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Rookie is an online magazine and book series for teenagers.Each month, a different editorial theme drives the writing, photography, and artwork that we publish.Also, we’ve both been called “intimidating” by our peers, teachers, and parents, and all of them meant it as a compliment. A lot of girls we know have been called intimidating, so we decided to talk to each other about what this phenomenon actually means.—Gabby GABBY: Do you remember what if felt like the first time someone described you as intimidating?Just thinking about this on a deeper level, I think I’m just really weirded out that the way I see myself isn’t how others see me, you know? Like, immediately disliking another girl because you actually LOVE her outfit or something surface-y. When I first met one of my best friends, I didn’t like her because she was just like me.Like I’ll think I’m being nice, but people think I’m mean, and that’s genuinely disturbing. GABBY: I don’t want people to think I’m intimidating, yet I also do this thing where I am intimidated by people who are similar to me. I was weirdly protective of my status as the bookish one who knew all the answers in class à la Tracy Flick, and suddenly here comes this brilliant chick with perfect hair who had read as much Sylvia Plath as I had.I conducted an informal (and utterly unscientific) poll on the Dr.Nerd Love Facebook Page, trying to get a handle on what guys mean. So let’s take a look at what men say is intimidating… Men can find beauty intimidating; the more attractive the woman, the more advantages society gives her.

If a woman keeps hearing from men that she’s “intimidating”, what is she supposed to do – besides start approaching men who have more self-confidence and fewer issues?

Everyone says communication is the key to good relationships, but that's not very helpful when certain words are so confusing.

Take the word "intimidating." That's got to be one of the most frustrating words in the whole dating world, am I right, ladies?

Whether it's an individual who worries about the consequences of speaking up at work or in a close relationship, a family cowed by a scary parent, a business fixated on threats instead of opportunities, or a country that's routinely told it's under "Threat Level Orange" - it's the same human brain that reacts in all cases.

Therefore, understanding how your brain became so vigilant and wary, and so easily hijacked by alarm, is the first step toward gaining more control over that ancient circuitry.