I Tone Down My Awesomeness So I Don’t Intimidate Guys & I Need To Stop

Whenever I’m with a guy I like, I tend to dial down all my best traits in case they scare him away, most of the time without even thinking about it. The idea that I need to stifle who I am just in case some dude is intimidated by me is ridiculous and I need to stop.

  1. I don’t even realize I’m doing it. When I’m hanging out with a guy I like, I instantly start discounting myself and make myself seem lesser than him thinking that that’s what’s going to get him to like me back. It’s an automatic reflex that I must have picked up in high school when the popular guys in school would bully me. It’s amazing how I default to dimming my light around guys. It’s mostly out of fear and I can’t control it.
  2. I assume it’ll make guys like me more. For some reason, I have it in my head that guys like it when girls are kinda self-deprecative and need help. Maybe it’s because of all the examples in movies and books of the classic “damsel in distress.” I’ve been taught that women are helpless without a man to support them and even though I know it’s not true, I think part of me still subconsciously subscribes to that belief. Trust me, it’s not a good look and it definitely doesn’t get guys to like you.
  3. I have a big personality and I worry I might be “too much.” I sometimes get worried that I’m coming off as being too big and loud, that I’m too much like one of the guys, but honestly, that’s BS because nowhere does it say that girls can’t be loud and expressive. I know that some guys are intimidated by loud, outspoken girls, but that’s their problem. No woman should aspire to be a quiet, delicate flower in order to attract more guys. If he can’t handle me, then it’s his fault, not mine.
  4. It’s just something women have been taught to do. All throughout my life, I’ve been told to be quiet, stop talking, not to wear this or that, etc. It’s no wonder I’m always defaulting to trying to tone myself down. Even in school, we aren’t supported in our natural talents the way young boys are. If we’re good at something, we have to keep proving ourselves until we’re finally accepted for it. Boys are instantly celebrated the second they want to even try something or show a glimmer of potential in any given field. That’s why girls and women aren’t often found speaking confidently about our skills and abilities—the world tells us that’s the wrong thing to do.
  5. I’m afraid I’ll come off as braggy. At the core of all of this, I’m afraid of coming off as being conceited or full of myself. I assume that guys are put off by that kind of behavior, but how come guys are allowed to be like that and women aren’t? I mean, some girls do it, and frankly, they’re always the coolest in the room. I should be proud of myself and my endeavors. Just because I’m excited about my life doesn’t mean it will come off as me bragging. Plus, why shouldn’t I brag every once in a while? I’m awesome!
  6. It’s sad that I stress about scaring guys away with my success. A part to me keeps quiet about what I’ve done because I don’t want to scare guys away with how successful I am or will be. When a guy asks me what I do, I instantly downplay it, making it sound lame and unexciting. What if he’s a plumber? He might be intimidated by me having a career as a writer. Honestly, I shouldn’t have to worry about how I come off because that’s all on him. I forget that it’s not all on me to make sure he feels comfortable in the interaction.
  7. I might be too smart and funny for him. It’s not easy being a funny woman. I’m super quick-witted and can always depend on myself to make the group laugh. A lot of guys get intimidated by this—I’ve seen it on their faces when they try to match me in wits and they can’t. They always end up giving me attitude or ignoring me altogether after that. I’m just having fun—it’s just a part of my personality, honestly. Guys aren’t used to being out-witted, so you can see why I try to tone it down when I’m with one I like.
  8. It’s safer to stay neutral. Shining my light can scare guys away, so why even risk it? Those are the kind of thoughts that go through my head when I default to neutral. I nod my head and agree with everything he says like I’m a robot. Guys love to talk about themselves and a lot of them see a woman who talks too much as “a handful.” I assume that certain personality traits of mine, like my intelligence and sense of humor, are turn-offs and that’s so messed up!
  9. I know it’s time to start stepping into my power. I know it’s time for me to shed this fear and just be my true self and if someone doesn’t like it, it just wasn’t meant to be. I deserve someone who takes me as a whole person and appreciates all sides of me. Until then, I’m going to be all of me, proudly.
Jennifer is a playwright, dancer, and theatre nerd living in the big city of Toronto, Canada. She studied Creative Writing at Concordia University and works as a lifestyle writer who focuses on Health, B2B, Tech, Psychology, Science, Food Trends and Millennial Life. She's also a coreographer, playwright, and lyricist, with choreography credits for McMaster University’s “Spring Awakening,” “Roxanne” for the Guelph Contemporary Dance Festival, and “The Beaver Den” for The LOT, among others.

You can see more of her work on her Contently page and follow her on Instagram @jenniferenchin.