9 Simple Things Confident Women Wish Men Understood Better


I am not ashamed that the phrase “confidence, Cohen.” will forever be the piece of advice from The O.C. that felt the most satisfying and sensical—the writers knew what was up, we all felt like Cohen in that moment. If you don’t get the reference, just get on board with the idea that confidence is a good thing that shouldn’t be discouraged in anyone. Here are some things that I feel like men could understand better about what it’s like to be a confident woman.

1. We don’t aim to threaten anyone—intimidation isn’t our goal

Everyone feels threatened by someone else at some point, regardless of gender. But women get so much flack for being “too intimidating” or “bitchy” or “bossy.” It’s exhausting to feel like you have to make other people feel safe and comfortable around you, just to compensate for something that shouldn’t require compensation. Confidence, at its best, in its purest form, means knowing yourself. It doesn’t come with a “but don’t threaten others!” warning label for men, so peel that one off for women too.

2. We’re okay if we say we’re okay

Somewhere along the line, “I’m fine” turned into the go-to way to express the “things are NOT okay!” sentiment. Let’s dismantle that. If she says “I’m okay” and she says she’s sure, then she is sure. Back off. Don’t press the issue. Don’t act like she isn’t capable of deciding to let something go, or move on, or go forward. If we’re okay, let us be.

3. Niceness and manners don’t add up to flirtation

Confidence isn’t a blanket excuse for engaging with anyone who smiles at you because you’re a ~social butterfly~, but it is an attribute that begets social interaction. Please don’t get angry or jealous with us for being comfortable with handling ourselves in social situations.

4. I know what I need, but what I want isn’t static

We know how to ask for what we need, whether it’s a conversation, a date to an event, or three bucks to borrow for coffee. We feel comfortable asking for help, but we don’t need help in figuring out what we want. Sometimes it feels like guys assume that women need help deciding on what they want: clothes, makeup, cars, educational paths, career things, whatever. But honestly? We don’t need your opinions on those things—if we want them, we will ask. Human beings are always figuring out exactly what they want—in a moment, in a lifetime, in the next week, whatever. No one enjoys being told what they should want.

5. We’re capable of taking a compliment

Saying a simple “thanks!” to a compliment should never be read as ungrateful, yet women often get weird vibes from men that we’re being cocky because we aren’t humble enough. If you call me pretty, I’m not going to argue with you—I am going to thank you, and I might agree. And that’s perfectly normal and okay. Being aware of one’s own value and positive attributes and being able to casually thank another person for complimenting them should be the norm, not some indication of being full of oneself.

6. We don’t need to be validated

Compliments are wonderful to receive, but saying that I’m “actually a really good _____” on a monthly basis isn’t a compliment—it’s a reminder that you’re surprised that I am good at something, for whatever reason. When you compliment a woman in those ways, it feels like you’re just assuming we need your validation—we really don’t. Don’t stop giving genuine compliments, but do stop trying to feed an ego that isn’t unstable and is actually prettttty well-fed. Like, our sense of selves will be fine—worry about yourself.

7. We’re not yelling

Okay, so sometimes people get waaaay loud when they’re excited about something and it’s annoying as hell—we agree on that. We’ll read your facial expression and tone it down, or feel the temperature of the room and tone it down. But don’t respond to any ebb in volume due to enthusiasm with something as condescending as “…uh, you’re yelling?” Yelling is what you do at a sporting event. Yelling is what you do when you’re angry. Yelling is raising your voice, it feels all ugly and gross and you saying it to someone who just got loud for a second is pretty ugly and gross too. Find your chill and we will find ours, I promise. No need for fighting words. (Sorry for saying fighting words, it felt right?)

8. We need breaks

It’s easy to get exasperated with someone who seems one-track minded or intense—we get it, and we feel that way too. Everyone needs a break here and there. We’ll understand if you don’t constantly want to be around us; in fact, we’ll appreciate it and respect it. We want alone time, too. The idea of a clingy woman is a nasty stereotype, don’t hold on to it and assume that we will begin to wither into emotional distress if you ask to do your own thing for a night,

9. We’re still vulnerable

This feels like the gRaNd CoNcLuSiOn of every post about confidence, but it bears repeating: every confident person has insecurities and is, therefore, just a vulnerable person like anyone else. Confidence is something that we can all aspire to—cockiness is the evil step-sister of confidence that lacks any self-awareness of vulnerability. Don’t attack a confident person when you’re angry with lazy insults like “you think you’re so great!” et. al. Don’t prey on the vulnerability of a confident person by tearing down one of the things they pride themselves on. It’s petty, and pettiness only begets pettiness. Confident women aren’t monsters, they’re self-aware people—get with their program or get better.