Home Psychology 9 Things Strong Women Do That Seem Intimidating (But Actually Aren't)

9 Things Strong Women Do That Seem Intimidating (But Actually Aren't)

9 Things Strong Women Do That Seem Intimidating (But Actually Aren't)

I get it, the word “intimidating” is often used when talking about strong women.

You know the drill. You say what you think, you are labeled ‘bossy’. You stand firm on your boundaries and suddenly you are ‘difficult’. But the thing is, what is often labeled as intimidating is just a mix of confidence and clarity.

If you’ve ever been told you’re too assertive, you’re not alone. It’s a common tune for women who just don’t fit the mold of being quiet or demure.

But I’m here to bring out a truth. That ‘intimidating’ atmosphere? It’s probably not what you think.

In this article, we’re going to go through some classic behaviors of strong women that may seem intimidating, but are anything but.

These are signs of strength, not scare tactics.

So let’s dive in and debunk these myths one by one, shall we?

1) Direct communication

You’ve probably been there, right? That meeting where you stated your thoughts clearly, without fluff or icing. Later you heard whispers about how ‘intense’ you were.

But this is my opinion: direct communication is simply efficient. I remember once giving my opinion clearly about the direction of a project. No one said anything at the time, but later a colleague admitted that they thought I was ‘too much’.

Too much or just straight shooting? It took a while, but my team eventually understood that my direct conversation was about respect – respect for their time and our shared goals. I wasn’t trying to bulldoze; I loved building bridges with clear, honest words.

2) Self-insurance

Ah, self-confidence, often confused with arrogance. But isn’t there a big difference? I’ve lost count of the times trust has been misinterpreted.

Like when I negotiated my salary without batting an eyelid. It wasn’t that I was full of myself; It was me who knew my worth.

Sometimes that confidence can be a little too strong, but it’s not about intimidation; it’s about being rooted in who you are.

3) Setting boundaries

Setting boundaries at work can sometimes seem unapproachable or difficult. However, these boundaries are essential for maintaining a healthy work-life balance and preventing burnout.

Research has shown that people who settle down clear boundaries are more effective in their work. They tend to have better job satisfaction and less stress.

If I say no at the last minute to a last minute request that requires me to work late into the night, it’s not because I’m not a team player. It’s just to ensure that I can continue to perform well in my role without sacrificing my well-being.

Quick Tip: It’s a necessary strategy for sustainability in any career, especially in today’s always-on work culture.

4) Embrace success

There is something special when we are proud of our achievements.

Unfortunately, many women often downplay their successes to avoid being seen as boastful.

But truly embracing and recognizing your achievements isn’t about bragging; it is a recognition of the hard work and dedication that got you there.

When we receive awards or reach a personal milestone, these are moments we should appreciate and celebrate.

So pat yourself on the back: the late nights, the strategic risks, and the steady perseverance paid off.

And perhaps most importantly, others around us will be encouraged to celebrate their own victories, big or small, knowing that theirs are just as much in the spotlight.

5) Support others

You might think that improving others in the workplace would be seen purely as a positive action.

Surprisingly, this is not always the case. I once led a team project where I made a point of highlighting each person’s contributions. It wasn’t long before I was pushed aside and told that my support could be seen as an attempt to outdo my superiors. But deep in my heart I knew this wasn’t the case.

For me, giving credit where it’s due is about fostering a culture of appreciation and teamwork.

So if one of us wins, we all win. I have always believed in the power of collective success over individual glory. By supporting my colleagues, I not only help them grow, but I also create a stronger, closer team. It is a personal mission of mine: to ensure that everyone feels valued and heard.

6) Challenging the status quo

In any environment where tradition reigns, introducing change can be perceived as a threat. But shaking up the status quo is often necessary for progress.

When I wonder why we do things a certain way or propose an alternative approach, it is not to cause unrest. It’s because I see room for improvement, efficiency or innovation.

History is full of strong women who dared to think differently and changed the world for the better. While it may be unsettling at first, challenging conventional wisdom can lead to breakthroughs that benefit everyone in the long run.

7) Maintain composition under pressure

Believe it or not, staying calm when it’s hot can easily be mistaken for coldness or detachment. Yet the ability to keep a cool head is anything but indifferent; it is a skill that requires tremendous emotional intelligence.

During a crucial negotiation or crisis at work, we can remain calm so as not to intimidate others, but to navigate the situation effectively. It is the steady hand that steers the ship through stormy waters.

This calmness should not be misinterpreted as a lack of passion or concern; rather, it is the quality that can lead a team to safety and success.

8) Ask for what you want

There’s this strange idea that expressing your needs and desires is seen as aggressive or pushy, especially for women. In reality, articulating what you want is a sign of clarity and self-awareness.

I remember negotiating for resources for a project and being surprised—not because the request was unreasonable, but because it was unexpected from someone my size.

The point is: asking for what you need isn’t about making unreasonable demands; it is knowing your worth and the value of your contributions. It’s an essential step toward achieving your goals and setting a precedent for open communication in the workplace.

9) Investing in self-development

A commitment to personal growth can sometimes come across as… egocentric or even obsessive. But what may seem like an intimidating level of focus on self-improvement is actually a pursuit of excellence that benefits everyone involved.

Whether I attend workshops, seek feedback or read the latest industry trends, every step in my self-development journey allows me to bring more to the table.

It’s not about being better than others; it’s about being better for others so that I can contribute to my highest capacity in my role, whatever it may be.

In short:

As we conclude this in-depth look at strong women and the misconceptions that surround them, it is crucial to recognize that strength comes in many forms and is often misunderstood.

What may seem intimidating is usually just confidence, clarity, determination and a deep-seated desire to lift others up as we rise.

Strong women are not here to cause fear; they are here to inspire change, drive progress, and break ceilings (glass or otherwise) for those who follow.


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