Home » Psychology: 8 unexpected behaviors that may make you appear intimidating – a deeper look

Psychology: 8 unexpected behaviors that may make you appear intimidating – a deeper look

Ever had someone step back a bit after your first handshake?

Or notice how people seem to conveniently make room for you when you walk into a crowded room even when they shouldn’t have to?

Well, it could be that you’re coming off as a bit more intimidating than you think.

Intimidation, often associated with a display of power or threat, can sometimes manifest in the subtlest of ways. It could be a dominant posture, an intense stare, or even an unconscious habit that makes others feel somewhat…overpowered.

But here’s a thought: what if these behaviors aren’t intentional?

Or better yet, what if you’re completely unaware that your actions are casting such an imposing shadow?

That’s right, folks: sometimes we unknowingly appear intimidating and it’s not necessarily because we’re trying to flex our muscles or assert dominance. It could simply be certain behaviors we’ve adopted over the years that make us seem more daunting than we truly are.

Today, we’re going to delve a bit deeper into this unexpected phenomenon and explore 8 behaviors that might be turning you into an unintentional ‘intimidator’.

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So buckle up, grab a mirror and let’s take a journey into your potential hidden formidable side! Ready?


Psychology: 8 unexpected behaviors that may make you appear intimidating - a deeper look
© Repwelter


1. The power stance

Ever caught yourself with your hands on your hips, feet spread wide, looking like a superhero surveying their city? This posture, colloquially referred to as the power stance, can come across as quite intimidating! It’s a pose that screams confidence and dominance, and if you’re striking it unknowingly, it could just be sending out the wrong signal.

2. Unvaried tone of voice

Have you listened to your voice lately? I mean, really listened? You might be surprised to learn that a monotone or unvaried voice can be quite off-putting. It implies control, sureness, and can lead others to feel you’re not open to discussion or negotiation. So keep an ear out for variation in your tone!

3. Not blinking enough

Sounds odd, doesn’t it? But it’s true. An unwavering gaze without blinking can be pretty intimidating. It’s like you’re laser focusing on the person in front of you, which can make them quite uncomfortable. Blinking normally and looking away from time to time can help bring down the intimidation factor.

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4. Intense eye contact

Speaking of gazes, did you know that intense eye contact can seem a bit… over the top? Sure, eye contact is a good thing, indicating attentiveness and honesty. But there’s a fine line between good eye contact and a staring contest! Let’s not accidentally cross it.

5. Speaking too quickly

Ever been in a conversation with someone who speaks a mile a minute? It can be overwhelming and come off as domineering. While speaking quickly can show excitement, it can also signal that you’re not open to others’ input. So remember, breathe, and take it slow.

6. Taking up too much space

Now, this one’s a bit tricky. Of course, you need your space, but spreading out too much (be it at a meeting table or a public transport seat) can seem like you’re claiming more than your fair share. It might appear as if you’re asserting your dominance, even if you’re just trying to get comfortable.

7. Interrupting others

Interruptions can be innocent, a sign of enthusiasm even. But frequent interruptions can come off as rude and assertive. Remember, everyone likes to be heard and feel that their opinion matters. So let’s try to keep the interruptions to a minimum, shall we?

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8. Always having the last word

Getting in the last word can sometimes seem like a victory, but did you know it can also make you seem a bit intimidating? It’s like you’re subtly asserting your superiority in the conversation. So next time, give someone else the chance to wrap things up!

So there you have it! Quite surprising, aren’t they? These simple behaviors could be making you appear more intimidating than you actually are. Remember, this piece doesn’t claim to have all the answers and certainly isn’t professional advice – I’m not a psychologist after all! But just being aware of these behaviors can make a significant difference in how we relate to others.

Think back to that first handshake, or walking into a crowded room. By understanding and adjusting these behaviors, you might just notice fewer people stepping back and more people inviting you in. It’s all about striking the right balance!

Remember, this is for your awareness and consideration. And while it’s fun to explore these possibilities, at the end of the day, you are who you are. So here’s to being the best, and least intimidating, version of ourselves!

Michael H. Clifton
Written by, Michael H. Clifton
Hi, I'm Daniel, a 37-year-old lifestyle writer with a passion for understanding the human mind. I live in the city but I also love taking nature walks to escape the urban hustle. Join me on my journey as I explore the balance between city life and the calming influence of nature.