10 Signs You Have a Strong, Intimidating Personality

What comes to your mind when I ask you to picture someone with good self-esteem, confidence, and determination? For most of us, this is the kind of person we aspire to be — more fearless, outspoken, and strong-willed. In reality however, people who are like this sometimes rub people the wrong way. Their personality is so strong that some would feel intimidated by it. Does this sound like you?

If you’re still thinking about it, here are 10 signs that can help you realize whether or not you have a strong, intimidating personality:

1. You’re a natural-born leader.

Do you often find yourself taking charge and leading the group when no one else is willing to? Do people turn to you when they don’t know what to do next or how to accomplish it? If you answered yes, then it’s most likely that you have a focused, confident, assertive, and goal-oriented personality, all of which make for a great leader (Muteswa, 2016)! The downside, however, is that it also tends to put some people off because it might make you come across as too serious, bossy, or controlling.

2. You’re unapologetically yourself.

Similar to the last point, the reason why you’re so unapologetically yourself is the very same thing that makes you such a natural-born leader: you don’t seek validation from others (Asendorpf & Wilpers, 1998). And while it might make some people see you as rigid or disagreeable, you won’t let that stop you from being yourself and going after what you want. Strong-willed and fiercely independent, you march to the beat of your own drum and yours alone.

woman surrounded by sunflowers raising hand

3. You’re brutally honest.

Another reason why some people might be hesitant to approach or befriend you is because of your brutally honest nature. Not one to walk on eggshells or beat around the bushes, you’re not afraid to just come out and tell people what you think they need to hear. You speak your mind because it’s what you think is the right thing to do, and you wish other people did the same, too.

4. You question instead of conform.

While most people might be satisfied with simply accepting the status quo and doing things “the way they’ve always been done,” you’d rather question things than blindly conform to them like everyone else. Analytical, original, and open-minded, you are driven to discover new ideas and new ways of doing things because you’re always looking to improve and be better. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is not something you’d ever agree with.

5. You don’t make excuses. 

Another reason why people might be intimidated by you is because of how tenacious and steadfast you can be at times, especially when you set your mind to something. “You can have results or you can have excuses,” you’d always say, “Not both.” So whether it’s with yourself or other people, you make sure to set clear goals and expectations that you expect to be followed (Graziano, Jensen-Campbell, & Hair, 1996).

6. You’re careful about who you let in.

While people might see you as cold and heartless just because you tend to be guarded around others, the truth is, you’re just careful about who you let in. You want to be sure first that someone is really worth trusting before you let yourself open up to them. And hey, there’s nothing wrong with that! You owe it to yourself to protect your energy. 

7. You overcome your insecurities.

The truth is, everyone struggles with their own insecurities, and most people will for the rest of their lives. We all have flaws and shortcomings, and we all do what we can to learn to live with them. But you’d rather face your insecurities head on and work to overcome them if you can than pretend like you don’t have any. And overcoming those insecurities has only made you feel more confident and in control, which in turn might make you more intimidating to other people.

8. You have a strong sense of right and wrong.

Similar to our earlier points, when you believe in something, you stand firm in your principles and you don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You believe in your own sense of right and wrong, and you won’t compromise your values no matter how hard things get. You won’t ever let anyone talk or force you into doing something that goes against what you believe in because you live your life according to those strong moral values, not other people’s opinions.

9. You are driven and ambitious.

There’s nothing wrong with being ambitious, but it certainly seems like it to some people sometimes. Others might think you’re arrogant or overconfident because you “flaunt your future plans and goals to everyone,” but you’d rather be disliked for your ambition than forced into mediocrity. Because that’s just who you are! You have big dreams in life and you’re committed to becoming the very best version of yourself you can be.

10. You welcome challenges.

Last but certainly not the least, while other people might run away from conflict and let difficulties scare them into giving up altogether, not you. No, never you. Because you welcome challenges; you find it exciting to push yourself and relish the opportunity to grow and change. You’re not afraid of failure because you know that whatever happens, you’re always going to be able to pick yourself back up and try again. And that might intimidate people because it’s a very rare, very admirable quality to have (Rholes, Simpson, & Grich Stevens, 1998)!

woman stands on mountain over field under cloudy sky at sunrise

So, do you relate to any of the things we’ve mentioned here? Do you think you might have a strong, intimidating personality? Or did this article help you better understand someone else in your life who does?

Either way, there’s nothing wrong with having a strong personality, even if it intimidates those around you. Sometimes the way we act can push people away, especially if they misunderstand the meaning behind our behaviors. But you shouldn’t change or compromise who you are just to make other people feel more comfortable being around you, the real you!

As Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie once said in her TED Talk about feminism, “Am I worried that men would be intimidated by me? Not at all, because a man who will be intimidated by me is exactly the kind of man I would have no interest in.”


  • Muteswa, R. (2016). Qualities of a good leader and the benefits of good leadership to an organization: A conceptual study. European Journal of Business and Management, 8(24), 135-140.
  • Graziano, W. G., Jensen-Campbell, L. A., & Hair, E. C. (1996). Perceiving interpersonal conflict and reacting to it: the case for agreeableness. Journal of personality and social psychology, 70(4), 820.
  • Asendorpf, J. B., & Wilpers, S. (1998). Personality effects on social relationships. Journal of personality and social psychology, 74(6), 1531.
  • Rholes, W. S., Simpson, J. A., & Grich Stevens, J. (1998). Attachment orientations, social support, and conflict resolution in close relationships. The Guilford Press.

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