? ›

You're more likely to be taken seriously by others.

Being intimidating means others who would normally discredit you will hear you out and take you seriously. An intimidating woman's opinions matter, she isn't dismissed as an airhead who is only there to look pretty. In relationships and careers, that's a good thing.

How do you tell if a woman is intimidated by you? ›

When a woman is intimidated by you, she'll make it obvious. Some signs might include outright bitchiness, over complimenting you, or extreme shy behavior. You probably don't consider yourself intimidating, but there's something about you that makes other women feel threatened.

How do you intimidate someone with your eyes? ›

When you can't or don't want to cover your eyes, but you still want to intimidate someone, it's simply a matter of staring them down and not being the one who looks away first. The person who maintains his gaze shows dominance and higher-status, while the person who looks away first signals their submission.

What are the effects of intimidation? ›

Intimidation increases the rate of stress, anxiety, burn-out, and depression among both physicians and nurses leading to decreased enjoyment in work, worsening mental health issues, and relationship difficulties.

What is abusive or intimidating behavior? ›

Abusive conduct includes behavior with a malicious intent that is hostile, offensive, threatening, intimidating, humiliating, or sabotaging. This can include both verbal and physical abuse. Verbal abuse: Derogatory remarks. Insults.

What intimidation feels like? ›

Someone who feels intimidated feels frightened and lacks confidence because of the people they are with or the situation they are in. Some individuals have claimed to feel intimidated as they walk or cycle past the protests.

What does intimidation mean in psychology? ›

Intimidation is the act of making others do what one wants through fear. Intimidation is a maladaptive outgrowth of normal competitive urge for interrelational dominance generally seen in animals, but which is more completely modulated by social forces in humans.

What is the opposite of intimidating? ›

Antonyms & Near Antonyms for intimidation. agreement, approval, consent, permission.

How do you know if you have a strong personality? ›

It's no secret that people with strong personalities can make good leaders. They possess several characteristics associated with able and effective leadership: decisiveness, frankness, fearlessness, and a willingness to speak their minds, even if it involves sharing some tough truths.

How do you know if a man is intimidated by you? ›

I've listed the clearcut signs that men are intimidated by you.
  • 1 19 Signs Men Find You Intimidating. 1.1 1. You prefer substantive relationships. 1.2 2. He only stares without approaching you. 1.3 3. You have some credit to your name. 1.4 4. He tries to pull you down. 1.5 5. You sometimes look cold or angry. ...
  • 3 To Conclude.
10 Jun 2022

Can people be intimidated by intelligence? ›

Intelligence can sometimes lead to people being intimidating. This can make people uncomfortable and make them think of you as an arrogant person, even if you are not. You may also experience that concern, leaving you a little uncomfortable.

What does intimidated mean in a relationship? ›

When a person feels intimidated, our relationship with them suffers. They will be less engaged and are likely to withdraw. It creates a tense atmosphere of anger and resentment. All of this is counter-productive to what we really want: a close, loving, harmonious relationship.

What does it mean to be an intimidating woman? ›

She felt herself shrinking. “Intimidating” is a word that immediately brings up feelings of shame for many women. It's essentially a professionally acceptable way to call someone bossy, unapproachable, or even (gasp!)

What's the difference between intimidated and intimidating? ›

Difference in terminology

Synonyms include: frightened, afraid, alarmed and scared. Intimidate is the act of deliberately making someone frightened enough to force them to do something. Synonyms include: pressure, threaten or bullying.

What is intimidation in a sentence? ›

a communication that makes you afraid to try something. 1 The gang silenced witnesses by intimidation. 2 Workers were subjected to intimidation as they crossed the picket line. 3 The Opposition alleged voter intimidation by the army.

How do you use intimidating in a sentence? ›

— intimidating

He is one of the most intimidating men I have ever met. Speaking in front of a large audience can be very intimidating.

What makes an intimidating face? ›

Faces that are tilted upward or downward are perceived as more intimidating. Tilting one's face increases one's facial width-to-height ratio (fWHR). Individuals spontaneously increase their fWHR to appear intimidating.

What are intimidation tactics? ›

Intimidation tactics can be overt: threats to retaliate legally, economically or (in very rare cases) physically, against your leaders, members, or your whole group. Intimidation can take the form of legal action, but your opponents are far more likely to threaten legal action than to actually take you to court.

Is intimidation the same as harassment? ›

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Anti-Harassment Policy Guidelines defines coercion or intimidation as a form of harassment.

How do you tell if a girl wants to talk to you? ›

6 Signs She Wants YOU To Talk To Her | Alex Costa - YouTube

Which eye do you look at when you love someone? ›

The so-called psychology love eye trick is a specific flirting move popularized by a series of TikTok videos posted by user Sophie Rose Lloyd. It involves looking at someone's left eye, then their lips, and then their right eye.

How do you pull an angry face? ›

SPONSORED Ro Derm Skincare
  1. Pull your eyebrows down. ...
  2. Squint slightly. ...
  3. Push your chin up and out. ...
  4. Snarl your lips. ...
  5. Flare your nostrils. ...
  6. Experiment with combining these facial expressions. ...
  7. Wear red. ...
  8. Use makeup.

Why are people intimidated by my eye contact? ›

For those without a diagnosed mental health condition, avoidance of eye contact could be related to shyness or a lack of confidence. Looking someone in the eye while speaking can feel uncomfortable for those without a lot of practice making conversation or who tend to prefer not being in the spotlight.

Do I have an intimidating personality? ›

Intimidating people are usually assertive and know what they want. They're unafraid to go after what they desire and stop at nothing to get it. This determination is one of the things that makes them so successful in life. This quality can be seen as a strength, but it can also be off-putting to others.

What are the effects of intimidation? ›

Intimidation increases the rate of stress, anxiety, burn-out, and depression among both physicians and nurses leading to decreased enjoyment in work, worsening mental health issues, and relationship difficulties.

Is it a good thing to be intimidating? ›

You're more likely to be taken seriously by others.

Being intimidating means others who would normally discredit you will hear you out and take you seriously. An intimidating woman's opinions matter, she isn't dismissed as an airhead who is only there to look pretty. In relationships and careers, that's a good thing.

Is being intimidating a compliment? ›

It is hard to actually intimidate someone. When a woman is called intimidating, it might be because of the way she acts or carries herself. Being called intimidating is not a criticism. In fact, it's a compliment.

What makes a person look intimidating? ›

If you want to look intimidating, stand up straight so you seem as tall as possible. You can also show that you're confident by taking up as much space as you can whether you're sitting, standing, or walking. For example, swing your arms when you walk and keep your legs loose and open when you're sitting.

What is an example of intimidated? ›

An example of intimidate is to act very tough to scare your enemies. To coerce or deter, as with threats. The police intimidated the suspect into signing a false statement. To make timid; make afraid; daunt; cow.

Who is an intimidating person? ›

It is someone who makes others feel timid or frightened. Such people can be perceived as confrontational, off-putting, authoritative, and even aggressive. However, it is not always who they really are – more often than not, people who look intimidating are just blunt.

What is the psychology of intimidation? ›

Intimidation is the act of making others do what one wants through fear. Intimidation is a maladaptive outgrowth of normal competitive urge for interrelational dominance generally seen in animals, but which is more completely modulated by social forces in humans.

What intimidation feels like? ›

Someone who feels intimidated feels frightened and lacks confidence because of the people they are with or the situation they are in. Some individuals have claimed to feel intimidated as they walk or cycle past the protests.

Is intimidation a form of discrimination? ›

Workplace intimidation based on a protected characteristic of the targeted worker can be classified as illegal workplace discrimination.

Why do people describe me as intimidating when I don't feel that way? ›

Here are some factors that may be running in the background when we think others are intimidating: 1. A consequence of unconscious bias — Racial stereotypes, gender, institutionalized racism, sexism, antisemitism, and other forms of bias may motivate others to label a person as intimidating when they are not.

How do you know if a man is intimidated by you? ›

I've listed the clearcut signs that men are intimidated by you.
  • 1 19 Signs Men Find You Intimidating. 1.1 1. You prefer substantive relationships. 1.2 2. He only stares without approaching you. 1.3 3. You have some credit to your name. 1.4 4. He tries to pull you down. 1.5 5. You sometimes look cold or angry. ...
  • 3 To Conclude.
10 Jun 2022

How do you tell if a woman is intimidated by you? ›

When a woman is intimidated by you, she'll make it obvious. Some signs might include outright bitchiness, over complimenting you, or extreme shy behavior. You probably don't consider yourself intimidating, but there's something about you that makes other women feel threatened.

What is the best synonym for intimidating? ›

synonyms for intimidating
  • aggressive.
  • frightening.
  • terrifying.
  • bullying.
  • pressuring.
  • terrorizing.

What does it mean to be an intimidating woman? ›

She felt herself shrinking. “Intimidating” is a word that immediately brings up feelings of shame for many women. It's essentially a professionally acceptable way to call someone bossy, unapproachable, or even (gasp!)

What does it mean when a guy calls you intimidating? ›

He's insecure.

If a man actually says "you're too intimidating" as an excuse to break up with you, let him walk away without any fuss. What's he's really saying is he's sure you're too cool, too beautiful and too all-around amazing to stick with a schlub like him if something better comes along.

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