Do you find it difficult to get along with people sometimes?
We all have different interpersonal issues from time to time. But if other people seem to be intimidated by you, it can make it very tricky to relate to them.
Maybe you don’t see it yourself. After all, you do your best to be nice to others. Deep down, you know you’re nothing to be afraid of. So why do people seem to be cautious, nervous, or intimidated around you?
Unfortunately, a strong personality is at best a mixed blessing. While it can help you go after what you want and prevent you from settling for less, it can also come across as intimidating to others.
Here are some signs that it’s your fiery personality that is making people nervous around you.
1) You do your own thing
Having a strong personality means that you know what you want in life, and you aren’t afraid to go after it.
It also means that you are self-directed. You may not want the things other people want, or have different ideas about how to get there. That means you often blaze a trail that other people are scared to follow.
A fiery personality is one that doesn’t care what other people think. Instead, you focus on what you know will make you happy and don’t worry too much about what other people think about it.
Because most people are stuck acting according to the opinions of others, this can make you seem intimidating. But really, it just means that you know what you want and aren’t afraid to get it.
2) You don’t suck up to people
Have you ever noticed that the people around you seem to suck up to people you aren’t impressed by?
This often happens in the workplace, where people flatter anyone with some authority and try to ingratiate themselves.
But it can also happen in social situations, where everyone seems to fall at the feet of somebody for no particular reason.
Your fiery personality won’t allow you to do that. Not because you’re combative or looking for a fight, but just because you don’t feel a need to try to gain anyone’s favor – especially not at the expense of your own self-respect.
Strangely enough, when you don’t act like a sycophant toward others, people may start acting that way toward you.
Psychologist Susan Krauss Whitbourne writes that, “The crux of the problem with ingratiation is that the person’s behavior is by definition both self-serving and insincere.”
If you can’t stand that kind of insincerity, it may be because you have a fiery personality that prefers authentic disagreement to false ingratiation.
3) You aren’t afraid to go against the crowd
You’ve probably heard the fairytale of the Emperor’s new clothes. It’s the story of a powerful man tricked into going out into the streets naked, and none of his subjects have the guts to point out that he’s not wearing anything at all.
Maybe you sometimes feel like the small child in the fable who is the only person willing to tell the truth.
That’s because your strong personality means you don’t care about going against the crowd. You don’t feel any need to agree with others, so if they are wrong, you will tell them so.
Again, this doesn’t mean you’re looking for a fight or trying to be antagonistic. It just means that you are firm in your own beliefs, and even if the whole world believes something else, that doesn’t convince you to change your opinions.
4) You are not interested in complainers
Is there anything worse than people who complain all the time?
I don’t mean people venting when they have a genuine problem. There’s nothing wrong with that, and we all have a right to do that from time to time.
I mean those people who never have a positive word to say. The people who talk endlessly about their own problems as if nobody else in the world has ever suffered like them, and as if only their emotions matter.
If you have a strong personality, you probably don’t complain much yourself. You’d rather focus on solving a problem than just whining about it endlessly.
And that means you don’t have much time for those who do just want to complain.
In your mind, the thing to do when confronted with a problem is either solve it, or shut up about it.
To people who like to complain, that can make you seem unempathetic or even cruel. But really, it may just be a sign that you have a fiery personality that doesn’t mesh well with people who just want to moan.
5) You look for solutions
Part of the reason you have no time for complainers is because you are solutions-oriented. When you have a problem, instead of complaining about it, you look for ways to fix it.
As psychologist and author Guy Winch writes, one of the signs of an emotionally strong person is that they focus on getting around a hurdle rather than fixating on the hurdle itself.
But to people who are prone to complaining and self-pity, that kind of attitude can seem intimidating. Because these people can’t focus on solutions themselves, they are intimidated by anyone who can.
6) You don’t back down
Sometimes, it’s a fine line between being strong and being argumentative. And sometimes, if you have a fiery personality, others will feel that you have crossed that line, even when you don’t.
But as someone with a fiery personality, you feel no need to back down from an argument, especially if you know that you are right. If you’re firm in your opinion, you’re not going to change it, no matter how much people argue with you.
Many people feel awkward and uncomfortable having arguments. They will often seek consensus and even back down from their own beliefs just to keep the peace.
Your fiery personality won’t allow you to do that. While it may look to others like you enjoy argument, the truth is that you simply don’t see a need to hide your beliefs to make other people comfortable.
7) You challenge accepted beliefs
What’s even more striking about someone with a fiery personality is that they often have beliefs that go against the mainstream.
That’s because the approval of others doesn’t mean very much to someone who is comfortable with themselves.
So instead of believing what they are told to believe, they will form their own opinions based on the evidence they see and their own experiences.
Again, this can make more timid people uncomfortable. Many people simply believe what others around them believe to avoid confrontation.
But confrontation doesn’t scare you, and so you are often the person who will point out the flaws in the things other people believe without question.
It doesn’t make you popular, but it often makes you right.
8) You are successful
Having a fiery personality can definitely be an asset in some situations. Strong personalities often make the best leaders, and so they are routinely chosen for promotions. Being independent-minded, they are also more likely to start their own businesses, and these traits can lead them to financial success.
As this study on personality traits and their effects on financial success shows, your personality can have a huge effect on the success you experience in life. Being confident, assertive, and knowing what you want makes you far more likely to succeed than people who are neurotic or timid.
That success itself can start to intimidate other people.
If you are further ahead than most people your age, others may find your success another intimidating thing about you.
But to you, it’s just who you are.
9) You have strong opinions
People who form their own opinions usually hold those opinions more strongly than those who just accept what they are told.
It makes sense when you think about it. If you’ve come to your opinions by a process of deduction and examined the evidence for and against, you can argue that opinion much more strongly than someone who just adopts the viewpoints of others.
Many people don’t take the time to think about why they believe what they do or where they get their information from. And so when they meet someone with a fiery personality who does, they can’t help but feel intimidated.
10) You have a strong moral code
The strength of your opinions also applies to your moral code.
If you have a fiery personality that isn’t easily led by others, you’ve probably formed your own ideas about what’s right and wrong.
And these may sometimes clash with other people, especially those who simply take on the moral code they are raised with.
To those people, someone who operates from their own sense of morality can be very intimidating. After all, they know they would never have the strength of character to do the same.
Managing a fiery personality
Just because people are intimidated by you, that’s no reason to change the way you are. After all, their issues are theirs, not yours.
Sometimes, having a fiery personality means you need to be aware of the intimidating effect you have on others. If you make people nervous and intimidate them with the strength of your character, you can try to mitigate it to make others feel more welcome.
Then again, if you have a fiery personality, you may not have any interest in doing that. And that’s fine too.
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