Feeling Overly Intimidated By Certain Types Of People

Some socially awkward types have the problem of being a bit too uneasy around certain types of people. Here are the big ones:

Super outgoing people

When someone is intimidated by really outgoing people it's that they're worried about having to talk to them and feeling really overwhelmed and like they won't be able to keep up or know what to say. There's not much to getting past this one except more practice with social and conversation skills so you feel more comfortable in their presence.

Really confident, popular, charismatic people

I think everyone feels a little uneasy and off-balance when they're around those handful of people who just seem to have everything going for them. They may be really outgoing as well, which can add in all the problems from the point above. I find their intimidating aura shrinks when you just have more experience with them. You get used to them, start to see them as normal people, and learn firsthand that they have flaws and quirks and insecurities like everyone else. What also helps is improving your own confidence and social skills. You then see these people as closer to your level, rather than them being on a pedestal and you feeling you're a walking example of lame, awkward unworthiness that's lucky to even be talking to them.

People who you think will make fun of you or judge you

This one is reasonable. If you know someone is mean-spirited or gossipy you're going to be on guard around them. Though sometimes we mistakenly think that everyone who dresses or acts a certain way is going to look down on us. If we're shy, we may assume everyone is constantly looking for a reason to critique our flaws. Some people come across as snobby and judgmental without intending to as well.

People in authority

A lot of employees are intimidated by their managers, or students by their professors. Someone may also be nervous around police officers, high-status professionals like doctors and lawyers, religious authorities, or employees who have power in a particular establishment, like bouncers or bartenders. Some people feel uncomfortable around their friends' or partner's parents.

Hopefully this answer isn't too unsatisfying, but I think in these cases the way to feel more comfortable around these people is to face your fear and just get more used to talking to them. Trying to analyze your intimidation away probably won't do a ton. The first time someone ever has to go to their boss to ask them a question they may feel really scared. But if they've done it twenty times in the past already a lot of the fear will have evaporated.

People who are really knowledgeable and competent

Smart, competent individuals may have status and authority. They can be scary in their own right because you worry you'll do or say something stupid around them and they'll call you out on it.

Tough or thuggish types

This is sometimes more of a problem for people when they're still in high school, when all kinds of students are mixed together and they may run into characters like this. Once someone has moved on to college or the work world they usually don't run across as many tough guys. The fear here is that these people are dangerous loose cannons who may kick your ass at any second. That's not an unreasonable concern, but sometimes we can be overly cautious around people who appear 'tough'.

It's one thing if someone really is in a gang, or they've been known to mug people at their school, but often people will dress and act in a tough way when they're really not that bad. Sure they may be a little rougher around the edges than average, but they're hardly going to beat you down just for talking to them or being in the same nightclub. Someone who's socially inexperienced may be a bit too afraid of the world and see anyone who comes across as the slightest big thuggy as being super dangerous.

People who break the rules or commit minor crimes

This is another issue that comes up more in high school and reflects an attitude of being a bit too innocent and afraid of the world. Sometimes socially inexperienced people who obey the rules and color between the lines can see anyone who does some minor rebellious stuff as being really edgy and unstable. Like they may start getting weak in the knees when they have to talk to someone at their school who drinks under age, occasionally skips classes, and who once tagged a mailbox with a marker.

In this case someone may need to just get more experience with the world and see that tons of otherwise good, nice people often skirt the rules in one way or another. They may speed or park illegally, smoke under age, or buy a fake ID so they can get into bars. Maybe they're a tad adventurous and daring compared to some people, but they're hardly sketchy supreme bad asses.

Members of your own gender

Some men don't feel comfortable hanging out with other guys. They find them to be too macho, aggressive, cutting in their humor, or unpredictable. They may feel that way because they got picked on as a kid, or because they never really felt like they fit the male stereotype. Some women feel the same way and see other females as being too catty, girly, backstabbing, or dramatic, among other things.

This is another area where some experience can take the intimidating edge off a group. For example, a guy who hangs out with other men more may eventually get used to their style and overwrite his old belief that all guys are jerks who will cruelly make fun of him. Even if someone feels they'll never fully hit it off with their own gender, there's no reason to feel on edge around them.

People you may be wary of because of stereotypes you've taken to heart

Even when we want to see ourselves as liberal, enlightened, open-minded citizens of the world we can sometimes absorb and subtly act on negative stereotypes about certain groups without meaning to. Someone may be nervous around young men from a certain ethnic background because the media portrays them as gang members more often than not. It doesn't even need to be that obvious. For example, at a university someone may feel a little hesitant to try to be friendly to the Chinese students, because a negative stereotype going around campus is that they're all cliquish and aloof and only associate with each other.

We can also believe stereotypes about certain subgroups, positive or negative. For example, people in fraternities or sororities are often portrayed as shallow douchebags. However, society also sends messages that these types of people represent the height of social success, and even if you outwardly dislike them, deep down their judgments about who's cool or not are correct, and you should seek their approval. It's easy to see how someone could feel on edge around frat guys or sorority girls if they held all those ideas in their head.