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Self confidence is intimidating to many people (men and women). I'm not saying that you should walk around feeling insecure. Don't be afraid to show that broken, soft, vulnerable feelings. Isn't that real bravery? Anyway, it helps people understand that you are human and helps them connect with you. It's okay to make mistakes in front of people that don't know you--even emotional mistakes. It's endearing. Anyway, don't change your whole personality--I know what you are saying, I do. Just trying to open you thought process a bit.


I'm continually inspired by your level of self-awareness, a journey I only started on around 5 or so years ago (say since my late 20's). Based on some of your prior posts, it would seem you've been very attuned to your self and your place from a fairly early age (as opposed to simly "being"). Do you attribute that level of self-awareness, at least in part, to your long tradition of maintaining a journal? If so, do you have any suggestions or recommended reading for one considering starting a personal journal (not necessarily a blog, mind you)?

BTW, thanks for not deleting the post - I found it very thought-provoking and motivating.


And "Rock Star Charisma Barbie" wouldn't be intimidating? In a "hard to keep up with" sense?

A hypothetical Ken would have to have some strategy for working with (or coping with) RSCB. Giving her a "too intimidating" blow-off is easier than actually making adjustments in Ken's own plastic head.

(All this recognizing, of course, that RSCB isn't the only one. But she's still there, nyet?)


In your previous post, there was a commenter who signed off as "l.", who said a lot that made sense, especially her comment about ravens. I wish I'd written that comment.
Guys don't look too carefully at personality, not at first, anyway.

Ms. Runner

I too was inspired by this post. I see myself in many of the ways you describe not wanting to show people those "clumsier half formed" pieces of self. When I was yougner, I took this to the extreme, and suffered some of the physical consequences of barricading all of those less confident/less attractive pieces of myself from anyone else for too long. I'm still not very comfortable with exposing my weaknesses to people, but whenever I do have those moments of braveness and trust the people around me (even those with whom I haven't developed the "crying-in-front- of" level of comfort), they've embraced me every time. I think that you're onto something, and I think that the results of this kind of bravery can be pretty tremendous.


This is such a great post. My only contribution is that everyone likes to have a place where she or he excels, where they are the smartest in the room, where they are the expert. My best friend and her long-term (now-ex) boyfriend are both really smart people but were both law students and ultimately, I think that the lack of differentiation was really hard for them. When the rubber hit the road (read: clerkship applications) the competition really drove a wedge into their relationship. Both of them, I think, would do better with engineers, or artists, or psychologists, or writers--someone smart but whose smartness isn't competitive with their own. I'm a law student and I'm engaged to a graduate student and it's great to be able to say, "I know about law, but you know about economics. Tell me." Maybe when people say, "You're too smart for me. You intimidate me," they also mean, "I need a place where I can be the smartest, and you're so good at everything that when I'm with you, I feel like I'm always playing catch-up." The same logic applies to social life as well--I think it's why introverts often end up with extroverts. They're just not in competition for the same social role. Meanwhile, two extroverts often place similar values on social activities and relationships, which can result in the less-extroverted of the pair feeling self-conscious if s/he is in a less social phase, or less popular, or whatever.


My experience with vulnerability, particularly about the broken/unformed/scary insecurities of our lives is that they are often a turn-on to friends/lovers/intimates. They make people feel closer to you, and you closer to them.

When you share something, you give people the chance to know you, to know what keeps you up at 4AM or makes you sob into your pillow. It's the coolest feeling, to find people that you trust and share with them the parts of life that most scare you, the parts of yourself that you hate or feel insecure about, or that cause you the most pain.

It's sort of like the story you told about the friend you knew who was raped. You can talk around it or ignore it or keep quiet about it, but you end up missing a big part of the picture.

I agree with 2) completely - I wanted to write the same thing down in your first post, but I wasn't able to get the ideas down properly and I got frustrated at the other posters for not considering something that I thought was obviously true... so I ended up giving up.

But I was in your position once. I tried to soften, to open, to change. In a way that I thought would make my life easier, and more importantly, more worth living. After all, I was just letting a side of me I kept inside get outside a little more.

I hated the results. Things that were once easy got harder and harder, and I just got sadder and angrier. I didn't realise what was going on until quite late. And now, making the slow and painful journey back to what I once was, where despite the pain, I could do what came naturally.

Please just understand that this is not one of those situations when you're going to get something for nothing.


You're scary because you're a powerful creature and I don't think most men are used to seeing that kind of personal power in *any* form, let alone the female form.

Plus, you're unbelievably bright and authentic and wonderfully intense and that's scary, especially in a romantic context because people open up more, and show more, and retain a bit more control, than they do with a friend, no matter how close. See above.

You're all the things that a super-together serious guy ought to want. Problem is, even a super-together guy doesn't deserve ya. ;)


Wow I was searching for articles on stron, intimidating, powerful women because Guys tell me im intimidating too. When I came across your blog I thought I had written it! You have said exactly what I think and feel and I thank you for having the courage to do so! Rock on!


I realized recently that I fall In Love when someone is vulnerable. It doesn't have to be showing the easily-hurt parts vulnerable; it can be 'totally out there with his feelings for me' vulnerable.
My best friend at school asked for advice on how to behave around his ex-girlfriend in whom he was interested again, and I told him to stop being cool and joking around for 30 seconds, long enough to tell her that he really liked her. It worked, too.

I found this page after I did a search for "too intimidating", because I have yet again been called too intimidating. It's interesting for me to hear a female perspective on this, as I often get called "too intimidating" and "too smart." During one of my job interviews, one of my references even received a phone call asking "if [he] is real?" and "if [he] is as good as he seems?" An ex-girlfriend (still a close friend) told me that I was "too smart, too worldly, and too intimidating."
I completely empathize with how you hide the vulnerable parts of your life and hide the parts of you that evoke a sense of dread or shame. The projection of confidence scares people...Furthermore, you fundamental engagement in the world is unusual and probably adds to the sense of discomfort of those who are intimidated. Heavin forbid that you should be thinking about your world at more than a superficial level.

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