How I Used to Be Afraid of Intimidating Men and Why It Does Not Faze Me Anymore

I have a secret to share.

I used to be afraid of intimidating other people. Specifically, men.

Since my early 20s (I’m 28 at this point of writing), I’ve been regarded as a “power woman”. I’ve constantly been described as “smart”, “intelligent”, “courageous”, “driven”, “powerful”, “strong”, “highly developed”, “capable”, “intellectual”, “career-driven”, and at times, “fearless”. Some friends have gone as far as to tell me that I’m the smartest / most capable person they’ve ever met, which I think is the biggest compliment anyone can ever receive.

Me in Hong Kong

Me in Hong Kong last weekend, having breakfast with friends.
And apparently with very bad bed hair. -_-”

I can understand the source of these comments, for I’ve achieved certain noteworthy milestones in my life. Nothing big like earning one million or one billion dollars (those are in the plans!), but still things I’m proud to have achieved nonetheless.

For example, in school, I was a Dean’s Lister and graduated top in my specialization of Marketing. Work-wise, I beat hundreds if not thousands to secure a place in a top multinational corporation (Procter & Gamble) two years before I was supposed to graduate.

Later on, I quit my well-paying job in P&G right at the start of a financial crisis no less, to pursue my passion to help others—with no prior skills or knowledge in this area. I then turned my passion into a full-fledged business (Personal Excellence) which now earns me more than my previous job in P&G today, with 95% of my income being passive income.

Today, I write at PE to a half-a-million readership every month. I’m frequently interviewed in the media, occasionally TV. (I’m quoted in this month’s issue of Her World Singapore by the way. Check out pages 252–254!)

Not too long ago, I went on a world trip for seven months without any companion or itinerary, basically creating my agenda on the fly. Depending on how things go, I’m possibly going on another long trip this year, scouring places like India, South Africa, and South America.

You can say that these “accomplishments” are atypical of an average person, much less a girl from Singapore. Hence, I’m frequently singled out by others for my accomplishments and for being a driven and “fearless” person.

Me with my friends in Hong Kong: FCC, Rita, B, myself

With my friends in Hong Kong — Clockwise, from left: FCC, Rita, Banana (my nickname for my friend—mosaiced her face to protect her privacy), and myself

“Powerful” = Unfeminine?

Despite people lauding me from a place of good intention, I would feel mixed about being such a “strong” person (read: woman).

For a long time, my biggest struggle was that by being so “strong”, “powerful”, and what have you, I would be unfeminine. For while I’m driven, passionate about achieving success and mildly accomplished in my own right, these factors are considered masculine, “yang” (as in yin-yang) qualities, and are not necessarily things that men look for when considering a romantic prospect. If anything, they are seen as negative traits for a female to have, because they make her unfeminine. This is especially the case in Asia, where males prefer to have female partners who are more easy-going and less opinionated.

While I’m consistently building on my feminine qualities, I felt—at that time—that my drive, my strength, and achievements were offsetting whatever femininity I had—and in a way, my “appeal” and “draw” towards men.

I felt sad and conflicted because it seemed that I was making myself increasingly unappealing to men by virtue of every step I took in my career and growth. Since becoming more prominent in my career would naturally make me a more powerful character, men would find my persona/success too intimidating and hence back off from pursuing me, rather than consider me romantically.

Note that I do have men expressing and/or showing interest in me on an ongoing basis; many times I’m flattered by the attention I get from some guys. However, this still did not stop me from having the above concerns, for it is a societal fact that many men (particularly Asians) prefer less domineering, less opinionated females.

By being more and more accomplished, I felt I was in fact digging my own grave in the area of romance. The further I “climbed”, the harder it seemed for me to find a guy who could match my achievements. People often speak of the archetypal lone career woman who is highly accomplished yet barren in her love life, and I could see myself gradually trawling into this direction.

While I am totally okay and at peace with being a single (I would rather be single than be with someone whom I don’t like), I don’t want to end up as that archetype if I can have my way. I don’t want to have a life where I have no one to call my own. I don’t want to not have a romantic partner because I believe love is an important part of life.

So, I would shirk my character. When around others, I would dumb myself down as much as possible. Rather than discern, I would put my analytical brain on hold. I would hide my opinions, unless asked to speak—even then, I would be very choiceful about what I said and how I said it. I would smile a lot and talk little. I would stay away from talking about myself or anything that would remotely suggest I was capable or in a place of power.

It got to the point where I felt that I was turning into a brainless, empty—and if I may say so myself—a pretty-face shell.

Still Intimidating Guys Even Though I Was Trying Not To

Believe it or not, even though I was trying my utmost ability not to intimidate guys, I would still wind up intimidating them anyway, through no direct action of my own.

One can tell based on their behaviors. Some would clam up when I’m around. Some would speak nervously. Some would try to put me down and rebut whatever I say. There was this guy I met last year who became highly antagonistic towards me after just three minutes of conversation, even though I was being nothing but amicable. (I later found out from a common friend that he is highly averse to strong female characters, which would include me.)

I thought one reason for the unwitting intimidation could be my height, which is 1.7m—taller than the average Asian girl. Another reason could be my talking speed, which is faster than the average person. Yet another reason could be my presence, which is apparently quite strong. Often times, people could sense my presence right when I walk into a room (even in MRTs) and look up from their resting state.

This reminds me of this incident two years ago where a friend’s friend, Kev, who is a spiritual practitioner, located me in a very busy locale in Hong Kong by way of my aura—during peak hours no less. (I was in Hong Kong then for a business trip.) While my friend Fenix was getting ready to text me and check where I was, Kev simply told him, “No need. I know where she is. Follow me,” and found me in the next minute!

The amazing thing? Kev and I had never met before. When I asked him how he did that, he said my aura was so strong that it outshone all the people at the locale (probably a hundred at least?). All he had to do was simply close his eyes and “follow the light”.

Out on the Hong Kong streets: Fenix, Rita, Celes, B

Out on the Hong Kong streets, from left to right: Fenix, Rita, Celes, Banana

Questioning My Femininity

My constant intimidation of male characters without me even trying to do so when I was already dumbing myself down / shirking my character was perplexing. It got to a point where I questioned my femininity.

“Am I not feminine enough? Am I not skinny enough? Am I not attractive enough? Am I too intimidating? Am I a very scary person? Am I not appealing enough as a woman? Am I not worthy of pursuing? Is there something wrong with me? Should I lose weight? Should I change to become a different character?” I wondered.

Deep down, I thought there was something wrong with me as a woman. Where others have no problems landing the relationship of their dreams, I seem unable to do so. While I have never had any problems achieving business goals or developing awesome friendships, it would seem that getting into a romantic relationship with someone I desire was out of my grasp.

So in my darkest moments, I thought that—hey—perhaps I had failed, you know? That perhaps I had failed, as a woman? That regardless of what I did, be it shirking myself down or being my natural self, I couldn’t never seem to get into the relationship of my dreams. That perhaps, it was just not in my destiny to be with someone in this lifetime, and I could only wish for that in my next life.

Celes and Fenix

Me with Fenix last weekend. Fenix is one of my bestest buds from ex-P&G days.


It took a while, but I finally found the answer to my heart’s dilemma. I was chatting with my god-sister, Rita, while I was in Hong Kong, and she said something that made me see the situation in a different light.

I had always thought that the solution to my guy-intimidation problems was to shirk my character, dumb myself down, and/or work on my appeal as a woman… so that I would not intimidate guys anymore, or at the very least, not intimidate guys so much that they wouldn’t want to woo me.

However, while I was chatting with Rita, I asked her if there was a possibility that some guys would be afraid to woo me because they didn’t want to hurt me, say due to my longstanding singlehood.

Rita thought for a while, and said, “I think that might be true for other girls. But for you Jie, I think it’s more of a case that guys are afraid you would hurt them.”

While my immediate reaction was to burst out laughing because the thought of that happening sounded so ludicrous, I immediately stopped to think right after. For if it is really true that some guys are shying away from me because they are afraid that I would hurt them, just as there have constantly been guys who would feel intimidated by me no matter what I do (or don’t do, even), then it just means that… these guys aren’t right for me, be it as a friend or as a romantic prospect.

Because I’m not an inherently scary person, or at least I don’t try to be. I don’t try to intimidate people. I don’t harbor bad intentions against others. I live by a cruelty-free life (veganism). I try to help people where I can; heck, I’ve even dedicated my life to doing that. I never try to change others because I believe it’s not our place to tell others how they should behave. I respect individuals as I respect myself. I put my heart forward in whatever I do and I treat people with full earnestness and respect.

If guys can somehow feel intimidated by me even when I’m not even trying to intimidate them at all, if they can somehow feel scared by my character/presence/drive/ambition when I’m simply just trying to be myself and to be a good person, then that’s really just too bad and not a problem I should bind myself with.

Rather than feel inferior about myself, I should take pride in my ability to strike such deep emotions of fear in men no less, because I can imagine it probably takes a lot for guys to feel that—fear, awe, intimidation, all rolled into one—about a girl.

Suddenly, I felt that I had finally solved a long-standing problem that had been bugging my soul and tying down my heart for the longest time.

Hong Kong PE Readers Meet-Up, Group Shot

At Hong Kong PE readers meet-up! Clockwise, from left: Gabbie, Michael, Elton, Kit, Rita, myself, Serene! Thanks to all of you for coming! :) More photos on my Facebook page: HK PE Readers Meet-Up (Jan 26, 2013)

Finding Someone “Bigger” Than Me

In light of this revelation, the answer is then simple.

Rather than shirk my character, force myself to fit guys around me and tip toe around guys out of fear of intimidating them, I should instead look out for guys whose characters/ambitions are “larger” than mine. Because it’s when the guys have larger characters/ambitions than me that they are able to take on my character/ambition, relish what I have to offer, and still want more.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that such guys have surfaced in my life before. For example, my past romantic encounters were precisely with guys with larger characters/ambitions than me. In university, I was romantically linked with a guy who was a top performer (he was in fact the valedictorian). When I was in Holland, I had a romantic brush with someone who was a high-flyer and used to be an associate partner at a top firm. While I was in London in 2011, I fell in like with a good friend who has a very solid character and solid head on his shoulders. (I don’t like him anymore and we are very good friends today.)

Each of these guys was very conscious (at the time I knew them) and had similar or “bigger” character/ambition than myself when we knew each other, which was why we liked each other at that time.

I also have very close guy friends today who are able to take on my natural self and actually thrive in my presence as I do in theirs. For example, my friend Karl Chong loves hearing what I’m up to and consistently supports me in what I do. He and I often make sarcastic jabs at each other every time we converse, all done in good stead. My good friend Wen enjoys and celebrates the fact that I’m a woman of power and in power, much to my delight. We often have conscious, intellectual exchanges which he loves, and he constantly reminds me not to change myself for anyone else. Another friend who comes to mind is Derek, a renowned TED speaker, who enjoys my opinions and soaks in everything I say.

What’s more, I’m starting to meet more and more of such conscious, “larger-than-life” type of guys today, as I progress in my path. It has made me realize that it is only by embracing my true self that I will meet more compatible guys—not the other way round, where I force fit myself to be compatible with guys around me. The latter approach is a never-ending path and will only make myself miserable in the end, as evidenced by the years where I held down my natural self to “match” others (with abysmal results to boot).

To All Ladies Out There Who “Intimidate” Men

If you’re a woman who often intimidates guys around you, my advice is to simply to get out there and meet guys with “bigger” characters and ambitions than yours.

By “character”, I’m referring to consciousness, personality, and emotional, mental, and spiritual capacity.

For “intimidation” only happens when the guy has a smaller character/ambition than yours.

I remember the first few times I met my friend, Karl (who is happily married by the way, just so you guys know). Karl is a highly accomplished and successful person—in fact, he is one of the most successful persons I’ve ever known in my life. (Karl is the CEO of Groupon Singapore.)

I was very conscious to behave in a way that wouldn’t intimidate him—something which I used to do with everyone I met before my revelation. I tried to talk slower, hold down my high energy, not talk too much about myself, and avoid any mention of things which would remotely suggest I’m a woman of drive, ideas, and ambition.

As Karl and I became closer friends, I continued to hold back parts of my real self lest I turned him off. Until one day when I asked him if my talking speed was an issue and if he thought it was better for me to speak slowly.

“No, why would it be an issue?” he said. “I think it’s perfectly fine.”

“Really?” I replied in surprise. “You don’t find that I speak too fast or that my energy can be a little overwhelming sometimes?”

“No, not at all. I mean you talk fast and you have a high energy, but that’s what I like about you Celes. That’s part of you being you, and that’s part of what makes you such a great and fun person to be around. I don’t think you should worry about this at all. Just be who you are, Celes. You are fine the way you are.”

I was absolutely taken by surprise by his answer. Here is a true friend who was basically giving me the space to be my true self, which, in my opinion, paved the start of an authentic friendship between us. Today Karl and I are very close friends, and I can’t be more grateful for this friendship of ours.

Conversely, if a guy has a fraction of your character/ambition, he will find it very hard to take on your character. He will feel constantly intimidated by you, even if you aren’t trying to intimidate him.

For example, I once knew this guy who kept feeling intimidated by me even though I wasn’t trying to intimidate him at all. He would have issues with me—from my actions, my non-actions, my kindness, my friendliness, my positivity, my personal success, to my influence on other people.

It got to the point where I realized the issue isn’t with me—the issue is with him and his own insecurity with himself. Doesn’t matter what I do or don’t do, or what I say or don’t say—he is always going to find fault with me at the end of the day. In the end, I decided to cut him out of my life because I don’t need such vitriol.

I know it can be tough meeting compatible guys sometimes, be it for friendship or romance. However, I ask you not to give up. Know that this “difficulty” is only part of the journey, and it will only make you appreciate the great guys who are going to come your way eventually.

And believe me, they will. I’m living proof of that. Even though I’m still single today, I have many great guy (and girl) friends, including the three guys I have cited above, who accept me just the way I am and celebrate my real self. I think such connections are the purest type of connection you can ever, ever ask for in life.

I wish you all the best in your journey of romance and great social connections. ♥ Here’s to all of us women of power and in power. Let’s celebrate our power with great joy and not bind or hold ourselves down our of fear of intimidating other people, because we should never live our lives in fear, but instead, love. ♥

Banana and Celes

My friend, Banana, and I

Update Sep ’13: I’ve since found my soulmate in life and he is every bit the “larger-than-life” guy I’ve described in this article, and many many more. :) It’s funny reading this article in retrospect because I didn’t realize that I was so near to meeting my soulmate when I wrote this piece. (I would meet him a short two months later.) Read my soulmate series for the full story, as well as a guide on how you can find yours: How I Found My Soulmate (seven-part series)

  • Ffion

    Kudos to you for embracing your authentic self and not trying to change to fit the taste of others. You’re definitely right, that’ll never make you happy. Keep going girl, you’re awesome and the guys’ll just have to live with that ;)

    • Celes

      Thanks Ffion! Same for you too! ;)

  • Jade Jameson

    Do you have to go on about the fact that you were on the Dean’s list/ worked at P&G (which by the way, isn’t as great as you make it out to be) all the time? Well done if people have given you compliments but the way you go on about them is boring and uninsightful.

    • Celes

      The point is I feel they were great at the point I accomplished them and I continue to feel proud of those experiences. P&G is an excellent, top-notch company and my stint there shaped a good part of my positive views in life today. If you don’t agree, that’s really too bad, because I will continue to write about these points as and where they are relevant to the story (which in this case they are). Try looking into why you feel they are “boring” and “uninsightful” instead; otherwise stop reading this blog if it bothers you that much.

      • Susan Alderson

        “It’s not bragging if you can back it up.”
        - Muhammad Ali

        • Celes

          Thanks Susan. :) :hug:

  • Sulthana

    Celes, I loved this article, felt like it was written directly to me on my experiences with guys! You are so right, the best way is to be yourself and meet guys with bigger ambitions and brains – the difficulty is finding those lol…

    • Celes

      Hey Sulthana! Like I said in the article, being your natural self will be one big first step towards meeting those guys. It will help to bring you forward in life path which will naturally put you in contact with such “bigger” and “brander” people. Thanks so much for your positive comments! :)

  • Christina

    Hey Celes!

    Loved this article! Thank you for sharing such a personal story (further illustrating the point you made in Blogging Bootcamp over the weekend). I was giving a lot of thought to how I could share more and feel very inspired by the example you’ve shared here.

    Your point is right on the money–about being true to yourself and finding someone who can hold an even higher vision for you rather than trying to shrink it down for someone who is not a good match. You are amazing the way you are and I do agree that the right person will be someone who can see that and make all your traits even brighter :)

    It was also really cool to read about all your accomplishments–absolutely amazing! You deserve the best.


  • Lolita

    Hey Celes!

    I feel like you are my twin sister sometimes. I have an overbearing personality (i think), highly driven, organized, make my own money & drives my own car. I always have a problem with romantic partners who will leave when they realize that i have a head above my shoulders. Now, i am more attracted to CEO’s and high flying men who are so accomplished in themselves, they do not need to be in awe of me. Your post also applies to women as well.

    Thanks for this highly insightful post and congratulations on all your achievements. I have tried to dumb down even in college and it doesn’t work!

    • Celes

      Aw, thank you so much for your kind words Lolita! I’m so glad you related to this post. Thank you so much for sharing your story too; I think it’s a very nice and fuzzy feeling to hear that you underwent the same experience yourself. Big hug! :hug:

  • Arindum

    Well explained, motivating & highly innovative one!

  • Glenn

    You’re not intimidating Celes :) It’s definitely what you said about it being a case of their own insecurity.

    Although I kind of disagree with the “intimidation only happens when the guy has a smaller character/ambition than yours”. Normally I’m not intimidated by anyone, including police with guns, celebrities, people who are really successful, big dogs, or anyone in power. The only times I have felt intimidated in any way, would be occasions where I’ve been around people at much lower consciousness levels. Like guys or girls who get drunk, have very little (if any) ambition in life, complain about things constantly, and always seem to adhere to that ‘victim’ mentality. Which I hate to say, would be a large chunk of the Australian population! :)

    • Celes

      Hey Glenn! Why would you feel intimidated in those cases? It sounds more like you were feeling “annoyed” or “irritated” than intimidated actually. :) I’d say “intimidation” is more defined by feeling scared, defensive, having a fight-or-flight type of response. A very fear-based feeling.

      Thank you so much for your kind words. And that means a lot too coming from how we’ve seen each other in person before and spent some time together. And from me to you – I think you’re really an awesome character with a very big heart, and it was truly brought to life when we finally met last year at Real Food!

      • Susie

        It may be a slightly different kind of intimidation that Glenn is referring to: There’s the intimidation where you’re scared of people because of what they might do to you to hurt you (e.g. of thugs / drunks with low consciousness) vs the intimidation where you are afraid of talking to someone because of your own insecurities that they won’t like you or that you’ll feel inferior to them.

        • Celes

          I hear you Susie! In this case I would say it’s different from the kind of intimidation I’m referring to in the article, and hence the original line of thought still applies (i.e. guys who are afraid or constantly feel intimidated by certain female characters feel so because their characters are too small to match the ladies’). And I’m simply saying this as an objective comment and not as a derogatory or male-attacking comment.

          I don’t think it’s necessary for someone or a guy to have a huge character or huge ambition just to be respected (I have a lot of great guy friends with different levels of ambitions and I love all of them. They are all awesome people, all worthy of equal respect. Ambition does not necessary define the worthiness of an individual.) However, constant self-inducement of fear and feeling “challenged”/feeling the need to challenge a female makes a guy very very unattractive.

      • Glenn

        Thanks for the kind words too Celes! :)

        Sorry, I got back here a bit late on this reply, but Susie’s reply below pretty much nailed what I’m talking about. When certain people get drunk they can become unpredictable and violent in some cases. Or they may get offended really easily and retaliate in some way. Usually they’re the kind of people who will judge people too.

        I can think of a few occasions last year I’d gone out and encountered people like that. One time there was a big guy who tried to hit on my friend who came out with me that night at a friends birthday. Then another time I can remember a guy I knew years ago who was really drunk, hugged me, and then as I tried to pull away a few seconds later he bit me on the neck! That was at a friends farewell party.

    • JadePenguin

      Was it maybe a subconscious fear that you would be left alone, cause the conversation didn’t seem to be going anywhere? I used to have that a lot, and I’d always think I was a bad conversationalist! Cuz everyone else seemed to be getting along just fine. I did have great chats with certain people but I always thought they were simply good at it, not me.

      I’ve changed a lot recently. I don’t feel out of place around the less conscious people anymore. I try to be as kind as I can and back off if it ain’t working but don’t feel bad about myself :)

  • Cherene

    At first when I saw the title, i thought you meant you were afraid of men who were intimidating. As i read the article, I was wondering, “Okay, so where’s the part about men intimidating you?” Halfway through, i realised you meant otherwise. Lol.

    Anyway, totally agree that you shouldn’t be bothered by men who are intimated by you. In the first place, you are probably not attracted to their *cough* loser personality… so it’s not your loss. :)

    • Nini

      I thought the same thing when I read the title. I enjoyed this article and I think it has a good piece of advice in it. There are many ways to deal with people who find you intimidating. I just want to add that if anyone does find you intimidating it has very little to do with you, and more to do with what’s going on for them. Stay true to yourself.

  • Hanna

    Thank you for this post Celes. It has made me think about the type of person I want to attract as my next partner/relationship.

    I am just breaking off an old stale marriage so this has come at a perfect time for me.




    • Celes

      You are very welcome Hanna. I’m glad this has been such a timely post for you. :hug:

  • John

    Excellent article Celes. I found myself completely in sync with your story .

    It was especially interesting to me as a male. I never had problems with “romantic brushes”, ( I like that expression, in fact I like many of your other expressions and the way you write) but it seemed nearly impossible for me to attract women I thought were potential soul mates. It was only after quite a few years of frustration that a woman friend (also interesting is that she was happily married and had tried many times to have me meet the “right girl”) finally said to me “Your problem with women John is that you drive them away before they even get to know you. You intimidate them”

    That changed my entire approach to relationships. Instead of looking for women whom I found attractive to me I spent my time getting to know women who didn’t seem to care less about me romantically. In the process I discovered two secure and confident women in my life, one to whom I am still happily married.

    Celes, after following your blog for a couple of years, I think you are a “catch”, or “one in a million” as we old types used to say :dance: , so keep in mind that you won’t find a match in every neighborhood.

    • Celes

      John, aren’t you a complete sweetheart??? Thank you SO much for your wonderful, kind words! Your comment about me being a ‘catch” really curled my lips and brought an impish yet shy smile onto my face. :)

      I don’t know what’s in the cards for me in terms of romance in this life, but I’m happy to have “refound” myself through this mental “ordeal” surrounding this whole male-intimidation thing in the past few years. I’m very happy to be who I am and celebrate it; whoever loves it will come along and stick with me (as friend or romantic prospect); whoever doesn’t, simply won’t.

      Congratulations that you have found the person for you and the other woman whom I assume is a good friend! :hug:

  • Grace

    Very interesting blog post, Celes, and you should definitely NOT hide your light :) I’m reminded of the Marianne Williamson quote, ‘your playing small does not serve the world’!

    I wonder if you’ve heard of Matthew Hussey? He’s a coach in this area who’s studied over 5,000 men and who now coaches thousands of women with the discoveries he’s made (I’m sure a googling will bring him up!)

    He says the ‘intimidation’ thing is a bit of a myth; guys generally DO want a woman who’s successful, confident, strong etc. But. There’s always a but. The first one I’m sure you’re not guilty of; having all that strength, but neglecting to be playful with it. Without teasing, playfulness, sexuality, a guy think you’re JUST about business. A guy just needs a glimpse of the other qualities you possess, that’s all.

    And that ties into the other aspect; validation. If a guy looks at your life, and can’t see that he can bring something to it .. well, it invalidates his masculinity. And guys – like us girls – need occasional reassurance that they’re needed for what only they can provide in our lives.

    I really recommend Matt’s new book Get the Guy; I’m half-way through reading it, and only know him through following his blog, but bought spares of his book so I can gift them to friends (or ship them out to anyone where it’s not published yet!) as it ties in with everything I’ve studied in psychology/NLP/coaching/etc.

    Good luck finding your lucky guy xx

    • Celes

      Thank you so much Grace for the recommendation! I’ll definitely give that book a look. And good luck in your journey of finding YOUR guy too! :D (You didn’t mention if you have found him, so I’m simply assuming that you’re still on your way there. And he will come—I truly believe so! ;) )

  • Liz

    Wow. I can really relate to this article. I have also encountered situations when I have an opposing opinion but changed my mind to speak up just so I won’t give the impression of a smartass. I also suffer from the “you are too picky” syndrome but then again, why not? I rather stay single than commit into a relationship just for the sake of being in one. Better to have a happy individual than having two unhappy people.

    • Celes

      Thank you Liz! :) I’m glad that you can relate to this article. Funny how we may sometimes think that we are going through a “problem” alone, only to know that others share the same line of thought as well!

  • Susie

    I think it’s a good solution to go for guys that are secure because ultimately their feelings of being intimidated by you are rooted in their own feelings of inferiority. When they see you so successful and vibrant it may remind them how far away they are from what they want to be. It may be a good solution going for guys who are extremely accomplished (afterall like energies attract like energies so it makes sense you would be drawn to people like this) but I wouldn’t restrict yourself just to those. Some guys who are very accepting, peaceful and well connected to their true selves (and therefore less prone to insecurities) may feel unintimidated by you even if they haven’t necessarily got a long list of impressive achievements.

    According to the law of attraction, the more you focus on what you don’t want (e.g. I don’t want to intimidate guys) – the more you’ll attract that into your life. If you start focusing on what you *do* want (e.g. I want a guy who is relaxed in my presence, interesting, energetic, ambitious, etc etc) – then you’ll start attracting that into your life :)

  • Laurel

    Wow, what a beautiful article! Your story of how you used to “repress” your personality with guys reminds me of a similar time in my life when I was a teenager. Though not specifically to impress guys, I dumbed down my character to fit in with other people at school. It’s sad because I neglected core aspects of my personality to avoid being branded as “nerdy”, and have only really begun to rediscover and apply them within the last year. Thanks Celes!

    • Celes

      Thank YOU Laurel! Thank you for sharing your story. It may not be 100% the same but it shares the same conclusion—we should never hold ourselves down just to “fit in” with the crowd. Be ourselves and shine in our light, and this will lead to the people whom we are meant to be. Kudos to you for coming to that realization yourself Laurel! :hug:

  • Michael

    Congratulations Celes! I’m very glad you chose to let yourself shine on your path to attracting the right person. :clap:

    From previous PE chat/course/meetup, I feel that a big strength of yours is your energy and passion to help others. It’s such a positive trait that makes you and the extension of yourself in PE so great! Similar to the PE logo, would someone rather live curling down? Or rising up and shine as the best version of him/herself?

    It’s a little similar in HK. An increasing number professional women claim to have a tough time finding a life partner. The half-joke is that the guys should step up & be better achievers themselves. I think there’s some truth to it!

    In any case, I’m a believer that good things happen to good people. I feel certain that your “right one” can shine in energy and passion to achieve good as much as you do. And you’re much more likely to meet him by being your true self than if otherwise! :angel:

    • Celes

      Dearest Michael, thank you so much for your kind comment. :hug: And your opinion is an extra special one, coming from how we have met each other in person before during the HK PE Readers Meet-Up. I didn’t get the chance to tell you but you emanate a very warm and kind energy. Sort of like Buddha, you know? I think yours is a rare soul and anyone in your life (friends, family, etc.) is lucky to have you with them!

      • Michael

        Whoa Celes, thank you so much for your kind words. I’m a bit taken back by it! I do think I have have felt the kind of energy that you described when I met former monk & env activist Satish Kumar a month ago. What a compliment especially coming from you! I hope to keep this up then! :)

        I do have a sincere observation I wanted to share with you. As you know I love PE and love your work. It’s helped me a lot, and the PE Book is still my #1 guide as I work on a number of improvement areas right now. So it upsets me that some people chose to give such negative comments on this article.

        I tried thinking in their shoes, wondering what turned them off so badly. Was it feeling intimidated? (Could well be!) Then it occurred to me that if (and that’s a big “if”) they are first-time PE readers, the early paragraphs may be interpreted as showing off by some. Regular PE readers know your style, and know that this is the first time you wrote in a less humble way merely to make the point about your strong background (and integrating links to past articles for the convenience of those interested). However for a first-time reader who didn’t know that, it could’ve been interpreted in another way. So perhaps a question you can find out later is whether those negative commenters were first-time readers or not? If they were not, I really wish they could spend their time & energy on better things, and this was just me babbling. :p

        • Celes

          Hey Michael! Don’t worry too much about those negative comments (I wrote a piece before on why criticism is good and why I love receiving it); actually they are the perfect examples of what I’m trying to illustrate in the article (about getting constant intimidation vibes from men). Though in real life it’s worse because there are times when men get intimidated by virtue of my presence (without me saying anything at all).

          Separately regarding whether they are first-time readers or not, one of them mentioned whether I “had to go on and on” about being a Dean’s Lister and P&G, which suggests he probably read a couple other pieces before. (Though to be honest I don’t even mention the dean’s list piece all that much. The part about P&G I mention on and off, because it *is* a part of my history and a defining part of my early life, and it’s not something I’m going to erase or purposely omit just because someone thinks I sound pompous saying it.) I’m more amused that these people would spend all that time to convey such negativity; I personally would rather move on to something that makes me happy if there’s something supposedly irritating me.

          • Michael

            Haha great, sounds like you’ve got it thought out. Your “in real life it’s worse” cracks me up!

            I agree that you mention the achievements and experience in making a point or writing for the benefit of the readers. Nothing wrong with that and not worth hiding. I, too, think they’d be better off using their time & energy on something more positive.


  • Sam

    This is a great post. As an observant guy, I have noticed some women who are, as yourself, bright, attractive, ambitious, etc.., but as you say, tend to have an intimidating effect in their interactions with single males. I think some guys feel intimidated because, although they have accrued a certain level of success in their own lives, don’t feel they could fit your “criteria” in what you seek in potential boyfriends, etc.. I don’t know if this is a popular cultural thing, but I remember having a conversation re: dating with a pretty Korean-American (her parents are Korean but she was born and raised in the U.S.) colleague at work, during a break. She remarked that her friends, who also happened to be Asian American females, had very high “standards” when it came to dating. The potential boyfriends (here in the U.S.) had to hold managerial positions and be graduates of Ivy League universities (Harvard, Princeton, etc..) I think I may have chimed in (there were other colleagues in the conference room who were providing their input as well) that some of her friends may be missing out on dating otherwise good decent single guys who lack these specifics. I’ve met some women here (Asian and non-Asian) who are high-caliber professionals but are almost 40 and still unmarried. They’re attractive, intelligent, fit, etc.. but perhaps they have been a bit picky over the years and if they had dated well-established professionals who made 6 figures annually or more, their relationships with these bachelors, for whatever reason, didn’t work out.

    I’m of the opinion, too, that it’d be a plus if single women who make bigger salaries, are more successful in their respective industries, etc.. give guys who are otherwise good, caring and do work in similar atmospheres (corporate – finance, accounting, etc..) but haven’t been promoted, are not known as high fliers, etc.. a chance in the dating scene. I’ve literally met guys, who after settling down with such ladies, somehow also start surging in their own fields, like they hadn’t beforehand. Thank you for letting me voice my comment. This is terrific.

    • Celes

      Hi Sam! It sounds like those guys who started surging in their own fields were probably open-minded (more so than the average joe) and willing to share similar, if not bigger, ambitions as their female partners, which subsequently led to their growth. I say the guys played as big a role in their own development as did their partners.

      In fact, I would even go as far to say that even though these guys may not have been as materially/financially/professionally successful as their partners when they first met, their *characters* (read: mindsets) were probably already larger than life, which led them to accept/embrace/love and enter into a relationship with their partners, subsequently leading to their growth. The reason why I say this is because there are tons of strong females who meet “less successful” males all the time, but nothing spark off because the males are unwilling to take on a woman with such a large/strong character/ambition. (Assuming the women are okay with the men being “less successful” than them.)

      • Christina


        I absolutely agree with you –that is a good point! A guy doesn’t need to be successful and larger than life to be with a woman that has a strong personality and accomplishments–rather it works if he is able to hold a larger vision for himself and the girl he is with. That is what is really important, I think!


        • Celes

          What you said, Christina, regarding holding a larger vision for himself! It kind of alludes to points #2 and #5 of what I stated in part 1 of my date coaching series. It’s more about the guy’s potential and vision for himself than what externalities he has achieved or where he is at this point in his life. I’m totally okay with being with a guy, even if he is bankrupt at this moment, if his potential and vision are matches with my character/ambition. Because I know this potential and vision will be driving him to greatness, and whether he is bankrupt or not will only be a momentary phase in his life which I will be more than happy to fight with him through and overcome that difficulty together, as a couple/friend/partner.

          • Christina

            I totally agree with you! Love that way of looking at it :)

  • Daniel L. Pelzl

    Karl is right. I’d suggest taking a post graduate course at MIT. You only need to meet the one person who is good for you. I’ve met two young ladies who had your personality and worked for P&G. One was in charge of Dove. The other helped handle the employee’s medical benefits and negotiated with the providers.
    Any man not finding you attractive would have to be mentally diminished. Be yourself forever.

    • Celes

      Hey Daniel, thanks so much. You’re so, so incredibly sweet. :) By the way, on the Dove person – do you mean Unilever, one of P&G’s core competitors, instead? Dove is under Unilever’s wing.

      I’d definitely take post graduate courses or further my studies if it’s in line with my personal and career vision. At the moment none in the plans but it’s not something I’ll shut myself out of. I totally see merit in returning to school as a personal upgrade and to expand social and professional circles.

  • Lilly

    Dear Celes,

    thank you for sharing this valuable post! I feel like you are speaking from my heart ♥.

    I am very motivated towards my life plans and I am proactive in achieving them. This has brought me to the forefront of my field, which is demanding high energy, but rewarding! Just like you, I made the experience that this was a major obstacle in dating. I remember that in the past one guy said to a mutual friend (after turning me down): “She is ambitious. She has *goals*! I cannot date her.” I was shocked. This kept repeating itself until I found – many years later – a round of male (platonic) friends that supported me just the way I was.

    And after all these years, when I was asking myself (just like you): Do I not deserve a boyfriend? Am I not good enough?…destiny stepped in and I met my partner. We started as friends, but soon realized we were connected by love. He supports me in everything and is very proud of my work. I think men like him a rare, for it is much easier to seek to avoid a strong partner other than to support and respect her/him.

    Personally, I think it is important to live with the eyes wide open: I always expected to end up with a guy that studied business, had his own company or was a manager of some sort (because these are some of my main interests). Instead, my partner is from a completely different field: He treats children and teenagers in communities or clinics. So, his goals or ambitions are not necessarily bigger than mine, they are just in a very different field from my own. I enjoy to learn from him and he keeps my feet on the ground – so we are a perfect team. I agree with what Sam said: The guy does not have to be stronger or better than me…what I wish for is an openess in him towards life, goals and ambitions. I feel glad if I can inspire him to pursue his dreams and at the same time learn from him. (In terms of active dating, that makes the circle of potential boyfriends larger than just focusing on top-managers^^).

    I am happy now (after years and years of just focusing on career matters) and I am sure you are very close to this in your life, too, Celes! Your website really inspires me and I keep recommending it to friends. Thanks for everything!

    ♥ Lilly ♥

    P.S.: Like John said, special girls don’t find a match in every neighborhood…in fact I had to travel 15,000 kilometres (haha)…

    • Celes

      Dearest Lilly, thanks so much for sharing your inspiring story! I’m SO, SO happy for you that you have found your partner and you are happily in love today. That’s such an inspiring “success” story (not that we are trying to define finding one’s partner as success here) for all other strong, successful, and “powerful” females reading this post.

      Like you said, it’s important to live with eyes open, and I can’t agree more with you. You remind me of this business case study of how a team of guys were busy playing footballs and were so focused on hitting the ball that none of them even noticed this big gorilla (mascot character) jumping up and down the field. It’s to showcase the point that when we are so focused/hung up over something, it’s possible that we can miss out (great) things that are before us. So not pre-defining what we want, keeping our eyes open, and simply keeping an open mind would be the key here to finding the relationship we desire.

  • Paula

    Insightful article & you are the type of person who I think would be a great friend & great fun! Thanks for sharing and I wish you much future success and happiness :)

    • Celes

      Thank you so much for your kind words Paula! :) *hugs*

  • Cobe

    Celes, you are so beautiful and inspiring. I would be considered that “feminine” type, always smiling, slow talking, “nice girl”, ditzy, not -so- driven type personality but guess what? Guys aren’t necessarily attracted to that either! I haven’t had a date in years and I would consider myself a pretty 25 year old ;) others including myself have wondered and thought maybe it’s because I’m too nice…ludicrous! I have flaws but I’m learning to accept myself and believe that I’m awesome haha I know the right guy will come along and accept me for my ditzy self. :p So I just want to encourage you to continue to be yourself! Your rock! You inspire so many people around the world to live their dreams. So keep being your beautiful, STRONG womanly self! You’ll find the right guy in time! :) xoxo

    • Celes

      Thanks Cobe! And I encourage YOU to be yourself too. :D Don’t change for anyone else, be who you are, shine in your own light, and whoever will be attracted to you, will be! You are just 25 years old like you said and too young to be worried about finding the right guy (not that you are doing that!). Keep being you and let’s rock on together! :D