I got labeled aggressive by one of my friends. I’ve always known that I intimidate people, but I never really thought it was because of my personality. I always thought it was either because of my body type, my athletic ability, or my education. Recently, I lost touch with a friend of mine. That’s not completely uncommon for me when I get busy at work. I ran into her over the weekend. She was nice and friendly, but definitely got uncomfortable when a friend came up and mentioned a party she was having. It was clear she didn’t want me to go, and I brought that up. Long story short, she accused me of having an “aggressive” personality. She didn’t mean I was mean, she meant that I get really excited about things, am confident in my opinions, and am sometimes very loud.
That is all absolutely true and I have no plans on changing that, but my problem is, I think this may be why I no longer have any close friends. I’ve always thought of myself as a social chameleon, preferring to match the vibe of the other person, unless I’m talking about something I’m passionate about. I don’t usually talk about those things unless the person I’m talking to has the same interest. I am naturally a very lighthearted person and I always thought that people saw that instead of my size or my resume. A few years ago, I found out there was a boy I liked in high school who was intimidated by my athletic ability, and for years I’ve seen people act weird when I tell them where I graduated from college, but I always thought that didn’t matter because of my personality. Now I’m wondering if that’s true. Even in college, I had very few friends, even among athletes who wouldn’t be intimidated by me. I really want to find some close friends again. Do you have any advice on how I can avoid intimidating people while not hiding who I am?
— Aggressively Friendly