For all the information women have been force-fed about strong, dominant alpha males, it can be surprising to grow up and find out just how many men are easily intimidated by even the most basic female qualities. Though this might be good for a laugh with the girls now and then, it can be frustrating when you like a guy (and are pretty sure he likes you), but you find he’s too scared of you to act.
Fear not! In the following article, we’ll take a close look at why some men are intimidated by women, as well as why those men might hide their feelings instead of riding up on a big white horse. We’ll also go into detail about a number of signs a guy likes you but is intimidated by you, and what to do to fix the situation before it’s too late.
What Do Men Find Intimidating About Women?
Romance isn’t easy, regardless of your gender. Despite what Disney may have taught us in our childhood, there is a lot of pressure on both sides to do the right thing, say the right thing, and – most importantly – avoid rejection like the plague. If you’re the kind of woman who intimidates men, you might find yourself in a tricky situation. But why? What is it about you that men find so intimidating?
Facts are facts – even the best-looking guys can be intimidated by a girl they feel is out of their league. Complicating the situation is the fact that every “Prince Charming” isn’t looking for the stereotypical princess. What attracts us varies widely from person to person, so if he is showing signs he likes you buy still shying away, he might consider you out of his reach.
If you have a big, brash, outgoing personality and he doesn’t, he might not have the confidence to approach you in the first place. This inability to make a move comes from more than your personality, however. He may be wondering whether or not the two of you will mesh even after he’s confessed his feelings.
Your Social Status
From adolescence into adulthood, one’s social status remains a part of daily life. No matter what happens in this world, social groups will always form, and they will always be both inclusionary and exclusionary. If you and your would-be suitor are in different groups, he might find you too (and your friends) too intimidating to make a move.
As women become more and more confident, sure of themselves, and expressive of their wants, needs, and desires, more men are feeling unsure how to approach relationships. In the old days, it was easy to assume that every gal was looking for a fella’. For good or ill, smart, confident women remain a scary thing to many guys.
It’s unfair to assume that all men are closet misogynists that think women are better seen and not heard. However, if you’re the type of woman to be particularly opinionated, outspoken, or intense in your interactions, you can’t blame a guy for being a little intimidated, especially if he’s more quiet, reserved, or subdued.
The Fact You Don’t Need Them
While we’re rehashing old-timey, sexist notions about love and dating, why not bring up the fact that a man might be intimidated by you simply because he knows you don’t need him. For whatever reason, he might not see a way he can insert himself into your life. This truth scares him a bit and keeps him from approaching you despite his feelings.
NOTE: It’s worth noting that the fact that a guy is intimidated by you is not necessarily a reason to change who you are or how you act, dress, talk, etc. As we’ll see in the next section, there are reasons beyond your intimidating attributes that might be causing him to keep his affection secret.
Reasons Guys Hide Their Feelings
If a guy likes you but finds himself too intimidated to approach you, you also have to consider what’s going on with him when trying to find a solution. After all, dating is a two-way street, and if your would-be boyfriend can’t work up the nerve to ask you out, he might be dealing with one of the following:
If a guy is showing signs he likes you but not making any significant progress? It might not just be because he’s intimidated by you. He might also be shy. Contrary to popular belief, being shy has nothing to do with one’s social status, attractiveness, or other outside factors. Being shy can affect anyone, at any time.
He Doesn’t Want to Be Rejected
Nobody likes facing down the barrel of rejection, so if a guy is already intimidated by you for one reason or another, he might fear that rejection even more. Unfortunately, if this is the case, there’s not much you can do but be yourself and hope his burning desire outweighs his fear of failure. If he doesn’t come around, you could try reaching out to him.
He Doesn’t Know if He’s Good Enough for You
Confidence is a complicated beast. Many men are already hesitant to ask out women because they fear they might not be good enough for them. If they’ve put you on a pedestal because they find you “oh, so intimidating,” this feeling could be a huge barrier to them making a move.
He Wants to Get to Know You First
Like us, men do reconnaissance on their crushes before they commit to making a move. If there are signs a guy likes you but is intimidated by some aspect of your nature, he might just be trying to get to know you first. In his mind, it will be harder to be intimidated by you if he knows more about what makes you tick.
Signs a Guy Likes You But is Intimidated
Now that we’ve established the motivations and factors that can make men intimidated by women, we’re going to teach you to identify signs a guy likes you but is intimidated enough not to make a move. If any of these are sounding familiar, there’s a chance you have a man in your life who’s entertaining a burning crush, but just can’t work himself up to tell you. For instance:
He’s Often Around but Stays in the Background
If you notice that a guy is around you a lot more than he used to be, it’s a surefire hint that he’s into you. If he finds you intimidating, however, none of the other signals that a guy likes you (flirting, interest, physical contact) will show up. Instead, he’ll just be there in the background, doing his best to be noticed by you without actually having to engage beyond his comfort level.
If this describes a guy you know, it’s important to remember that all is not lost. As we mentioned above, there is usually a reconnaissance phase to any budding relationship. It could be he’s just trying to figure out an approach. If you like him back, this could be the time to show him your not-so-scary side. Just remember, don’t compromise who you are! You’ll regret it later.
You Often Catch Him Looking at You
There is a fine line between a guy being creepy and a guy being genuinely interested in you, but they both involve stealing a few glances whenever they can. When a guy likes you, he’s going to look – he just can’t help himself. If he’s intimidated by you, however, the looks you’re going to get from him will be a lot different.
Keep an eye out for the quiet guy who seems to be checking you out often. Pay attention to his mannerisms and posture, as well as to what you’re doing at the time. When you add it all up in your head, you might get a fair assessment of how he’s feeling.
He Agrees with You a Lot
Men are almost always their most agreeable during the courting phase at the beginning of a relationship. However, this will be especially true if a man is both into you and intimidated by you. During the conversation, you might catch him agreeing with you a lot. It can be big issues or silly things like favorite shows, bands, etc., but it’s still a strong sign that he wants you to like him.
It’s worth noting that this type of behavior is typical of a lot of men. In their minds, they want to avoid any and all conflict so that you have a good time. While it may seem patronizing (and maybe even a little annoying), it’s usually only temporary. As they start to get to know you better, they’ll become more confident in how they interact with you.
He Collects Data on You
That “reconnaissance phase” we keep alluding to isn’t always literal, but sometimes it is. When a man likes a girl but is intimidated by her for whatever reason, he’ll often try to dig up as much information on her as possible. Being armed with info on your likes, dislikes, pet peeves, and past experiences can make him feel more confident when interacting with you.
A telltale sign that a guy is collecting data on you is if he asks your friends a lot of questions. Some guys will do this clumsily, while others will show all the discretion of a master spy. Luckily, your friends will almost always tell you, which should give you plenty of time to figure out if you like the guy back.
He Shows Interest in Your Love Life
This is less of a “sign” and more of a giant blinking light. Whenever a guy shows interest in who you’re dating, who you’ve dated, and why, they almost certainly have romance on their mind. If he’s intimidated by you, he might be looking to compare himself to your former loves as a way of finding confidence. Another possibility, however, is that he merely wants to know if he’s your type.
He Ignores You
Relationships are incredibly complicated, especially when not all parties are completely in command of their emotions. Though it may seem childish, adult men are quite prone to ignoring women who they find intimidating. The reason is simple: you make him feel inadequate, so he avoids being around to avoid the feeling.
Unfortunately, if a guy deals with his crush in this manner, it could be a huge red flag signaling a lack of emotional maturity. Unless he has some other redeemable features, you might just want to let him do his thing.
You Start Seeing Social Media Messages
For the shy or insecure guy, social media is a godsend. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram not only allow him to communicate with you safely, but they also allow him to find out more about your likes and dislikes. In his mind, the more information he has about you, the better he can tailor his approach when he finally works up the nerve to ask you out.
If a guy starts liking your posts or photos (especially old ones) or starts sending you messages through social media, it could be that he likes you but is too intimidated to tell you in person. Luckily, social media also provides you with an excellent buffer while you decide how you feel about him.
He Starts Showing Off
If a guy starts behaving in a way that you’d describe as “showing off,” it’s a significant indicator that he’s intimidated by you. By doing what he’s best at (or what you would be impressed by), he’s not only proving to you that he’s a worthy partner, but building his confidence as well. This behavior is particularly typical of intimidated guys because it puts the ball in your court instead of theirs.
You Find Yourselves of “Practice Dates”
When guys find themselves intimidated by a girl, they might not have the confidence to straight-up ask them out on a date. They may, however, feel comfortable participating in “practice dates.” These are hangouts that are very similar to dates, but that keep the pressure off of the guy. They could be just the two of you, or they could include his friends or a group.
A sure indicator that you’re on a practice date is the way the guy acts. If he’s nervous and seems like he’s deliberately splitting his time between you and something else, he’s trying not to make his interest too obvious. Depending on how you feel about the guy, you’re welcome to call him out or merely play along until he’s ready to get real.
He Never Gets Past the “First Step”
A common lament among girls who intimidate guys is that men will flirt with them, but never take the next natural step like asking them out or buying them a drink. For many women, this can be incredibly frustrating. If you get the sense that a guy is repeatedly flirting with you and then shying away, it could be that he’s really into you, but just isn’t sure if he’s ready to tell you yet.
He Always Seems to Have a Getaway Plan
Men are experts at protecting their emotions as well as their egos. As a result, their fear of rejection may cause them to go to great lengths. Therefore, one of the major signs a guy likes you but is intimidated by you is that he always seems to have a getaway plan. If you’re hanging out, he might bring a friend, mention he has somewhere to be, or simply suggest something that only takes a short time.
For many guys, reducing the pressure of being around a girl that intimidates them means reducing the amount of time they spend with that person. At least at first, they would rather make ten short, successful impressions than have to keep your interest for an entire day.
He Gets Nervous When You’re Around
If you notice a guy seems jittery or nervous when you’re around, it’s a pretty good bet that he’s intimidated by you – or just intimidated by women in general. There are a lot of signs of nervousness, but the most obvious ones include stammering or “tripping over their words,” continually changing positions, or moving around a lot.
Though it can be a major turnoff when a guy is nervous around you, it can also be quite flattering. Like many of the signs on this list, how you react to them will be significantly determined by how you feel about the guy in question. Remember that being nervous around someone you like is perfectly normal. Chances are, you’ve experienced it yourself once or twice.
He’ll Only Hang Out in a Group
You can almost always tell a guy is into you but too intimidated to act if he’ll only hang out with you in a group. Like the “practice dates” and other not-quite-committal behaviors on this list, being in a group gives a guy a reprieve from feeling like he needs to be “on” and impress you. It also helps him build confidence and show off a little bit, without having to spill the beans about his crush.
If you’ve already shown interest or even asked a guy to hang out with you solo, don’t be too dismayed if he suggests sticking with a group instead. Confidence doesn’t always come easy, and giving your would-be-suitor room to work up his nerve could make the moment he asks you out that much better.
He Brags a Lot
It’s unfortunate that bragging is such a major turnoff for most women because guys are highly prone to it when they find themselves intimidated by a girl they like. You don’t need to be a psychologist to figure out that men do this to overcompensate for feelings of inadequacy. Like showing off for you, they’re trying to prove to you (and themselves) that they’re a suitable mate.
If you find yourself assailed by a braggart, don’t completely give up on him. He might be a nice guy that just hasn’t figured out how to properly attract women. What you do need to do, however, is not encourage the behavior. Be careful, though – if you ignore his boasts he’ll only become more intimidated by you!
He Alludes to the Fact You Intimidate Him
Now and then, a guy will straight up tell a girl that she intimidates him. He could do this in a joking way by inserting it into the conversation, or he could actually confront you in an attempt to see if you’re truly as intimidating as you seem. Whether this has a good or bad effect on your impressions of him, there’s no doubting that it takes a lot of guts to do.
Of course, once the cat is out of the bag, it’s up to you to decide how to proceed. You could play coy and tell him that you’re not that intimidating after all, or you could double down and make him earn your attention. Either way, you’ll both finally know where you stand.
So…Now What Do You Do?
It’s worth reiterating that just because you’re the type of girl who intimidates men doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. Furthermore, it certainly doesn’t mean you have to change anything about yourself to become more “palatable” to the average guy. Remember, regardless of how you feel about a guy, his being intimidated by you is his issue.
That said, if you’re frustrated with the lack of romance in your life, you could try showing the men you know a few of your other, less intimidating qualities. This way, you can stay true to who you are as a person, while still showing men that you’re approachable.
No matter what you decide, you now have everything you need to read the signs a guy likes you but is intimidated by your awesomeness.