Most of us have felt intimidated by other people at one time or another in our lives. As children or teens, we were often intimidated by bullies or the most popular kids in school. As we grow to adulthood, we can feel intimidated by many kinds of people, even when there is no direct threat to us. We may feel this way in the presence of people who are beautiful, charismatic, famous, or smart. People who intimidate us as adults are also likely to have power and influence. In these cases, the feeling of intimidation comes from experiencing these two things simultaneously:

  • An admiration of someone because they possess a trait or traits deemed desirable by you and or by society.
  • Feelings of inadequacy in that person’s presence because of your perceived lack of these desirable traits in yourself.

While your natural inclination might be to avoid such people, spending time with them can really help you grow personally and professionally. Here are 5 things you will learn by hanging out with them:

1. You will learn to conquer fear

When you learn to act in spite of your fears, you learn courage. Try going up to someone you feel intimidated by and introduce yourself to them. What’s the worse that can happen? You might feel embarrassed for something you say. But did the world end? No, life will go on. It’s more likely that the interaction is more positive than you ever imagined. Most importantly, you learn to act and reach out to people even when you are afraid. You will gain an advantage over others by creating more opportunities to form relationships with potentially influential people.

2. You will learn that everyone is human

We can’t help but put the people we admire on pedestals. We treat them in such a way that we forget that they are human beings like the rest of us. They too may even have fears and times in their lives when they felt intimidated. Remembering our common human connection can be a powerful reminder that the person we feel intimidated by may be yearning to be treated like a normal human being, not a superhuman.

3. You will learn that everyone has a story

When you learn to engage people you feel you have nothing in common with, you might be surprised to learn that their life story is similar in some ways to yours. How can you learn their story? Just ask. People love to talk about themselves when given the opportunity. Dale Carnegie, in his book “How To Win Friends and Influence People,” says “Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.” You may learn the story of how they came to be thought of as “intimidating.” You may even learn that they fall short in something that you have mastered. Learning their story will reduce feelings of inadequacy in their presence and improve your self esteem. If you truly listen to their story with interest, you will also win their admiration and respect.

4. You will learn new skills from them

People who excel often have acquired wisdom that we can all benefit from. Also, we tend to imitate the people we admire. If you want to learn how to “work a room”, spend time with a charismatic person. Learn what makes them attractive to others. It could be their warm smile, their positive attitude, or the captivating stories they tell. Ask them about what motivates them to stay positive when most people are not. You may learn some powerful insights that you can apply and benefit from in your own life.

5. You will learn how to increase your confidence in dealing with people

The more you spend time with people that intimidate you, the more you will gain confidence in your ability to navigate personal interactions and relationships. You will learn how to approach and talk to all kinds of people. Indeed, if you can gain friendships with people that intimidate you, you can gain friendships with almost anyone. This will put you on a path of personal growth and personal and professional success.

So, what are you waiting for? Go hang out with that intimidating person in your life today.

Featured photo credit: SEVENHEADS via pixabay.com

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