I Want to Be a Cashew

For years, and I mean YEARS people have said to me, "I was so intimidated by you when I first met you, but now that I know you, I realize how UNintimidating you are." (or some variation of that statement) I used to think this was funny, and just shrugged off their comments. For a while I even thought, "well, that's just how I am and once people get to know me, then they will see I am not intimidating."

But most recently, through lots of self-assessment and leadership training I have come to realize that this personification of intimidation is not a good thing, and I need to work on changing that. I really am a nice person, and I don't want people to have to get through my "tough exterior" to get to the real me. The thing is, I don't do "it" on purpose and quite frankly have no idea what "it" is that intimidates people. When I have asked why people are intimidated by me, the two most common answers I get are "your posture" and "your self-confidence" (which is extremely funny to me because I don't FEEL self-confident!)

So, I need your help. Please post two things for me. 1. When you first met me, were you intimidated, and if so, why? And 2. What are some practical tips you could give me on being less intimidating on first impression (and please don't say "slouch")?

All that to say, I don't want to be a walnut person (a tough nut to crack). I want to be a cashew (they don't even come in a shell!)


  1. I was never intimidated by you! You're too funny to scare me. But, I had a similar discussion with someone once which made me realize that my facial expressions don't always accurately portray my feelings. Sometimes my natural expression looks angry or "put-off." Since then, I've made an effort to smile more - or even just lighten my expression a tad. That being said, I still try to intimidate some people....like my husband when I'm trying to get the landscape lighting installed.

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  3. Hey Carol. I think I was intimidated when I first met you. But I'm pretty sure I'm intimidated when I meet everyone. I want everyone to like me. I think I was intimidated because I admire you so much. I wanted to make a good impression. But seriously, one day I wish I could have the knowledge, faith and trust in God you have. But, the intimidation lasted for about five seconds.

    I don't think you need to change a thing. People admire you and that's a GOOD thing. And you're funny as heck! I loved being your slave!! :D

  4. Met you in January of 1993...was not intimidated, just grateful. Mike had called when Doug and I were moving to CC and said you guys were offering to watch our two sons for the day since you had two sons about their age.
    You cracked me up all the time. You were real and gave me a safe place to vent...very important for a young pastor's wife.
    Now I'm just an old professor's wife...but you still crack me up.
    Don't change. Confidence is a good thing. People get to know you easily and quickly...or at least they did when you still lived in CC.

  5. When I first met you, I took one second to size you up and thought, "shoot, I could take her in a bar brawl". :) Just kidding, but you definitely did not come across, to me, as intimidating. Confident and competent, yes, but intimidating, no. Mostly I think I was just so very glad you were there, and the more I got to know you, the more glad I became. :) You are an amazing person, and I liken you more to a pecan that has already been cracked...why? I don't know, but I love and appreciate the person that is Carol Jones...you are great they way you are. I think sometimes extremely intelligent and well-equipped women are hard to handle in the male culture we live in...this does not necessarily mean that you are doing anything wrong, but maybe more that you break some cultural norms, and people may not know how to handle this at first...until they get to know you, and realize you're not such a hard ass after all :) I like you just the way you are. :) (p.s. I have an affinity for smiley faces that cannot be shaken and must not be questioned.)


Thank you for reading. I look forward to hearing from you.