Live Through This

“Intimidating” Is Not a Compliment

We’re not scary!

Illustration by Ana

Illustration by Ana

Hazel and I have been friends since ninth grade. We met on the Internet (we read each other’s blogs) and then became friends IRL when we both took classes at a summer art program in Philadelphia. Even though we went to different schools and lived in separate towns, we bonded over our similarities: We were both nerdy, ambitious feminists who liked to dress up and joke around. Also, we’ve both been called “intimidating” by our peers, teachers, and parents, and all of them meant it as a compliment. But is it? A lot of girls we know have been called intimidating, so we decided to talk to each other about what this phenomenon actually means. —Gabby

GABBY: Do you remember what if felt like the first time someone described you as intimidating?

HAZEL: I was whining to a friend about boys not liking me, and he said, “I think guys are just intimidated by you.” I was offended—it seemed like a cop-out! I initially accepted people telling me I was intimidating, but the more I thought it the angrier I got. Intimidating does not mean cool or mysterious, it means scary. I’m quiet, but I don’t think I’m scary! How did you feel the first time someone called you intimidating?

GABBY: I remember feeling pretty satisfied. A friend in high school told me that other people found me intimidating—she said it in a way that wasn’t insulting. At first I interpreted it to mean mysterious or unapproachable; since I usually felt so self-conscious and insecure, I kind of thought, Yeah, definitely! Go on thinking I’m “intimidating: and not the socially awkward weirdo I feel like on the inside.

HAZEL: But then it’s like, Wait, why do these people feel like they can’t talk to me? And then you feel self-conscious.

GABBY: It’s like, Do they think I’m mean? I definitely used to get people saying, “Before I knew you, I thought you were a bitch.” That concerns me so much, because it makes me wonder what they were basing that assessment on—MY RESTING FACIAL EXPRESSION?

HAZEL: [Laughs] Yes!

GABBY: But seriously, I’d never want anyone to avoid getting to know me because of a vague rumor that I can be mean when it’s not even true. Also, I felt that by calling me intimidating, people were trying to turn into something negative, as in “I don’t want to work in a group with Gabby, she intimidates me.”

HAZEL: Oh shit, you’re right! Just thinking about this on a deeper level, I think I’m just really weirded out that the way I see myself isn’t how others see me, you know? Like I’ll think I’m being nice, but people think I’m mean, and that’s genuinely disturbing.

GABBY: Also, I’ve never felt intimidating in terms of my appearance.

HAZEL: Yeah, I don’t think I look intimidating.

GABBY: I don’t think you look intimidating, but you do have, like, an UNTOUCHABLE COOL. Like, I THINK YOU LOOK COOL.


GABBY: I don’t want people to think I’m intimidating, yet I also do this thing where I am intimidated by people who are similar to me. Maybe it’s a competition thing? I think I’ve got to unpack that. Like, immediately disliking another girl because you actually LOVE her outfit or something surface-y.

HAZEL: Yeah, I feel that. When I first met one of my best friends, I didn’t like her because she was just like me. I was weirdly protective of my status as the bookish one who knew all the answers in class à la Tracy Flick, and suddenly here comes this brilliant chick with perfect hair who had read as much Sylvia Plath as I had.

GABBY: I’ve felt this with basically every great friend I have—sort of like a game-recognize-game situation. You start out kind of jealous of them and then realize, Wait, whoa, I need this awesome person on my side. I think it’s common to be jealous of someone but you don’t want to admit it, so you call them intimidating. I struggle with distinguishing between jealousy, intimidation, and wanting to be someone’s friend. I guess I’m jealous of people who intimidate me because I wish I could feel as cool as they seem to actually be. I think that’s pretty healthy though. There are so many girls who exist doing great things and being interesting, why wouldn’t you want to be more like them?

HAZEL: I always say I’m jealous of practically everyone, but I really feel like, I wanna be like them so bad. Jealousy to me always implies anger. I don’t feel angry at people who are cooler than me—I don’t like want to wreck their life because they have a boyfriend and I don’t, or they hang out with rock bands and I don’t. Intimidation could just be feeling like you’re inadequate in comparison to a person. You feel like you’re not cool enough to even talk to them or know them.

GABBY: But people also project their own insecurities, too. I definitely do that. If I meet someone who is dressed really well, or just doesn’t seem interested in getting to know me, I write them off as intimidating or too cool instead of risking approaching them and having them reject me. I get intense admiration for people, and then get nervous that it won’t be reciprocated! But sometimes my instincts are right—I’ve met new people and thought they were too cool for me because they acted like they were too good to talk to me. Not worth my time!

HAZEL: I don’t want to waste time with people who won’t give me the time of day! But yeah, it seems like intimidation is all about projection. We’re all afraid to talk to people.

GABBY: But does being selective about your friends make you seem intimidating? Does reacting to intimidation make you intimidating?

HAZEL: Fuck—snake biting its own tail.

GABBY: I know!

HAZEL: I don’t think being selective makes you intimidating, and you’ll always encounter people who seem genuine and then it turns out they’re not, so it’s good to be aware of the vibes you get from people or what they’re saying about you. I think we uphold this idea of, like, Don’t care what other people think of ya! That is great and awesome, but it’s also totally normal to care what people think of you.

GABBY: Yes—I do not want people to assume the wrong things about me, so I guess I care what they think up to a point. I just don’t want someone to decide they dislike me because of a false assumption before they get to know me. When someone described me as intimidating when I was younger I was kind of like, Shit, do other people think this? Is this my fault? Should I be smiling more? I internalized it completely.

HAZEL: I mostly think I’m not responsible for someone else’s dumb feelings, because, well, I’m not—but I’m still affected by how they see me.

GABBY: When I imagine an intimidating person, I think of a physically strong girl wearing a black leather jacket and perfect cat eyeliner.

HAZEL: That’s hot. I wanna be that.

GABBY: I know, right? Sometimes being intimidating does sound kind of cool. Maybe I want people to be a little scared of me—maybe it’s better to have people think you’re scary, but then discover you’re kind and approachable. Better to be a hidden treasure.

HAZEL: Yeah! Most of the people I meet are very extroverted, and I think when they meet someone like me, who’s more introverted and quiet, they think I’m trying to be intimidating. I think people use the intimidation thing as an excuse to cover up the fact that they’re really just personally scared of talking to someone they think is super awesome.

GABBY: I just Googled the definition of intimidate, and it means “to make timid or fearful, frighten especially, or to compel or deter as if by threats.”

HAZEL: WE’RE NOT SCARY OR THREATENING! Even at my faux-witchiest, I’m not scary.

GABBY: I don’t think I’ve ever frightened someone into doing something for me, but one time in high school this boy I hated said that I scared him. Which I think I DID, because I basically tore apart his sexist, racist statements in class in a way that made him question his existence! But that was satisfying. I think confidence definitely gets roped in with intimidation, too. Like, if you’re a girl and you argue against something, people easily perceive you as an angry bitch. I feel like this hardly happens with guys in high school. They’re called “opinionated” or “courageous” when they speak up. I guess some people get nervous about the idea that a girl can be resilient and smart, so they try to invalidate those qualities by making them seem negative. What do you think about when parents say things like “Boys are just intimidated by you” as a way to explain why they’re not noticing you?

HAZEL: I hate it.

GABBY: I care a lot less now about whether a dude gives a fuck if I exist, but in high school I felt very uncrushable and I’d complain to my parents about not feeling cute.

HAZEL: Same! Totally undateable!

GABBY: And they’d be like, “Boys are just intimidated by your beauty/brains” or whatever. Of course my parents meant well, but honestly, I don’t think teenage boys were smart enough to actively be afraid of me in that way. I think it was more of a combination of me being shy and not conventionally attractive, and the fact that most teenage boys are pretty awkward too.

HAZEL: [Laughs] Yes!

GABBY: But I don’t like the idea that boys get to decide what makes a girl intimidating! I don’t think I’ve ever felt intimidated by a teenage boy, but I’m self-conscious around boys I think are cool.

HAZEL: I’ve been intimidated by teenage boys. I’ve had crushes on a lot of boys who were really cute and intelligent, but never acted on them. Boys are just inherently intimidating to me—I’m only friends with girls so I don’t understand boys like 99% of the time.

GABBY: Yeah, that makes sense. I’ve liked boys from afar, and I would automatically write them off because I thought they wouldn’t think I was cute, or I would guess that we wouldn’t share any interests. DUDE, I WAS PROJECTING A LACK OF CONFIDENCE AND BELITTLING OTHERS! Which is so messed up! I have to remind myself that even if you’re the perfectly intimidating girl in my head who wears a leather jacket and great eyeliner, you probably still feel insecure, and you have to pee just like everyone else, and you probably watch Netflix alone sometimes, too.

HAZEL: Wait, girls pee?

GABBY: Yeah, it was shocking the first time I found out. So I guess the moral is don’t describe people as intimidating unless they’re literally threatening you.

HAZEL: Exactly—that word isn’t a compliment! ALSO, we’re all intimidated by each other, secretly. ♦


  • amanda September 24th, 2013 11:22 PM

    Where did Tig Notaro go? :(

    • Danielle September 24th, 2013 11:29 PM

      Technical error – it will be up later this week!

  • Lily September 24th, 2013 11:38 PM

    This is perfect. I get called intimidating on a nearly-daily basis in a “complimenting” way and it just never feels right! People usually try to make it synonymous with independent or outspoken, but it’s not. And you guys just put it into words, so THANK YOU. Im really not scary and I wish people would stop thinking I am/stop being “intimidated” by me.

  • Roz G. September 24th, 2013 11:40 PM

    I loved this
    definitely been called intimidating waaay more times than I liked

  • decemberflower September 24th, 2013 11:44 PM

    It’s weird to me that Gabby and Hazel ever feel inadequate compared to other people considering that they are ALL I WANT TO BE IN LIFE

    • Hazel September 24th, 2013 11:54 PM

      Everyone feels inadequate and insecure sometimes! We’re all just insecure nerds!!! ! !! !

    • Gabby September 25th, 2013 12:03 AM

      Yes, we all have our cool and our not so cool moments! For instance, right now i am writing this comment from my bed, knee deep in homework, and wearing a mouthwash stained nightgown.

      • decemberflower September 25th, 2013 1:26 PM


  • Lucy September 24th, 2013 11:44 PM

    i found myself furiously nodding in agreement with so much of this

  • julalondon September 24th, 2013 11:46 PM

    I absolutely love this. It’s so funny because like two days ago my girlfriends and me were talking about the exact same Thing; -that other People thought of us as intimidating and therefore don’t speak to us. I don’t like that at all, i mean we are all really friendly, just shy and sometimes in our own world (if you know what i mean). Idk, People try to explain someone with that word and (hopefully) mean it in a good way, but actually, like you guys said, it’s not.

  • forevernymph September 24th, 2013 11:48 PM

    This article is so incredibly relevant to me right now. It seems like recently I’ve made a lot of new friends, especially since I just started high school and a lot of these friends were people that I went to middle school with, but just never talked to.
    The crazy part is though is that most of them say they are grateful they finally got to know me and that they’ve always wanted to, but felt too intimidated by me. When I first heard it, I didn’t take it as an insult or a compliment, more so I said “Wait why? Why were you intimidated?” and they say that they didn’t feel cool enough to talk to me or like I was above them…which is a strange thing to react to because they’re calling you cool, but also maybe saying that you seem narcissistic.

    This article really made me think a lot though and I just wanted to share that!

  • anustart September 24th, 2013 11:52 PM

    thank you hazel & gabby! you guys are just 2 cool! people always tell me i’m intimidating, but i usually just feel yucky and gross and extremely shy. it’s hard to make friends when everyone thinks you’re like totally mean or something.

  • Eryn September 24th, 2013 11:53 PM


  • irismonster September 24th, 2013 11:56 PM

    I get called intimidating all the time. It’s not without reason–I’m really competitive and have a terrible habit of getting way too deep into arguments that don’t really matter to me. I’m also super tall, and speak really loudly, so it all adds up to being… Intimidating. I wouldn’t argue with anyone who called me that, but it’s still offensive. It just brings up the whole issue of what people think of me. But it happens all the time (people have been calling me that since elementary school, I think,) so I’ve learned to like it–when I hear the word intimidating, I just mentally translate it to “powerfully feminine.” It might not be what they mean, but screw that, because I like it better.

  • mooyeah September 25th, 2013 12:11 AM

    I loved this so much, very relevant to my life. I was shocked when I heard that people have described me as being “intimidating” — i’m just your typical, awkward human being!!!!!!!

  • Hunter September 25th, 2013 12:35 AM

    I’ve been deemed “intimidating” by almost everyone who doesn’t know me for what feels like the better half of my life. I’m constantly on a teeter-totter of pride and depression because of it. There is a tiny bit of satisfaction in feeling like a BIG “SCARY” WOMAN (like the subjects of Namio Harukawa, Jonny Negron, and R. Crumb drawings), but once you get past that, it’s a horribly lonely place. A lot of the time I’d rather be a fragile, dewy Lisbon-esque girl, but that just ain’t in the cards for me. Forever scary.

  • wannabebotanist September 25th, 2013 1:04 AM

    This is so dead on! I’ve began to overcome my feelings of intimidation around certain people by reminding myself that they are normal people too, under their confident, cool exterior. I just have to remember, like everyone else, they’ve probably farted in public accidentally and got embarrassed, stumbled over words when talking to someone they like, or had a visible booger in their nose without realizing it! Everyone puts their pants on one leg at a time, wether they be covered in punk band patches, horseshoe stitching on the butt pockets, or plain, and unassuming.

  • sarahf September 25th, 2013 1:42 AM

    this has nothing to do with gabby and hazels convo, which i really liked, but I JUST HEARD MY PARENTS HAVING SEX I NEED TO MOVE OUT NOW seriously now.

    • Anaheed September 25th, 2013 4:33 AM


    • TinyWarrior September 25th, 2013 3:38 PM

      I’M SO SORRY YOU HAD TO EXPERIENCE THAT but at least they’re still attracted to each other I guess?

      • sarahf September 25th, 2013 5:42 PM


    • pinnedtothepage October 8th, 2013 11:36 PM

      Ahaha! That 70′s Show to the rescue? They have an episode about this hahs. Sorry for your trauma :)

  • ashleighbee September 25th, 2013 2:14 AM

    Oh my god, this is exactly me. I could have never put it so eloquently though! Another wonderful article.

  • Jasmine September 25th, 2013 2:33 AM

    This is so accurate! I’m introverted and really appreciate my alone time and I keep a small circle of close friends. I don’t know, I’m just one of those people who doesn’t lay it all out right in front of everyone. People who don’t spend the time to get to know me will only ever see the outside shell of “intimidating.”

  • Nimsi September 25th, 2013 3:22 AM

    boy oh boy can I relate! Many of my now close friends say that when they first met me I looked so intimidating and almost scary. it’s not that I’m mean or such a huge bitch, I guess it just has to do with my usual face expression: serious. Plus, I don’t like to talk much, specially with people I barely know, and when I do talk, I’m self conscious of my voice and the things I say. And about everything else! I guess people mistake that for anger/bitchyness. Also, the part about being an opinionated nerd didn’t help much…shy, opinionated, self conscious! I have everything going for me! Along with the jealousy part.. talk about story of my life! It’s funny though, for me it was like a self fulfilling prophesy. When people in my high school said I was intimidating or scary or “too goth looking,” I actually acted rude. I guess I unintentionally played the role of being a bitch. At one point my friends thought I was incapable of human emotions because of how I treated those people. I guess I felt insulted by those comments and I ended up doing as they expected!

  • aurea September 25th, 2013 3:45 AM

    I’m so grateful for rookie, especially when articles like this exist! I used to relish being told i was intimidating but then i realized that liking it and projecting my insecurities is what kept people away! I so wish that rookie was around when i was in middle/high school

  • elliecp September 25th, 2013 4:59 AM

    I’ve never been intimidating but that’s always been my problem…I get walked over because everyone just thinks I’m too nice and won’t confront them for it. I love reading articles like this, thankyou rookie <3

  • GinaSlash September 25th, 2013 5:06 AM

    I´ve never read an article on rookiemag that i could relate to so much!!! My friends have called me intimidating so often and they never meant it exactly mean but it always felt so mean. Sometimes I can´t even believe how they not see how insecure I am and confuse it with strength, like don´t they have any knowledge of human nature?
    And it´s incredible how Hazel and Gabby put in words exactly what I feel like, even though I think you guys are just awesome and I just wanna have friends like you and we would all understand that we are not intimidating and just the coolest girls in the universe! Also, Hazel, I loved it that you said you don´t have male friends, cause I also don´t really have any and I always feel like that´s a bad thing and my fault but its just because I´m too shyyyy!

  • Joyce September 25th, 2013 5:16 AM

    omg i love this. i just wanna hug you guys for everything you said here.

    “Boys are just inherently intimidating to me—I’m only friends with girls so I don’t understand boys like 99% of the time.” haha, i feel the same way.

  • whyamidreamingwhenimstillawake September 25th, 2013 6:38 AM

    What about when people don’t so much find you intimidating as just a bitch? (That was badly phrased sorry.) I get that I’m mean a lot. I don’t really think I’m mean, I just make sarcastic comments a lot, especially in response to other rude stuff people say. Underneath I think I’m a fairly nice person. What am I meant to say? Because I make one sarcastic comment in reply to some sort of sexist/heteronormative comment, and then I’m labelled as a horrible sarcastic bitch. It’s like (and this quote is from another rookie article a while ago and I think it fits in here quite well) do I swallow shit, or ruin the entire afternoon?

  • AliceS September 25th, 2013 6:53 AM

    People always tell me that I’ve the sweetest face and at the same time I look like a bitch. And this, apparently, makes me particularly intimidating. I’m still trying to understand what this means.

    • lilagrace September 25th, 2013 8:42 AM

      That’s a pretty shitty thing to say to you :(
      I sometimes wonder if it’s just people (subconsciously?) projecting something like
      “You remind me of someone who has hurt me or who has been mean to someone I care for “ onto the person they are telling that they “look like a bitch” (not that this would justify anyone calling you that).
      What I’m trying to say … it probably doesn’t have anything to do with you personally.
      If that makes any sense…

  • MaddieMae September 25th, 2013 8:11 AM

    See, people call me intimidating. . . and nice. I don’t understand. PICK A SIDE, PEOPLE.

    • VB September 25th, 2013 11:25 AM

      YES omg this is my life! i don’t get how a “friendly” person can be “intimidating”…

  • mayafairy September 25th, 2013 8:13 AM

    Once again, Rookie has demonstrated its knack for publishing just what I need, just when I need it. I get told I’m intimidating ALL THE TIME. I had no idea that this is something that other girls get too. I’ve also been told that I seem really bitchy and people usually don’t like me when they meet me. Here’s a quote from a blog post I wrote literally a week ago:

    “We were sitting with a couple of other boys who were all juniors and seniors… One of them told me that I’m ‘really intimidating,’ like I would ‘be a serial killer’. I get this all the time (not the serial killer part, although one of my friends tells me that I remind him of Jodi Arias) and I’m not sure why. Maybe because I don’t smile that much?”

    I kind of take it as a compliment, but I also kind of hate it since it makes me seem like an unlikeable person. The only good friends I have are ones that I’ve known for years who know that I’m not actually mean or whatever. I’ve also been asked why I look so pissed when I just have my normal face on (which is apparently a bitchface.)

  • Chloe22 September 25th, 2013 9:49 AM

    Well, according to a friend in 7th grade (i’m in 10th now), boys didn’t like me because I cared too much about how they acted or treated me. According to her, also, girls who don’t just focus on looks (in liking a guy) are desperate. There should be like an SNL skit where they act out things they said you should do in 7th grade!

  • flocha September 25th, 2013 10:03 AM

    Yay I loved this!I think that it does suck that sometimes people think I don’t like them because I’m quiet and I have to make an effort for my face not to look reeeally bitchy. However being able to turn on the intimidating thing can be useful when people are trying to mess you around. Or just being annoying.

  • Julianne September 25th, 2013 10:58 AM


  • soviet_kitsch September 25th, 2013 11:08 AM

    i’m disabled, look extremely young, and have always been super short, but i’ve been called “intimidating” pretty much my whole life lmfao. i’m very opinionated and don’t have any problem (gently) calling people out on bullshit, and i find that the people who don’t think i’m scary or unapproachable usually wind up understanding me best or becoming my closest friends, so it’s kind of a good way to weed people out.

  • Reflecco September 25th, 2013 2:17 PM

    I got to thinking about this, i’ve had close friends tell me that I can seem intimidating at first. I never saw this as a compliment either, actually it upset me quite a lot. But it stroke me, that the intimidation may lie with the non-urge to fit into a crowd. If you don’t feel a need to have people instantly like you, you won’t (as much) try to assimilate into that group. which i guess threatens the whole group dynamic… Idk, just got me thinking and thanks for that ;)

  • TinyWarrior September 25th, 2013 3:35 PM


    People say I look ‘intimidating’, ‘bitchy’, ‘rude’ and ‘mean’ when I’m not smiling. LIKE I’M SORRY THAT MY FACE DOESN’T ALWAYS LOOK 100% HAPPY, 100% OF THE TIME!

    Or guys. People tell me that my knowing a lot about politics/feminism (and vocally voicing those opinions) makes me “intimidating” to guys, and that that’s what is ‘scaring them away’. WHICH IS SERIOUSLY MESSED UP AND KIND OF IMPLIES THAT IT’S MY FAULT AND THAT I SHOULDN’T HAVE THOSE OPINIONS. Like I get that it’s sort of intended as a compliment BUT IT ISN’T GAAAH people are dummies sometimes

  • noaveragenerd September 25th, 2013 4:15 PM

    This is exactly what I have been dealing with my entire life. I never cared too much in high school because I had a few good friends, but now that I am in college, I don’t know anyone, don’t know how to approach them, and no one approaches me. I feel so alone, but this made me feel better because at least I am not the only one who is “intimidating.”

  • kimmi_kimz September 25th, 2013 4:39 PM

    Question: how does one even approach someone they find extremely cool on the outside? i want friends but i am TOO INTIMIDATED

    • lilagrace September 25th, 2013 5:24 PM

      Same here! Would love some advice.

    • o-girl September 25th, 2013 8:04 PM

      it’s hard but then really easy. say hi and if they look at you and scoff then walk away. it’s hard but you just realize that there’s nothing wrong with saying hi. then introduce yourself! you can do it. you’re probably charming and nothing bad would ever happen. at worst, you’d be embarrassed, but that’s not your fault AT ALL.

      • lilagrace September 25th, 2013 8:26 PM

        Thank you for that :)

      • kimmi_kimz September 26th, 2013 12:47 AM

        yes thank you! hopefully i can build up the guts to do that…

  • sophiaisprettycool September 25th, 2013 5:01 PM

    This is so fucking amazing I cannot even tell you. I’m one of those people that you either love or you hate because I’m kind of out there when it comes to my personality and dress and the way I project myself. So people tend to either love me or hate me. And I mean, I tend to not give a shit what people think but it’s still important because you’re not going to have a positive outlook on yourself if you get the sense that everyone hates you. I’m not saying I depend on people to tell me who I am, because I know who I am. But, being “intimidating” is a total insult because, to me, it’s a reason for people to not get to know me and to judge me. Which is just not cool. I mean just the other day I was talking to one of my friends about how I’ve never been in a relationship (sorry, stereotypical I know). And I swear to god she said “It’s just because you’re intimidating.” And when I asked her what she meant, she couldn’t explain it. I was like, what? That does NOT sound like a compliment. Anyway, thanks for posting this because it let me totally understand what this whole “intimidating” thing is about and how I should react to it. Keep doing what you’re doing ‘cuz it’s fuckin’ awesome.

  • o-girl September 25th, 2013 5:31 PM

    I was feeling really sad all day/still am about the fact that all these guys are outwardly mean to me and don’t care about how I feel and I thought that maybe it’s like I’m scary and that I seem like I don’t really have feelings or give a shit. Are they trying to get to me? I DON’T KNOW.
    But gahhhgahhgahhh it kind of ruined my day I felt so unworthy. Sometimes I feel like such an asshole which is probably within the realm of accuracy but I don’t want these boys to convince me that I really am. Everyone has always, constantly told me I was intimidating and I thought it was cool but now it makes me feel sad :(

  • Christi September 25th, 2013 6:56 PM

    This is my life…every damn day…I don’t know how to feel about it either

  • spudzine September 25th, 2013 6:59 PM

    I really love this conversation. Not only is this convo about a topic that’s generally unspoken about in society, but it’s honest as heck. I’ve always wondered about the jealousy-intimidation thing, because I feel the same way a lot of the time, I just don’t know what to call it. And people have told me that I seem unapproachable because of my personality, which I think is a totally uncool thing to say, since that makes me feel as if there’s something wrong with me, but maybe there’s nothing wrong with anybody. You know? I mean, at least in this aspect.

  • hadley September 25th, 2013 8:24 PM

    Thank you for this! I get called intimidating every other day, but it was the opposite for me. At first it really bothered me: why were people afraid of lil ol ME? I’m physically tiny so it made absolutely zero sense. I kind of like to own it now though. My boyfriend explained it in a way that I like. He said that people found me intimidating because I knew what I wanted and that I knew how to get it. I like to think of it like that. Now, whenever someone calls me intimidating, I like to think that they’re secretly admiring my efficiency or something. Basically I like being the girl people want on their good side.

  • pygmypuffs September 25th, 2013 11:45 PM

    I actually love when people say I’m intimidating. Like, I want them to be afraid of me. I want people to think I’m a bitch, and just automatically assume that I won’t take their shit. I think as girls, we are told to look sweet and approachable and to be accommodating, and by looking intimidating or scary or whatever, I’m pushing back against that. I’m working on a piece for my non-fiction class right now about why I identify as a bitch, and why it’s as big a part of who I am as my gender and sexual orientation. I think being seen as intimidating is a part of that as well. Embracing my inner bitch has really helped me to be more assertive and not care as much what people think of me. When someone calls me a bitch, I think, Good, that means I’m not just letting you walk all over me like I was raised and socialized to do. I mean, sure, some people don’t talk to me because I’m intimidating or look mean or whatever, but I don’t want to talk to people who think you have to look a certain way anyway.

    • Edith November 10th, 2013 12:06 PM

      Yes. I agree so much with that. Like, I don’t see how it’s not

  • crapbag September 26th, 2013 1:52 AM

    I’m a 5’10″ gal who prefers to let her facial muscles rest most of the time. I get intimidating a lot.
    But from my personal experience I can tell you there are two types of tall gals, ones who are sweet and a little awkward, and ones who are feared and regal as hell. I ain’t saying there is anything wrong with being sweet, but I played the role of the hunchee, trying to accommodate to the shorter folk of the world and appear insignificant but that never worked so well. Now I walk like I own the pavement, shooting demond laser glares at old men who dare glance my way. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with being intimidating if you ask me. Although I think when it’s used as a copout excuse then yeah, it’s a piece of poop but otherwise, take it in your stride.
    In my opinion, it weeds out the weak. Like I know I am a triple threat, but if you still wanna talk to me, I know you’re legit, and we will be mates. Also same with dudes, my height semi works as natural selection for kicking out insecure buttheads.

  • Lilly September 26th, 2013 8:42 PM

    I’m still happy to be seen as intimidating

  • loonylizzy September 26th, 2013 9:33 PM

    “Before I knew you, I thought you were a bitch.”
    just because i’m quiet and relatively smart and i dress differently doesnt mean im some raging bitch. i dont mind being called intimidating as much but when people assume i’m mean it drives me crazy!

  • queenkrule October 8th, 2013 5:06 PM

    As I was reading this, all I kept saying to myself was “YES!” because I can relate to this so much. Throughout high school I was very shy and I didn’t have much friends and I still don’t but anyways after meeting people, I would always get this “you’re so quiet before I met you I thought you were mean.” No one ever called me intimidating, not that I recall that is but I did and still do get the “boys are just intimidated by you” BS from my parents, I’m very undateable as well which results in me always crying to my parents about how no boy likes me. I also got told by my crush, well not directly but my crush told my sister that I always mugged him and that he thought I was mean (not the attack-and-rob mug but the i-hate-you mug.) I guess he mistook the drooling and heart eyes for dirty looks? I have to admit I did stare a lot but I was just trying to seduce him with my eyes. I also got told I looked mad all the time by my classmates. I feel like all of those things said to me are a variant of “you are intimidating.”

  • astylemisfit October 14th, 2013 12:03 AM

    I cannot begin to explain how much I can relate to this. ~*~*DAiLy STrUggLEz*~*~

  • hannahmb October 18th, 2013 9:14 PM

    wooooooowowowowoow this is me!!! literally a daily struggle, the whole being selective about my friends makes me unapproachable so does being confident, so does my love for fashion and the way i dress, just last week i was told my “overall look” is highly intimidating?? particularly with boys, they are just jerks to me because i don’t fit the ‘normal’ criteria for females my age i just get written off. i don’t get it, and it just makes me mad that in 2013 people, men and women, are intimidated by confidence and strength and intelligence? ugh people suck