What comes to mind when you hear the word “intimidation”?
A highly successful person?
In your mind, are these people kind or more self-serving and careless about how they might treat others? If you’re like most people, then your initial associations with this word could fit any or all of these examples. Now think: Can someone be intimidating in a good way?
Someone who is very skilled or intelligent in a field?
Someone who has done so many kind acts that you are in awe of him?
Someone who is a well-loved public figure known for his generosity and goodwill?
See the difference? So what does this mean for you? To start, you should strive to emulate the qualities and attributes of a “good” intimidating person so you can convey authority and boost your self-esteem. In time, adopting these qualities are how to be intimidating to others.
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Lifelong Learning and Skill Acquisition
Take the genius. The qualities that make him slightly intimidating are his intellect and his works, both products of his probing mind and innovative thinking. To gain qualities like these you can focus intensely on a subject. Not everyone will put in the work to develop themselves and that gives you a big edge. I’ve gone through periods of concentrated studying when new hobbies catch my interest.
I’ve had phases of chess, poker, martial arts, writing, dating, and other pursuits throughout my teenage years up until now.
When I chose to learn a subject, I did thorough research by finding the best teachers, devouring the best books, and learning the best training courses. I can’t tell you how many chess books I read during my chess phase, but let’s just say I was a grade A nerd. And then my interests faded. I lost interest in chess for years until something sparked my interest again. The bookshelf still had all of my old chess books and I repeated the process. That’s when the remarkable thing happens.
You’ll notice that after taking a break from a subject and resuming your study, your skills may have jumped up significantly from their previous level. Your brain doesn’t forget what it learns. Not completely anyway.
It may take some brief retraining to recall what you once knew but the skill comes back incredibly fast. It won’t happen overnight but you will make quick progress. The neuron pathways remain in your brain once they are created but they grow weak without use. When you come back to a subject, your brain works hard to scrape the rust off of those old pathways.
You’d be amazed at the amount of momentum you gain as you begin studying and strengthening those pathways after years of neglect. Remember that the more you know, the easier it is to learn the next subject and create your own ideas. Your brain can create comparisons and patterns based on your stock knowledge.
Becoming the Good Kind of Intimidating
Knowing how to play chess, poker, and backgammon will make it easier to learn spades or gin rummy. You will recognize crossovers in strategy and learn much faster than someone who doesn’t understand any of those games.
How does this relate to becoming intimidating?
This is one of the reasons why men become more accomplished and successful later in life. For men who have been educating themselves and learning new skills, acquiring new skills becomes easier. By continuously learning and training your brain, you’ll eventually reach a tipping point when your skills run both diverse and deep.
This is how to intimidate people. Your confidence will grow to match your increasing expertise because subconsciously you know that you have been growing and improving for years. In the process, others will view you as more intelligent than most. This is because so many people don’t feed their brain, instead, they may have one or two skills that they like or simply dabble in.
Meanwhile, you have been improving, slowly and steadily. Years of knowledge-building created new pathways in your brain enabling you to devise strategies and solve countless problems as you sleep. Problems you may not even be conscious of. This is how your success becomes inevitable. The skills you acquire may not matter much when viewed in isolation, but your combined skillset makes you an intimidating man that makes others feel safe around you.
Match your intimidation with kindness and good intentions and you can go further than most average men can only dream of, all because you allow yourself to keep learning and keep making those small improvements in your everyday life. You start as a single snowflake and grow into an unstoppable avalanche. It is up to you to start rolling down the mountain and begin building momentum so you can become a happier person while also becoming more intimidating at the same time. This is how you present your true self to the world and to your loved ones.
Here are 7 points that will increase your intimidation factor:
1. Don’t Smile Too Much
Overly smiling is associated with lower levels of dominance and respectability. Someone who smiles no matter what they’re saying (at the wrong times) comes across as a weak-minded person and not confident or inconsiderate of others’ feelings. If you want to command respect and stop being considered “a nice guy”, cut back on the smiling and adopt a more neutral expression. Leave a little mystery when people look at you instead of being weird and smiling for no reason.
The second potential problem with smiling too much is that people may see this body language as a sign of insecurity and weakness. They may take advantage of your nice nature and use it against you. If you display a lack of assertiveness or self-respect, others might not believe what you say or trust in what you do.
Smiling too much can also cause potential problems in a romantic relationship. If the person you’re with sees you as desperate for approval, they can lose respect and attraction. Being super smiley all the time reeks of disingenuousness and in many cultures makes people suspect that you are hiding your true feelings.
Normal people don’t just smile all the time in real life. We aren’t waiters or butlers who are putting on fake facial expressions and trying to offer good customer service. We are living in the real world. Smile when appropriate. Not just because you are nervous and not sure what to do instead.
2. Be More Assertive
Being more assertive also means standing your ground, so don’t let others try to talk you out of what you want or need. It’s hard to know what is considered too assertive, but you should feel comfortable speaking up for yourself and “putting your foot down” to maintain control when necessary. This may come across as a cultural taboo in some countries but in most countries, it makes sense to stand up for yourself.
Assertiveness has different levels and it can be hard to find the right balance. Try to speak up for yourself without coming across as overly demanding. You are aiming to act intimidating so you earn respect, not fear. People respect power and confidence. Being assertive will naturally boost your self-esteem as well. And being assertive doesn’t mean that your goal is to trash talk and make others feel anxious. If done properly others will feel more at ease around you because you are seen as more genuine.
It can take longer than expected to get used to being more assertive, so don’t beat yourself up if you struggle with it. You are flexing a skill that is likely underdeveloped so it will take some time and effort before it feels natural. Try to push your assertive boundaries on a regular basis and you will feel more and more comfortable with it. If you try to set boundaries too aggressively at first, you’ll come across as weird or like a bully who is losing control so make sure to take your time with this. You will miscalibrate but if you take it slow, it won’t be as awkward while you learn how to become intimidating to others.
3. Be Decisive
Research has shown that people are more attracted to definite actions, decisions, or opinions because it makes them feel like that person has a clear direction and purpose. The opposite, of course, is also true: indecisiveness will often lead to someone being perceived as wishy-washy and less intimidating.
People often feel intimidated by people who exude a sense of decisiveness. Deciding exactly what you want/don’t want in your life is key. It will feel awkward as your push outside your comfort zone at first but it gets easier the more your push these boundaries.
4. Stand Up Straight
It is important to stand up straight and keep your chest out. Look straight ahead and keep your chin up. No staring at the ground! Not only will you appear to be taller, but you will also look more powerful. Weak men slouch and have poor eye contact. Strong men stand up tall and make direct eye contact as they interact with other people.
One of the advantages of having a good posture is that it makes you appear more confident. As a result, people will be less likely to challenge you and you will also feel less anxious. Just standing with a better posture will make you feel more confident and others will notice the change in your self-assurance. Your body language will project confidence and help with intimidating people (in a positive way).
Once you start paying attention to your posture, you will find yourself slipping back into slouching frequently. This is fine. Adjust your habits and make good posture your default. You are fixing an issue that took years to build. You are using posture muscles that are underdeveloped from lack of use. Work hard at it and it will start to feel strange to stand or walk with poor posture.
5. Speaking with Confidence
One of the most dominant traits a man can have is confidence. What makes someone appear more or less confident when he speaks?
Picture someone who is nervous. How would they speak? Quietly, quickly, and probably while stumbling over their words. You know exactly what I’m describing, so we have to put in conscious effort to speak differently and have good voice control. It is less about the verbal language you use and more about how you say the words and how your body language looks.
First off, breathe properly. Breathe from down low, in the stomach, and exhale fully by pulling your stomach in. This will help you speak from low down in your diaphragm and project more clearly. Also, slow down the pace of your speech. Speak deliberately and clearly while keeping good eye contact. You are far less likely to stumble over your words when you speak at a slower rate and use direct statements.
When you talk, be a bit louder than you think is normal for the situation. In all likelihood, you are still not being as loud as you think. But this is a good way to start commanding more presence. People will ignore or talk over meek voices but they will listen attentively if you speak properly and are making direct eye contact.
I can’t stand guys who say “um” every other word. It sounds like you’re unsure of yourself and don’t know what to say. Don’t make this mistake and present yourself as a weak minded person! If you don’t know what to say next, then don’t say anything until you do. Pauses are great for having a more intimidating presence while speaking. They leave the listeners waiting and curious to hear what is coming next. Cut out those filler words. It is not easy but make the effort and it will pay off.
You can even use offensive language at times. You shouldn’t overdo it but it can be used to make a point. Developing confidence is always a large part of learning how to be intimidating.
6. Be Well-Groomed
Who looks more intimidating, the guy with the fitted suit, great haircut, and an awesome beard… or the guy will the stained, ill-fitting shirt, and splotchy facial hair? Obvious, right? Take your personal hygiene seriously. It is one of the most immediately noticeable features of a man.
It’s one thing to go through your morning grooming process and feel good about the way you look. It’s a whole other level of self-confidence that comes with being well-groomed. That isn’t to say you need to spend hours getting ready in the morning – but even a little grooming has been shown to make people feel better about themselves. You don’t have to wear fancy clothes but if you are comfortable in business casual clothes, they can make you seem more confident.
And when you feel better about yourself, others will notice the way that you carry yourself.
You don’t have to go spend a lot of money buying suits and getting professional beard trims. Get a few sets of well-fitting clothes. Cut your hair (or shave it if you are going bald), and consider growing facial hair. Facial hair does help with intimidating people so if you are on the fence, grow it out and trim it to look clean.
7. Get In Shape and Build Some Muscles
A muscular body is seen as more intimidating by others. And being more muscular makes you feel better about yourself. Even a small change in your body will drastically alter how you feel about yourself. Hit the gym and make your body stronger.
Working on your body will help with your confidence for sure. But it goes way beyond just that. You will carry yourself better. Your posture will improve and make you seem more powerful. Speaking louder will feel more natural. Getting stronger definitely makes a man more intimidating so you cannot neglect this important concept.
Get Started Now
We covered a lot of things you can do to be a more intimidating person but don’t feel like you have to do all of this at once. Pick one or two things to start working on so you don’t get overwhelmed. It gets easier as you get more experience with each of these points. Don’t worry about all of the details at first. You can also learn more about being an intimidating man as you get more confident. You can then learn those smaller details such as don’t lean forward to listen when someone else is talking, or make eye contact, or continuing talking when someone is talking over you.
These are useful and good to know but they aren’t the biggest concern until you take care of the bigger points mentioned above. Work consistently and you will see massive results as you become a better, more confident version of yourself.