Do others look to you for leadership and opinions?
Has anyone ever called you intimidating or unapproachable?
If so, you might be a central person in your social circles.
I don’t want to use the animal biology term “alpha,” which has been so often misapplied to humans. You might not be dominating or aggressive at all, unlike alpha male baboons!
However, your personality can definitely scare some people off or even make them shake in their boots if they’re forced to interact with you.
It’s up to you to decide whether that’s a good or a bad thing, but I can at least point out ten signs you have a strong and intimidating personality to help you understand why people react to you the way they do.
1) You’re direct.
A huge part of navigating social situations is knowing what to say to whom and when.
It’s so often the case that people beat around the bush, looking for the perfect time and way to say what they have to say.
But if you’re very direct, you’re different from most people.
If you’re quick to the point and don’t mince your words, people might find your directness surprising.
While some will find your honest and efficient communication a breath of fresh air, other people might find themselves seriously intimidated.
But in either case, they’ll agree that you have a strong personality with your ability to say what you mean and not pull any punches.
2) You assert yourself.
It’s not only your direct communication that can intimidate people.
If you’re assertive, many people will find themselves intimidated, impressed, or both!
What does it mean to be assertive?
It’s not aggression, violence, or physical intimidation by any means.
Nor is assertiveness the same as being mean or bitchy.
I’d call it the ability to stand up for your rights or needs effectively without being overly aggressive or passively letting yourself be trampled on.
When someone asks you to do something at work, for example, that doesn’t fall within your job description, you can answer with a polite but firm no.
If a person is being picked on around you, you can intercede and demand an end to it without having to resort to threats or insults.
That’s assertiveness, and if you’ve got it, you have a strong personality.
3) You have high standards.
I want to tell you a story about way back years ago when I was a pre-teen Scout.
For some reason, someone thought that everyone in our troupe should learn how to fire a gun. So, for three successive weeks, we were shipped down to a firing range and schooled in shooting by an old grizzled man named Dan.
He had wild, white hair, a big curly beard, and a decent-sized pot belly. He also had only one hand with a sort of hook he used in place of the other.
We never found out how he lost his hand because nobody ever had the guts to ask him. We assumed he’d lost it in some war or even by wrestling a crocodile.
And we also never called him Dan. He taught us all to refer to him as “Riflemaster.”
For three weeks, he taught us to shoot what were little more than glorified BB guns, but learn we did. Everyone improved out of fear of being barked at.
He mostly spoke in one-word shouts: “Load!” “Breathe!” “Fire!” “Retrieve!”
At the end of the three weeks, we were given a shooting test, and everyone passed with flying colors.
Riflemaster Dan called us together to say, “Well done. I’ve bought you donuts,” then walked out, never to be seen by us again.
His high standards and strong personality left a big impression that I carry with me to this day!
4) You command attention in groups.
Do you find that you’re very often in the spotlight?
Do heads turn and mouths snap shut when you speak but not so much when someone else does?
I know a few people like this who command attention in almost any group they’re in, and one of them is my partner.
She’s extremely gracious and loves to look around for quiet people so she can pull them into the conversation and get everyone talking.
At the same time, people tend to look at her when they laugh and change subjects, almost as though they’re seeking her approval.
Generally, topics that interest her get discussed, and those that don’t tend to get much less attention. I guess she just has a strong personality that almost always puts her at the center of socializing.
5) You speak your mind.
If you have strong opinions and you’re not afraid to share them, it’s a sign you have a strong personality that might even intimidate some people.
So many people out there are afraid to speak their opinions out loud.
While this is sometimes out of fear of offending others (and maybe it’s a good thing, then!), it’s most often because they’re not extremely confident in their own ideas.
They may worry that if they give their opinion, they might be asked to defend it and aren’t sure enough of themselves to do so.
That’s not you, though, is it?
You’re bold and outspoken with your ideas and opinions, and that can intimidate other people.
6) You have a strong sense of self.
Do you feel like you know exactly who you are, where you’ve come from, and where you’re going?
Do you know what you want and know how to get it?
It sounds like you have a very strong sense of self and supreme self-confidence.
For people who don’t, this in itself is intimidating.
People who have this strong sense of their own self-worth can’t hide it. They demonstrate it in their posture, their speech, and how they interact with others.
Sometimes, though, this makes the people they interact with feel their own lack of confidence really acutely, and that can make them feel intimidated or not good enough.
7) You’re competitive.
People who don’t believe in their abilities and think they can win don’t tend to be very competitive.
But those who are very confident will be happy to compete at just about any task they put their minds to.
It could be sports or chasing positions at work.
If you love to compete, you must have a strong enough sense that you’re worthy of competition. This shows you have a strong personality, for sure!
8) You’re impatient.
I don’t think anyone would call impatience a virtue.
However, a lot of people are impatient because they feel like those around them are thinking or moving too slowly.
They probably have it in their minds that everyone should be up to their caliber at the things they’re doing. It takes a strong personality to think this way, for sure.
This is very similar to having high standards for yourself and others, but it’s not always fair to hold everyone to your own sense of time.
If you’ve ever been pressured to get things done faster like I have, you know that it can be quite intimidating!
9) You’re relentless.
If you’re full of energy and motivation, it can be a lot for other people to handle.
Some people are just relentless. Once they get a target in their sights, they move toward it without stopping or being diverted.
They always keep going no matter what obstacles they find in their way because they have a strength that other people lack.
Maybe you’re one of these people who has no concept of the words “Give up”.
You should understand, though, that this relentlessness that you possess can make other people feel intimidated. They can feel hunted or pursued or simply cowed by your overwhelming determination to get where you’re going.
10) People tell you you’re intimidating.
Can you ask for a clearer sign than that?
Unless they’re trying to prank you, people telling you that you intimidate them should be taken seriously.
You might find it surprising, though, because intimidation probably isn’t your intent (if it is – nailed it!). You might think of yourself as a take-charge kind of person or even a leader by default.
In these cases, it’s mostly people who don’t know you well who will tell you they think you’re intimidating or that you used to intimidate them.
Can you be intimidating and still a kind and caring person?
It’s possible that you just have a very strong personality and a great presence that makes others feel overawed before they get to know more about you.
If these 10 signs you have a strong and intimidating personality seem really familiar, you should have a better picture of how people might see you.
I’m not telling you to change; just letting you know that people around you might find you intimidating. That’s not always going to be to your benefit, but your strength most certainly is.
Lost Your Sense of Purpose?
In this age of information overload and pressure to meet others’ expectations, many struggle to connect with their core purpose and values. It’s easy to lose your inner compass.
Jeanette Brown created this free values discovery PDF to help clarify your deepest motivations and beliefs. As an experienced life coach and self-improvement teacher, Jeanette guides people through major transitions by realigning them with their principles.
Her uniquely insightful values exercises will illuminate what inspires you, what you stand for, and how you aim to operate. This serves as a refreshing filter to tune out societal noise so you can make choices rooted in what matters most to you.
With your values clearly anchored, you’ll gain direction, motivation and the compass to navigate decisions from your best self – rather than fleeting emotion or outside influences.
Stop drifting without purpose. Rediscover what makes you come alive with Jeanette Brown’s values clarity guide.