I understand that to a certain extent, but am frustrated because I always try to smile and be friendly to people. I really doubt anyone who knows me well would say I was a bitch or give anyone a reason to be afraid of me. I feel that I am always having to make the first move with guys and I would like to feel as though I am being pursued, instead of the other way around for once. I think all the reasons my friend gave that I am intimidating are positive parts of my personality, so what am I doing wrong? Do you think I need to make some changes, or is this just something I’m going to have to deal with? — Intimi-dating
ART:You are doing zero things wrong. In high school I was told I was intimidating (my senior year! Thanks, “friends”!). I had no idea what that meant, but I think it had something to do with the fact that I was/am shy, that I can tend to furrow my brow when thinking which makes me look angry, and that I can come off as distant because of these things. Also, as you can see from my picture, I’m supermodel handsome.
I did all the smiling things, I did all the compliments and engaging in conversations. But I think the main problem here is a more universal one: we all have our challenges in finding people to date. We’re all too picky, not sufficiently picky, we come off as assholes when we’re not, we come off as nice when we’re actually assholes, you name it. There are lots of reasons why dating doesn’t happen with the ease and results we want. For me, it was a complex about the fact no one would strike up conversations with me, which, once I got over it, resulted in plenty of dates and, eventually, the horror of wedding planning.
I think you just need to figure the way of getting dates that works for you and run with it. If it’s asking the guy first, then so be it. Make him want it so bad that he pursues you. That way you can be pickier, you won’t have to worry about intimidation, and you still feel wanted. But the thing is, being asked on a date may happen by chance, but who the hell wants to just sit back and wait for life to come to them? Go out and grab your date by the balls and make him want you.
DENNIS: To answer this question, I’m going to pull a concept from statistics called “sample size of one.” What “sample size of one” suggests is that if you take a survey, and your results are based on one single person’s responses, said results will probably be meaningless. To that end, do you get called intimidating by men all the time? Or just your boyfriend? Always having to make the first move could be caused by a host of different reasons — reasons that, unfortunately, I don’t have enough details about you to even start guessing. As for your friend, it seems like she was reaching for answers when trying to explain why you might be intimidating, so I don’t see why you should put much weight in what she said, either.
My advice: Keep smiling and being friendly, keep dressing well, don’t give up your ambition, and give your boyfriend a backhand upside the head for making as preposterous a statement as “because cute girls are scary.” Just… you know, slap him playfully and smile when you do it. You don’t want to scare him or anything.
JOE: I think that your situation is a good one to be in – as you said, those traits that could come across as intimidating are all positive ones. You’re not mean, not egotistical, not cold and uncaring. You’re simply an intelligent, attractive, organized, ambitious woman.
Will you always have to deal with men being intimidated by you? Of course. Sure, you could make yourself less intimidating, but what traits would you be willing to sacrifice? Your ambition? Your neatness? Your appearance? None of these are negatives, so why alter them?
Instead, just realize that, if you want men to pursue you, you’ll need to wait for a bolder, more confident man to appear in your life, but you’ll need to realize that such a man will also likely be able to easily get his choice of women who are less ambitious/organized/etc. than you. Such a man might be tempted to go for the easy score, especially at the college level. Or… you could accept that such confidence for men often comes a bit later in life, along with more maturity, and that, for now, you might need to be the one who does the asking. The men who aren’t yet bold and self-confident might also be the very same men who will, as life goes on, grow into the traits and abilities that they have, because, as people mature, things that once caused confidence cease to matter, and things that once seemed irrelevant begin to inspire confidence. It’s thrilling to be pursued. It’s more thrilling to be with the right person. Don’t do so much to gain the first that you sacrifice the second.
JMagic: “I dress well, look neat, and am organized and ambitious.” If that’s intimidating then I must have a fetish for intimidating women. I would venture to say that you and your potential suitors are in your early 20s? I know it’s wrong to paint a group with such a broad brush, but most guys in that age range would much rather reach for the low-hanging, easy to ‘bag’ fruit, than a woman who seemingly has it together and doesn’t fall for the “hey baby, you must be wearing Windex cuz I can see myself in your pants” type conversation-starters.
It might not be much consolation now, but I think any man worth having will look at your traits as a positive and not the “what if she’s a b***” BS. However, maybe you ‘trying’ to smile isn’t always as apparent. I’m a pretty smiley guy and the moment I walk around with a ‘straight’ face people immediately respond with “what’s wrong??!” So you might want to be a bit more aware of your mood and how that may translate into facial expressions. Good luck!
ERIK: If I see you out somewhere, doing something responsible-looking while sporting a well-styled outfit and a motivated look, I’m going to assume you’ve got your shit together. I think as guys it’s our general assumption that women are usually attracted to men who have their lives in order and live to a high standard. If it looks like you’re two steps ahead of us in that department – whether or not that’s true – we might be intimidated because we feel like we don’t have a chance.
Don’t change yourself for this, though. It sounds like you do have your shit together and that’s awesome. There’s plenty you can do to put the people around you at ease without sacrificing your sense of fashion or driven nature. If you’re with a guy and you want to encourage him to pursue you, just do something to let him know that you aren’t really high-maintenance and help him be comfortable around you.
* If you’d like to ask the guys a question, simply email me at [email protected] with “His Take” in the subject line and I’ll pass your question along to them.