Talk Nerdy To Me’s: @StaffWriter
Intimidation is the act of either implicitly or explicitly threatening to inflict violence, harm, damage, or loss upon someone else.
Intimidation can be seen in many ways. Whether it’s telling a girl you won’t date her if she doesn’t give in to your demands or making fun of another person to lower their self-esteem in order to get them to do what you want them to do for you—people use intimidation all the time.
But did you know that there are certain gestures and nonverbal cues people display without even knowing they’re doing it?
In this article, we will talk about how these body language gestures influence your ability to intimidate others, why people feel intimidated, and how to tell if someone is being intimidated.
8 Ways To Intimidate Someone with Body Language
Let’s look at some proven ways to intimate other people with body language.
These are the same methods body language experts, politicians, and high-powered CEOs use every single day to dominate everyone around them.
1) Dominating Eye Contact
You can intimidate people simply by maintaining eye contact with them. Maintaining direct eye contact for too long without looking away or blinking can make you seem like a threat.
This is because when animals are the eyes of another animal, they are trying to intimidate each other—they are showing dominance.
It is said that if an animal holds eye contact for 10 seconds, then it’s on guard mode or about to attack. If it holds eye contact for 20 seconds, then it’s planning its attack strategy.
If someone holds your gaze for more than 30 seconds, then they’re either challenging you or on possibly on the verge of attacking you.
The next time you want to intimidate someone or make them feel threatened, simply maintain direct eye contact for longer than 5 seconds—they may feel intimidated by you and back off.
2) Staring Without Blinking
If you stare at someone without blinking, then the other person might feel intimidated.
This is because when people are on guard or hiding something from others, they often blink slower—and sometimes stop blinking altogether. This subconsciously tells other people that they’re trying to hide something from them which makes their target feel vulnerable and exposed to whatever it is they’re hiding–which intimidates the person and encourages them to not mess with them anymore.
3) Taking Up Space
Intimidating someone can also be done by taking up space.
For example, when you’re in a crowded area and there’s not enough room for everyone to stand, then whoever is standing the most aggressively (or the most dominating) will make other people back away from them or give them more room.
This is because we subconsciously give way to people who take up the most space—a privilege only given to those we feel are superior to us.
So next time you want to intimidate someone, just stand up straight and take up as much space as possible to show others that you’re not someone they should mess with.
4) Standing Tall and Opening Up
When people want to look bigger to intimidate other people, they will spread out their arms and legs to make themselves seem taller.
Take up more room on the bus or train when there’s already no room for everyone.
Even if you’re sitting in a chair, stretch out your legs while sitting down. This makes you look bigger and therefore more intimidating. Sitting with your back straight also makes you look bigger, even though it doesn’t physically extend how tall you are—it simply gives the impression that you’re larger.
Having wide shoulders and sitting with your legs apart helps to give the impression that you take up more space than you actually do.
5) Showing Off Your Muscles
Your muscles can intimidate others simply by flexing them.
This is why women will tense their upper arm muscles before posing for a photo or flex their abs before going on stage to sing or dance—they’re preening themselves which makes them puff out their chests, stand up straight, and contract their muscles.
Try standing in front of a mirror and flexing different muscle groups such as your arms, stomach, chest, thighs etc. You’ll notice that when you contract these muscles you look bigger, whether or not it’s actually true or not.
People can also intimidate others simply by weighing more than them.
If you have a very low body fat percentage, then try to gain some weight before going up against your target—you will seem larger and therefore more intimidating. This is because people often perceive those with lower body fat percentages as being physically weaker, so putting on a little bit of muscle mass will help to diminish this perception.
6) Wear Heavy Clothing
Clothing can also be used as a form of intimidation technique.
For example, wearing heavy clothing such as boots, leather jackets, hoodies etc., looks like the person wearing it is ready for action. If you want to look intimidating and dangerous in order to scare off potential threats/targets, then try wearing any or all of these pieces.
7) Wear Dark Clothing
Dark clothing makes you seem smaller than you actually are—especially if the piece of clothing is plain black. This shows that the person wearing it is unnoticeable and therefore someone to be feared because they can sneak up on people without them even knowing about it until it’s too late.
8) Wear Accessories That Make You Appear Larger
The opposite effect can also be achieved by wearing accessories that make you appear larger i.e., a heavy watch or a bracelet, a necklace etc.—anything that will draw attention to your hands/arms/shoulders etc.
Those parts of your body will often signify how big you are due to muscle distribution.
People will often perceive you as intimidating if they can see you take up more space in the room.
Why You Might Need To Use Intimidating Body Language
Using intimidating body language isn’t always about gaining the upper hand. It can also be used to simply protect yourself and make yourself look less like a victim.
Appearing stronger can be lifesaving in dangerous situations.