When a guy finds you intimidating (and 3 things you can do about it)

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Are you interested in a guy, but he says he finds you intimidated? If so, you’re not alone. In fact, this happens a lot.

Today, women are smart, successful, beautiful, powerful, and capable of standing on their own. This can be intimidating to men and frustrating for you.

In this article, what he means when he says he’s intimidated by you. We’ll also give you the scoop on how to know if a guy is intimidated by you.

Then, we’ll explore the reasons why he might find you intimidating. Finally, we’ll give you tips on how to be less intimidating to men.

What does he mean when he says he’s intimidated by me?

Whether you’re talking about a friend, romantic partner, or love interest, you may sometimes feel like you’re speaking two different languages. One of the most confusing things women are told by men? That they’re “intimidating.”

When a guy finds you intimidating, it can mean several things. If you’re dealing with an honest and direct person, he may be laying his heart bare:

He may honestly be intimidated by you for one of the reasons we’ll address later.

This confession may also be his way of testing the waters to see if you’re interested in him. If you jump in and reassure him, he is likely to see that as a green light from you.

However, if you don’t go out of your way to set his fears at ease, he may proceed with caution or stop pursuing you entirely.

In other cases, he may be telling you that he’s used to interacting with different kinds of women.

Maybe he’s only dated pushovers. Or, he might not have much dating experience at all. Telling you he’s intimidated by you may be his way of letting you know he’s in uncharted territory.

On a similar note, his last relationship may have ended poorly. When a guy tells you he’s intimidated by you, it may not be about you at all. He may be afraid of entering into a relationship only to blow it again.

How do you know if a guy finds you intimidating?

In some instances, you may suspect that a man is intimidated by you — even though he never comes right out and says it.

Here are some things to look for if you think a guy is intimidated by you:

  • He flirts, but he never asks you out. This is a tricky one because he may just be a flirt. But he also may not be confident that you’ll say “yes.”
  • He seems really nervous around you. It’s normal to feel nervous and act awkward around someone you like — especially if they intimidate you.
  • He smiles at you but hasn’t approached you yet. Smiling isn’t just friendly; it’s also a sign of interest. If you constantly catch him smiling at you but he hasn’t made a move yet, he may be working up the confidence to talk to you but holding back because he’s intimidated.
  • He doesn’t look you in the eye when he talks to you. So he finally starts a conversation — and then avoids making eye contact with you the whole time? He could be shifty, but he’s probably just intimidated.
  • He acts jealous and/or competitive. Being intimidated by someone doesn’t feel good — especially for more “macho” types of men. If he’s feeling intimidated by you, you may notice him acting jealous or putting you down. You may also notice him trying to outsmart you or “beat” you at things. While these behaviors may be annoying, they may also be his way of dealing with his feelings of inadequacy.

Why are men intimidated by women?

There are many reasons why men are intimidated by women. If a man tells you he’s intimidated by you (or if you think he may be), it may be because of one of these four reasons.

1) You’re successful

Men have historically been the sole providers. However, this has changed over the years as more women entered the workforce.

Today, women hold more jobs than men! Despite this shift, some men still hold onto the idea that they should outearn their partners.

Consider these statistics. Just 3.8 percent of women earned more than their husbands in 1960.

Now, approximately half of women bring home higher paychecks than their husbands. This can lead to many emotions in men, such as feelings of inadequacy, embarrassment, and guilt.

Women aren’t just working more and making more money. They’re also climbing higher up the corporate ladder. In fact, a whopping 87 percent of global mid-market companies have women in senior management roles.

The good news? There are plenty of supportive men out there who would be proud to be in a relationship with a breadwinner. If a guy is making you feel bad because you earn a lot of money, you can do better.

2) You’re smart

Being smart is a good thing, right? Not necessarily, at least if it’s interfering with your love life. Research shows that while many men say they’re attracted to smart women, they often end up feeling intimidated — and less attracted.

They may not even be aware that it’s happening, but this unconscious reaction can bring a new relationship to a grinding halt.

If you’re a smart woman, this situation can be especially frustrating. After all, you’re proud of your intelligence. Shouldn’t your partner be, as well?

3) You’re “out of his league”

Being out of someone’s league can mean many things. It can mean that you’re brilliant, beautiful, or successful.

It can also mean something as (seemingly) as being too tall. But it all boils down to the same thing: the presumption that you’re too good to be with him.

If a man thinks you’re out of his league, he may feel like he doesn’t have a chance with you. Or, he may be worried that you’ll end up leaving him when you realize you can do better.

This may be one of the most frustrating reasons why men are intimidated by women. If you’re interested in a man and he’s interested in you, shouldn’t that be good enough? Unfortunately, the answer to this question is “no.”

Being “out of someone’s league” is kind of like being overqualified for a job. Even if you desperately want it and feel like you’re a perfect fit, you may still be turned away because the company thinks you’ll be unsatisfied.

4) You appear unapproachable

You probably don’t even know you’re doing it, but you may be giving off unapproachable vibes. Maybe you have RBF (resting bitch face). Or maybe you just look like you want to be alone.

There are many reasons you may turn men away before you even talk to them. After all, 97 percent of communication is non-verbal.

The takeaway? Your body language means a lot.

Here are some specific things you may be doing with your body language that make you seem unapproachable:

  • You stand with your arms crossed
  • You avoid eye contact
  • You’re always on your phone
  • You rarely smile
  • You have nervous habits, like playing with your hair, fidgeting, and tapping your foot
  • You “hide” behind things, such as your purse or a drink
  • You slip into a room (as opposed to walking in with your head held high)

How to be less intimidating to guys

We’ll start by saying that being intimidating to guys is not something to feel bad about.

In fact, it probably means that you’re living a pretty amazing life — whether it’s because you’ve got a great job, you look fabulous, or your IQ is off the charts.

However, if it’s putting a crimp in your love life, you may want to do something about it.

The best part? You don’t have to change who you are to attract more men by being less intimidating. Instead, you can adjust some of your behaviors.

Think of it this way: men aren’t necessarily lying when they say they like high-achieving women. However, they may not like some of the behaviors typically exhibited by high-achieving women.

We’ll get to tips for curbing these behaviors in a few minutes, but first — some important backstory.

Successful and intelligent women tend to approach their love lives with the same energy they bring to their jobs. This energy may be perceived as more “masculine” than “feminine.”

At the end of the day, even the most liberated men want to feel like men. As the saying goes, opposites attract. In the case of relationships, this means that strong women may attract more passive men.

If that’s the kind of man you prefer, then you’re in good shape. However, if you are more interested in traditional “alpha” men, you’re in a different position.

According to relationship coach Sam Wunder, many women also go out of their way to impress men. This can mean everything from opening doors to reaching for the check.

This can make the situation even worse.

According to Wunder, the key to attracting men may be in allowing yourself to be more vulnerable. This isn’t about being less than who you are. Letting your guard down and opening your heart is necessary in love, insists Wonder.

With these things in mind, here are some things you can do to be more approachable when a guy finds you intimidating:

1) Use positive body language

Are you constantly on your phone in public? Do you stand with crossed arms or avoid eye contact? Do you furrow your brow and avoid eye contact at all costs? If so, you may be giving off major ice queen vibes.

Examples of positive body language include making direct eye contact, leaning in to talk to someone during a conversation, relaxing your arms and legs, and smiling.

A secret weapon to being more approachable? Mirroring. This simply means adopting the body language of the person you’re talking to. Typical ways to mirror include smiling, leaning forward, and standing up straight.

In addition to making you seem more open, mirroring can also help you appear more empathetic.

2) Embrace your feminine side

We’re not saying you should completely change who you are to attract a man. There are some small things you can do to make sure the men in your life feel important and needed.

It can be something as simple as asking for a favor or help. Many women avoid asking for help because they don’t want to appear needy or dependent.

But the reality is that everyone — men and women alike! — wants to feel needed. So show him you need him by genuinely asking for help every now and then. It can be as simple as opening a jar or asking his opinion on your shoes.

Compliments are good, too! When he does something nice or looks particularly good, let him know you appreciate it.

3) Don’t hide your humanity

Earlier, we touched on how high-achieving women often end up bringing their work energy into their personal lives.

For better or for worse, that energy may be necessary at workplace. However, it can have unfortunate effects in matters of love.

Relationships are built on vulnerability. Letting our guards down is the key to connecting with other people. More to the point, men don’t expect you to be perfect.

They don’t want you to be perfect either. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake, look clumsy, or be “off your game.” These foibles are opportunities to bond. They make you more relatable.

One last thing to keep in mind about when a guy finds you intimidating? It may be frustrating at times, but it can also mean you’re winning at life. So, we recommend taking it as a compliment.

And remember: While the tips above can help you be less intimidating to men, you should never change who you are to please someone else. There are plenty of men out there who will value all of the things that make you who you are.

Taking the time to find them is worth it!

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