Many women think they shouldn’t display their brains or skills because men might find it intimidating. If you’re a confident, successful woman who is actively trying to date, you might be concerned that you that men might not approach you. It’s understandable that you would feel this way. Society wants to tell strong women who intimidate a lot of men that they’ll end up alone with their 8 billion cats in a tiny apartment. Recently, someone even commented on one of my videos on confidence that men find confident, successful women intimidating. It’s an interesting remark. Is it true that men find successful women intimidating, and should you care if you’re trying to find Mr. Right?
There’s absolutely no doubt that some men will find you intimidating if you’re confident, smart, successful, or all three. Some women may also find you intimidating, so this isn’t just a guy problem. Isn’t it fascinating that most women who care if men are intimidated couldn’t care less how women feel about it? Why is that?
Unfortunately, there is a long history of women suppressing their strengths so men could find them more appealing. In the past, before the Women’s Movement, women were supposed to look good, be sweet, get married, and keep house. That’s it. Careers for women and girls weren’t encouraged. Maybe you could be a secretary, nurse, or teacher until you got married or had children. When marriage was your top priority, you had to worry if a man was either going to find you attractive or find you intimidating. Because careers for women were so restricted, and it was tough for women to earn a living on their own, being good “marriage material” was critical for their survival.
Even if a man was ok with your confidence, he still might want you to stay home and have babies. Suppressing your strengths was just part of the culture, and in many places in the world, it still is. The Women’s Movement changed all that for many reasons. But for the most part, women were sick and tired of these restrictions, and they weren’t going to take it anymore. Today, a quarter of all married couples with children have a breadwinner wife. Times have indeed changed. But what does this mean for successful, confident women who are trying to find Mr. Right?
This concern that men will find a woman’s strength intimidating is like a vestige of these cultural roots, but things are different now. Men are increasingly accepting the competence and success of women. Some men even want their wives to be successful.
When is it important to you if a man thinks you’re intimidating?
If your father or other close male relative has a problem with your confidence or success and finds you intimidating, this might matter a lot to you because it complicates your life. You might even worry about men being intimidated because your male role model has this issue. Or maybe your mother worries that you’ll never marry if you’re too confident and strong. Her opinions might feed your worries that perhaps she’s right, especially if you’ve been having a tough time in the dating world.
You might experience men who are intimidated by you in work or other professional settings too. If you must interact with them, it’s often a good idea to present yourself as wanting to work together amicably. In other words, if possible, try to avoid flaunting your strengths or correcting their errors in ways that might be embarrassing to them. Actually, this is a good practice in dealing with people in general. Pointing out people’s mistakes or missteps in a gracious way is a sign of intelligence in and of itself. You can readily flaunt your graciousness without fear of judgment. Then, if they have a problem with you, at least you can be pretty sure it’s their problem, not yours. This is simply creating a harmonious work or social environment.
When it comes to dating, the fact that you can be intimidating to men can be a plus. Believe it or not, it’s a screening tool for finding a good relationship. When you’re a smart, successful woman whom men find intimidating, the potential Mr. Rights are easy to find because they aren’t intimidated. To Mr. Right, your confidence and success are attractive. Mr. Right is impressed with your strengths and proud to be with you. Mr. Wrong, however, is uncomfortable with your accomplishments and smarts. Of course, you want to be charming and modest about your strengths rather than boasting and leading with them. After all, a date isn’t a job interview. You’re there to enjoy his company, not to prove to him how successful you are.
A well-known example of how being intimidating to men can make Mr. Right obvious is George Clooney and his successful wife, Amal. She is a brilliant attorney who specializes in international law and human rights, working with very high profile clients. Was George Clooney intimidated? No, he knew he’d found an incredible woman and they got married a little over a year after meeting.
Have men found you intimidating? Do you find it problematic when trying to date, or a powerful screening tool? Leave us a comment below.