How to Stay Confident Around People Who Intimidate You

bigstock-child superhero 2In my last post Do Some People Intimidate You?, I wrote about the phenomenon that grips most of us at one time or another, leading us to feel inadequate, uneasy and temporarily inept in the presence of certain people.  As I wrote in that article, through there are a number of circumstances that can trigger it, the root of all intimidation lies in what you are believing about yourself in any given moment. This leads us to question,

What can you do about it when it happens?

And better yet, how can you prevent it altogether?

Well, the interesting thing about intimidation is that the root of it is also the remedy.   When you find yourself going down Intimidation Street, you can stop and redirect yourself down a more positive path simply by becoming aware of and eventually changing your thoughts.

I admit that this is much easier said than done.  However, as with so many things in life, it gets better and better with practice.  Here are three ways to redirect your negative thoughts about yourself to something more positive:

(1) Think of someone in your life in whose presence you feel really good about yourself – someone who leads you to believe you could do anything. Go ahead and try it right now.  See if you can place yourself in that person’s presence and feel the way you do when you are together.  You might find that you are sitting up straighter and holding your head higher just at the thought.  Know that when you are with that person, you are the same you that you are when you are with people who intimidate you.  See if you can envision being in the presence of someone who intimidates you while you are feeling the way you feel when you are around someone you feel loved and admired by.  Imagine how much easier it would be to interact with others while you are in this state.  Practice this in your mind often.

The next time you are around someone who intimidates you, use the exact same process.  Treat every interaction as an opportunity to build this muscle for yourself.  And before you know it, you will find that your behavior will become more consistently confident and self assured.  You may also notice that the things that used to send you into a tailspin no longer really bother you.

(2) The next time you find yourself feeling intimidated, notice what you are believing.  Then ask yourself if it is really true. This may be difficult to do when you are standing in front of someone, so if it’s easier you can wait until the moment has passed.  You may find when you reflect on the situation that you felt the way you did when you were a kid and realize that those feelings are no longer relevant.  You may be believing that there is something you need to do or be to win someone’s affection or approval when in reality you just need to relax and be yourself and let go of needing so much to be liked by others.  You may be believing that the other person is thinking something negative about you that is purely conjecture you are poisoning your mind with.

When you notice and begin to challenge your assumptions, they lose their hold on you.  It’s kind of like being in a haunted house after the lights have been switched on.  You can go back there when it’s dark again, but it’ll never scare you the way it might have before.

(3) See if you can shift your focus from what you think you need to what you can give. As I mentioned before, we get intimidated when we feel we are lacking in some way.  And then we tend to act in ways that will allow us to get what we think we need to feel better.  Often that comes in the form of someone’s approval or affection.  Think of what kinds of things you think you need from others in order to feel more confident.  Is it a smile?  Is it a compliment?  Is it someone paying attention to you?  A little appreciation or support?

See if you can find a way to give to someone whatever you believe you need.   And do it in such a way that you are not expecting anything in return other than to be of service to another human being.  In other words, don’t give to get.  Give because it makes you feel good.  When you do this, you will find yourself reconnected with the reserves that you are most in need of.  Because when you give something – even if it is something you think you don’t have – you realize that by the very nature of giving it to others, you become an abundant supply.

“Those who bring sunshine to others cannot keep it from themselves.” – Anonymous

If you would like to learn more about building confidence, being authentic, and moving beyond old patterns that keep you from fully enjoying your life, check out my new video program,  On the Road to Real, or pick up a copy of or my book, The Pinocchio Principle: Becoming the Leader You Were Born to Be, available at or   If you are interested in working one on one with me, visit to learn more.  When you are ready to move forward, contact me to schedule a complimentary coaching call.

4 thoughts on “How to Stay Confident Around People Who Intimidate You”

  1. My boss intimidates me, he is about an inch taller than me, quite a big guy but its his posture, and mainly his attitude that intimidates me.

    He uses long confusing words when talking to me so i don’t understand, making him look ‘so smart’ and then uses my confusion to make me look stupid.

    I have quit my job but have my exit interview tomorrow and am going to try and be honest to him about the things i don’t like, but i find it hard to feel relaxed but confident in front of him.

    However, i will try my best to act confident and keep it that way. i can just walk out and they can’t stop me.

  2. Chloe,

    I hope your exit interview went well and I commend you for leaving a situation that sounds like it was somewhat toxic for you. You – all of us – deserve to be treated with respect, and I wish you great success in finding a job that allows you to feel that your respect of others is both earned and reciprocated.

    It is important for you to reflect on what you are believing about yourself that allowed you to feel intimidated by your previous boss. Chances are it is some kind of old message you have internalized and at some level allowed yourself to believe – which is why being in the presence of someone who triggers it is so uncomfortable. Know that these old internalized messages are nothing more than information that you can choose to dismiss and replace with more valid data. Recognize the positive qualities in yourself and rest in the knowing that even if others don’t acknowledge them right away, they are still there.

    Much love, and happy holidays to you!

  3. Thank you for this article. I found it to ring very true and the suggestions you offer are very helpful. I often feel nervous and intimidated by others due to a feeling of lack within myself but I am consciously trying to practise being me regardless of what others think. Keep the great work coming!

    1. Thanks so much for your comment. I’m glad you found the article helpful! I love that you are committed to being yourself. And I think the idea of “practicing” is wonderful. Every opportunity, pleasant or unpleasant is always a chance to stand a little stronger and reach a little higher. And you don’t need to get it perfect – you just need to keep showing up and doing the best you can in each moment. Really appreciate the time you took to post a comment. All the best to you!

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