Do you sometimes feel people are kind of… taken aback by you? They act nervous and fidgety in your presence? This can make you feel pretty confused, because you know you have no bad intentions. But even if you mean well, your personality could sometimes be intimidating to others. You could be assertive, confident or opinionated, but for some, it could be just a bit too much. If you’re not sure if you’re just imagining or not, check out these 6 signs others are intimidated by you, but trying not to let you know.
1. They avoid eye contact
Eye contact can tell you a lot about a person’s feelings. And in some cases, it can be a sign of fear. Do you feel like people avoid looking at you directly? They could be nervously looking around when you talk to them, or maybe they start doing something else to appear busy, like folding papers or checking something “important” on their phone. If this happens often when you’re trying to have a conversation with them, it could be a sign they’re a bit scared of you.
2. They don’t engage in conversation
Do you usually lead the conversation? You bring your ideas and opinions to the table, but others don’t quite follow? This could mean they are intimidated by you. They might be afraid to voice their opinions or speak up, or they feel they can’t get their word in. Maybe they are afraid you’d criticize them for what they said, so they choose to just be quiet instead.
3. They speak quietly or in a high-pitched voice
Another sign you could look out for is the tone of their voice. When someone is speaking quietly or in a high-pitched voice, it usually means they feel submissive or intimidated by the other side. Of course, this doesn’t apply to those who usually speak that way. Try paying attention to how they speak with other people, and compare it to your last conversation. If there’s a difference, maybe they really do find you intimidating.
4. They agree with you on everything
Does everyone always tell you you’re right? About pretty much everything? And no matter the topic, people don’t usually oppose your opinion? Maybe they’re actually scared of your reaction. Disagreeing with people can be tricky, especially if we disagree with someone who we think is intimidating. Because of that, they just tell you what you want to hear.
5. They won’t stand too close to you
We all have our personal space. That means we let some people come near us (and we tend to go near them), but we avoid the ones we’re uncomfortable around. Do you feel that usually people avoid being close to you? Maybe they keep their distance in the same room as you, sit on a chair furthest away from you, or just simply take a few steps back when you approach them. If that happens, it could mean they feel intimidated and are trying to stay back to feel more comfortable.
6. They over-apologize
Somebody accidentally bumps into you, and that minor inconvenience is immediately followed by: “Oh my gosh! I’m so sorry! I’m really sorry!“. Of course, when some small accidents like these happen, it’s polite to say sorry. But the difference between a normal and intimidating sorry could be in the way the apology is brought up. Do they seem very nervous, with a serious look on their face and their eyes wide open? And even if you say “It’s okay” like, three times, they still don’t really seem relaxed? Well, maybe you could take it as a sign you’re intimidating to them.
What do you think, could these signs explain why people act odd around you? Do you think you do actually seem a little bit intimidating? Even if you do, just being aware of it could help you. Now that you know what might be the case, try subtly letting people know that how they see you is not really who you are. Smile a bit more, compliment others or ask them how their day went. They’ll surely get comfortable with you in no time!
Grant, E. T. (2019, February 5). 8 Unexpected Signs You May Be Giving Off Intimidating Energy. Bustle. https://www.bustle.com/p/8-unexpected-signs-you-may-be-giving-off-intimidating-energy-15922540
Roman, C. (2021, November 11). 16 signs you have a strong intimidating personality that might scare some people. Nomadrs. https://nomadrs.com/signs-you-have-a-strong-intimidating-personality/
Schumacker, L. (2018, June 8). 8 signs people are intimidated by you — even if you don’t realize it. Insider. https://www.insider.com/signs-people-are-afraid-intimidated-2018-6