I’m a big fan of personal growth. So, I decided to do a little research on the topic of why (apparently) my male friends think I’m intimidating. The topic came up recently more than once (where you all talking to each other?) and it seemed worth investigating. So, I sent the question: “Why am I intimidating?” to 5 male friends.
I should note that none of my female friends seem to think I’m intimidating. Whether they were just being kind or genuinely incredulous when I asked remains to be seen. I’d like to lean toward the former. These are the same friends who will tell me not to wear a particular dress or tell me my other flaws so I think they’re pretty trustworthy.
But here’s what the guys said:
Male friend #1 replied to my question with a question: “Why do you think that you’re intimidating?” I told him I didn’t know and that’s why I’m asking him. “You’re probably the least intimidating person I know,” he wrote back. “I wouldn’t worry about it.” I wasn’t sure if I should be flattered or not. I mean, I kind of wanted to be a little intimidating. Next!
Male friend #2 was more candid (and very sweet). “You’re the most thoughtful person I know,” he wrote. “That’s why you intimidate me. I can’t live up to that.” This was a pretty surprising answer because it’s not really how I see myself at all.
Male friend #3 said I’m “too nice.” I think this was just a line and a way to get out of answering the question. (Come to think of it, I’m not really that nice so it must be a line.)
Male friend #4 was blunt: “Jenn, you don’t let anyone do anything for you. A man doesn’t like that unless he’s the kind of guy who still lives in his mother’s basement.” This was the same guy who tells me I “don’t look like I need a man.” Very interesting!
Male friend #5 (he’s the only one I’ve dated) wrote: “Intelligent women with good careers are intimidating to insecure men. That is the problem at the end of the day.” Women with careers is a pretty common theme with singletons in our 30’s so that seemed like a reasonable response. Often, we’re working too hard to even date!
Then I stepped back to think about what they had said: Is this really how I appear to others?
Thoughtfulness is intimidating? I’ll have to do more thinking on that one. I see myself as more flaky than thoughtful, actually. The same goes for being nice. I wasn’t aware that’s how I came off (if that statement is even true). For some reason I thought being thoughtful and nice were good things. How are they bad in this situation? I don’t think they are, actually.
As for #4: I will admit that it’s pretty true that I don’t like people (not just men) doing things for me that I could do myself. Being single I’ve had to just suck it up and do a lot of things myself because it’s a necessity. I guess that is a difficult habit to break. One that I plan to work on.
The only thing I can’t do anything about is my career. It’s a necessity unless I want to live with my parents. In the past I had even tried downplaying it a bit on my online dating profile. As expected, more guys had responded when I downgraded my job title but I felt like a big, fat liar and gave it up. (And soon gave up online dating altogether.)
Thanks, guys, for answering my question and for your approval to quote your answers here. You gave me a lot to think about!
Are you intimidating, too?