An intimidating person is usually someone who is seen as successful, assertive, and most of all, confident. It’s a word that’s sometimes used in a bad way, because it can also describe someone who seems unapproachable, but overall, most people strive to come off as intimidating rather than timid or quiet. After all, being intimidating doesn’t have to mean you’re rude or awful – it can mean that you have a certain quality about you that makes you seem powerful, in a way. I say we lean all the way into it. If it’s about being more confident, then we should all want to be more intimidating.
But, as with so many other things, there are sexist elements to the word. In general, when a man is thought of as intimidating, people believe he’s doing something right – he’s in control in a good way. When a woman is thought of that way, it often accompanies words like “bitch” and “annoying.” You know what? Embrace it. Be confident instead of self-conscious, and throw people off with that confidence instead of keeping to yourself. Who doesn’t want to be more brazenly cool and appear really put together? If you want to borrow some easy life hacks, take it from this shy weirdo who somehow gets called intimidating on the regular (I personally blame my leather jacket and height): these are nine ways you can be more intimidating right now.
Show Up To Places By YourselfI go to a lot of places by myself, whether it's a party or the movies - I don't mind showing up alone to social events. I had no idea flying solo made anyone seem intimidating until my friend pointed out that she felt that way about me. I told her it made me feel like a bit of a loser, but she said that the fact that I was secure enough to go places alone was actually intimidating. Apparently, not falling apart when you're by yourself and others are coupled up is rare, and people look at it in a more positive light than what I initially thought. So, evidently, rolling up to the party stag is actually a sign that you're the most confident person in the room. Who knew?Source: iStock
Don't Move Out Of The WayI noticed a few friends of mine as well as some strangers on the internet take part in their own self-guided experiment where they didn't move out of the way for guys coming their way. Anyone want to take a guess as to how many people smacked into the women doing the experiment? A whole lot more than you would think.That being said, we're conditioned to make way for people we perceive to be of higher status than us, even if it's unconsciously, because guess what? The people we're supposed to make way for have been unconsciously taught that we'll just move over. I say screw that. Knock into my shoulder. Who cares? We all belong in the same hallway. Source: iStock
Only Laugh When Something Is FunnyTrust me on this and try this rule. You'll be surprised how much you laugh because it's the polite thing to do or you want to protect someone's feelings. It's weird how divisive something like not finding the same thing funny can be, and yet it totally is. Not laughing when you don't find something funny communicates that you're solid in your point of view and that it's strong more quickly than most things. You don't owe anyone your positive feelings or laughter! If something isn't funny, don't laugh. Period. Of course, don't be deliberately rude, but even giving yourself the freedom not to can make you feel a bit more bold.Source: iStock
Own Your LookNothing is more intimidating than a girl who seeks zero outside approval for how she shows up in the world. Follow your own trends instead of focusing on what everyone else is doing. Hone your own unique sense of style by wearing whatever feels good and makes you feel more confident. Rocking a look that's a bit out there gives off a confidence that doesn't come by easily. So take big style risks, wear heels around short guys, who cares. Just do you and own it one hundred percent. Source: iStock
Be Vocal About Your OpinionYou don't have to be loud IRL for this to really pay off. Does anyone really know what you think, or do you keep it to yourself? Being halfway there or ambivalent when it comes to too many things doesn't really inspire a ton of confidence in you or let others think you have a larger personality. Whether it's in class, online (aka typed out, shy girls), or just telling your friend you don't like tomatoes so you don't have to eat something you know you're not going to like when you're over her house. Have an opinion, say it, even if it's controversial, and make it known. Source: iStock
Keep A Level HeadIt's so simple, but it can get you a long way when it comes to that enigmatic confidence we all want. When you're walking or moving through a crowd, keep your head level. Looking down constantly or when you meet someone else's gaze makes you appear weak whereas looking up for the same reasons make you seem snobbish or flighty and not in a good way. Want all of the good and none of the subtle body language judgement that tells everyone otherwise? Keep your head level and straight on top of your spine, shoulders back. Source: iStock
Take Up All Of The SpaceReally notice how your body is most of the time. Are you constantly curling yourself into a ball by slouching or folding your body over? Are you always halfway to lying down by slumping? Take a note from the dudes who take up two seats on public transportation for no reason and let your body occupy space. Obviously it does because that's how bodies work, but actually let yourself be expansive and not have to say sorry for getting the seat you want. Did you get there first, put your bag down, and get comfy? Cool, now it's yours. Without trying to sound like too much of a hippie, be in the space you're in and really fill it. Source: iStock
Make Direct Eye ContactIf and when you can, meet someone's gaze straight-on. Not coyly copping a look from the corner of your eye, looking up really quick and then looking away, or totally staring daggers either. Just look someone in the eye and talk to them. It's surprising how much we all avoid it, which is why doing it makes you seem more intimidating. I know this can be awkward because the other person can also get weirded out, but you know what? That's not your problem. What do you have to hide or be shy about? There's no need to stare, but there's actually nothing weird about locking eyes with someone.Source: iStock
When In Doubt, Have A SecretOkay, even the most intimidating women falter and don't feel so good. So, what then? Here's a quick hack to get you by on some quick-and-dirty bravado that will make everyone think you have some sort of mystery about you: think of a secret no one else knows (for whatever situation you're in). It doesn't have to be huge or life shattering and can be as silly as "I totally wore this yesterday and you have no idea." It'll get you some miles out of a (justified, because secrets) knowing smirk, little glint in your eye, and the confidence that comes from being mischievous even in the slightest of ways.Source: iStock
Has anyone called you intimidating? Do you love it? Do you want to be more intimidating? Let us know in the comments!
You can follow the author, Aliee Chan, on Twitter.