There are a lot of soy boys and weak men out there these days.
And contrary to popular opinion, they’re not making us more sensitive or genuine: they’re actually making the world a much worse place.
Our society needs more strong men as brothers, fathers, leaders and role models.
And lack of them is driving families into the ground, wrecking businesses and leading to a huge spike in a victim mentality and indulgent self-pity.
But there’s also a misunderstanding about what makes a man truly impressive and “alpha.”
I’m here to clear that up and explain what makes a man intimidating (in a good way) and how it’s different from men who are just aggressive douchebags.
What makes a man intimidating?
1) Bravery and strength
Let’s start right at the basics.
Being courageous and strong may sound vague, but it isn’t.
There are two main ways that a man can embody these traits:
Firstly, he can be physically muscular and brave, fighting fires, serving in the military, rescuing people, running marathons, and helping others in hard situations like natural disasters.
Secondly, he can be mentally and emotionally brave and strong by facing his inner fears, grappling with past trauma, practicing self-honesty and having kindness for those who are unpopular, ostracized or less fortunate.
Many men will try to get the “look” down just right for being a really cool dude who’s got some miles under their belt.
But the majority are just straight-up posers.
If you want to know who’s really a bad MFer you look for the guy with the scars to prove it.
In real life, these guys tend to be humble, understated and fairly low-key, not loud boys with a lot of bravadoes.
But sooner or later when you find out their story you realize they’re the real deal.
“You simply cannot be an alpha male without being incredibly courageous and willing to take risks that others are afraid to.
This isn’t to say that you necessarily take foolish or dangerous risks, but you recognize the importance of being brave and act upon it every chance you get.”
2) Rejection of the victim mentality
Most of us are victims in some way or another, from our upbringing or inherited health problems to being mistreated by others, cheated on or let down in our career or personal life in various ways.
But one of the best answers as to what makes a man intimidating is that he doesn’t go near the victim mentality with a ten-foot pole.
He sees that route and fully rejects going down it.
Because either through learning the hard way or strictly developed and honed attitudes, he knows that the victim mentality is disempowering and toxic.
It creates a cycle that just keeps bringing you lower and keeps making you less able to change.
And the truly badass man is all about change and taking the bull by the horns even when life is a pile of shit.
Andrew Ferebee explains this well, noting those strong men:
“Know that everything in their life and everything not in their life is their responsibility and no one else’s. This doesn’t mean that they believe everything is their fault…
But alphas have accepted the cards they were dealt, fair or not. And their response to any alleged unfairness is always the same, ‘What am I going to do about it?’”
3) Dedication and follow-through
There are plenty of men who get inspired and start new projects or put in an impressive effort that gets the crowd applauding.
But the truly intimidating, awe-inspiring man doesn’t just make a big splash:
He follows through.
Finishing the job is his credo, and he doesn’t give up or get distracted once he’s committed.
Even failure is just a learning experience or a chance to reroute. There’s no such thing as leaving a job half done because he’s tamed the part of his mind that’s looking for excuses, easy-outs, and shortcuts.
That weak inner voice that wants quick fixes is just not in charge anymore.
And everyone can sense it.
“We’ve said it before, but Alpha males like to keep busy. They’re motivated. And in their busy lives, they still make sure to give everything they’ve got,”
notes life coach Sam Whittaker.
“This means that alphas give extra effort because they can, they meet deadlines, and they finish what they start.”
4) Never sucking up
If you want to know one of the top factors for what makes a man intimidating it’s this.
Strong men don’t suck up. Ever.
Even if it’s their boss, their coworker, a bully or a woman they’re attracted to.
They just don’t do it.
The reason that alpha males never suck up is that they don’t feel any need for validation or approval from the outside world.
Even if you control their paycheck, have a hot body, or are sitting in a powerful seat such as being a leading political figure or celebrity, the intimidating man doesn’t care.
Sure, he recognizes that you’re a person of consequence:
But he doesn’t tailor his behavior or attitude to fit you.
And he doesn’t say what you want to hear or act how you want him to act just because you have money, power, fame or control.
5) Competence and practical skills
It’s easy to talk the talk – but real respect and admiration are reserved for those who walk the walk.
The separation between a truly respected man and one who only gets brief flares of appreciation is competence and skill.
The man who knows practical skills and has competence will naturally rise above the crowd and achieve a position of respect:
In his own family,
In the workplace,
With his partner,
And in the wider community.
Think about it…
If you had a flat tire, which of these two scenarios would make you respect someone more?
A man stops to sympathize with you, fiddling with his phone and expressing his solidarity. He tells you how upsetting it was for him when something similar happened and how he’ll wait until the tow truck arrives.
A man stops to change your tire, flashing a brief smile and effortlessly cranking the jack and working the wrench to take off your flat tire and put on the spare. He leaves with a wave, wishing you a great day.
I think we both know the answer to that question.
6) Confidence in his decisions
Decisions can be hard, but truly intimidating men always stand behind their decisions and make them with confidence.
They weigh up the pros and cons and go for it:
They don’t try to depend on others (“Yeah, but you told me that…”)
They don’t try to seek self-pity (“Ah, it’s just so hard, I just don’t knooow…”)
They don’t overanalyze and second-guess (“Well maybe that would be good, but then again…”
Alpha males and confident guys make mistakes just like any of us, but they don’t revel in this or go on and on about it, and they take ownership of their own choices – good or bad.
Author Renee Wade zeroes in on this, writing:
“An alpha male is so strong in his choices; and he is so stable in his own choices (ie: his truth, through his well-developed sense of direction).
His innate sense of masculine direction hasn’t been quashed (by parents, society, or the schooling system). As such, his direction is so strong that other people’s opinions only count for so much. His choices matter the most.”
7) Standing up for what’s right
What makes a man intimidating?
Standing up for what’s right.
There are so many “men” out there who will bend whichever way the breeze blows and support whatever is popular.
They’ll base their opinions on what they think others want to hear and back down immediately from any confrontation that seems inconvenient or uncomfortable.
But strong men don’t back down.
They don’t seek out a fight or a conflict, but they are never ever afraid to stand up for what’s right because without that they know they would be nothing.
Strong men may stand on opposite sides of the same issue from other strong men.
But in terms of principles, they will have the quality of staying true to their core values regardless of pressure or praise.
8) He stands by his woman
A strong and truly intimidating guy stands by his woman.
But not just in the stereotypical way that you’re thinking.
Also in the sense that he will bolster her self-esteem, support her during illness and struggle, and be there for her regardless of what is “expected” by society.
Let me clarify something here:
He’s not a simp or a pushover: he’s a strong guy consciously choosing to be there for his other half.
Jessica Blake explores this topic for Bolde, writing:
“A guy who really loves you and fights for you won’t have to show it physically, such as by punching some guy at the bar who keeps eyeing you out.
Those demonstrations of ‘strength’ are really more about the guy’s ego than anything else.
A guy who fights for you, really fights for you, will make it clear that he doesn’t want to lose you and he’ll support you when the rest of the world walks away.”
I want to add that sometimes an intimidating guy does literally stand up for his woman as well.
I’m not advocating violence, but let’s just say that if you try to mess with his girl or disrespect her the rest of your day might not be looking so pleasant.
9) Certainty about beliefs and core values
If you want to know what makes a man intimidating, look no further than a man who knows exactly what he believes and why.
There are all sorts of preset systems you can slot yourself into these days, from brand name allegiances to spiritual paths to outer identity labels.
And strong men may or may not be part of traditional belief systems.
But they will never believe something “because they were told to” or because everyone else does.
They will decide what is most important to them and then shape and approach the world directly from that conviction.
They have zero interest or temptation to change what they believe is true because of pressure, threats, praise, or persuasion.
This brings them respect from the outside world, even when it disagrees with their beliefs themselves, because game recognizes game.
10) Honesty even when it’s hard
Strong men don’t shy away from hard truths.
This means to other people and to themselves.
They tell it like it is and base their actions on the truth as much as possible.
Comforting lies are nowhere to be found.
This can make such men intimidating, especially to little kids or others who sometimes get scared by hard truths such as the fact we’re all going to die, that life isn’t fair or those bad people sometimes rule over us.
But the great thing is that in the end, a strong man ends up being the most reassuring to those around him because they know they’ll always get the unvarnished truth.
The website Power of Positivity has a good article on this, which puts this well.
“A strong man doesn’t see any point in beating around the bush. He wants clear communication at all times.
He sees no point in obscuring the truth with buttery, flowery speech. This is because he wants the honest, constructive truth quickly, and he believes that others would benefit most from receiving such honesty.”
Toxic masculinity vs. positive masculinity
If you want to be a truly intimidating man you need to become effective, competent, and action-oriented.
But many people have been convinced that being “too” masculine is aggressive and reckless…
The popular media often teaches us that being “manly” ends up being the same thing as being loud, pushy, and obnoxious.
In my view, one of the most cynical bait-and-switches that postmodern society has pulled is to convince millions of people that masculinity and toxic masculinity are the same things.
Toxic masculinity is violent, unstable, and weak.
It lashes out erratically, can’t hold its temper, seeks to control loved ones, and doesn’t recognize boundaries or basic respect.
Toxic masculinity isn’t masculine, it’s just being an asshole.
Real masculinity controls itself, only uses its temper when absolutely necessary, lets others have their freedom, and shows respect to people.
“The truth is that men do occupy different stations within our human social dominance hierarchies, and that these positions do play a vital role in how women vet mates and choose sexual partners…
Leveling up our masculine alpha traits also helps society, our families, and our tribes as well. The world needs more strong men. And alpha traits are the answer to the problem.”
Real masculinity doesn’t seek approval, validation, or applause, it just gets the job done.
Real masculinity doesn’t try to oppress or exploit others: instead, it does what it can to work cooperatively and make life better for everyone.
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