How to Intimidate People

It started in the playground, where that sweaty bully dished out bad insults and made you feel like a putz. Years later, you’re still being intimidated: on the street at night, in job interviews, at pickup basketball games, when someone says something nasty to you in the bar—in all these situations you’re stuck being the victim rather than the aggressor, the one who has to back down while your tormentor grins that shit-eating grin at you. Don’t you wish there was a way to shut him or her up, to force that clown into a humiliating retreat? Not by throwing a punch, of course, since that could end with you in a jail cell or badly beaten or both. You’re going to win this fight without it ever becoming a fight.

The problem is, not everybody has a natural knack for intimidation. Practice makes perfect, but since firsthand research in this field can be slightly hazardous, I thought I’d get some pointers from a group of individuals who are skilled in getting the bullies of life to back the fuck off.

VICE does not advocate the use of violence or illegal activity, nor do we advise you to put yourself into a position of danger.

Click through below to read intimidation tips from:


The same week that we’re celebrating progress for families in Nebraska, a same-sex couple in Omaha are dealing with the aftermath of a hateful, terrifying act that took place right outside their home. 

Ariann Anderson and Jess Meadows-Anderson woke up in the middle of the night to a commotion outside their house and thought they were being burglarized. One of the women ran to check on their daughters, and when the other went to the window to see what was happening, she saw the rainbow flag from outside their home burning. 

When she looked more closely, she saw a 23-year-old man who lives about ten houses away from the family running down the street holding the burning flag, waving it up and down. 

Cameron Mayfield, 23, had reportedly just lost his job and as a result was drinking heavily when he committed the act. According to his father, it was a simple coincidence that the flag he chose to burn happened to be a rainbow.

The victims naturally see things a bit differently.

“It’s just a reminder that hate is still out there,” said Jess.

Ariann told local reporters, “It goes beyond being vandalism or theft — that’s a direct attack.”

“Simple coincidence”? I think not. Call it what it is – a deliberate act of hate.

During a demonstration, masks (gas masks, goggles, scarves, scuba masks, filter masks, and sunglasses) minimize the effects of tear gas and pepper spray, as well as obscure one’s identity. Extremists also employ shields (trash can lids, sheets of plexiglass, truck tire inner tubes, etc.) and body protection equipment (layered clothing, hard hats and helmets, sporting equipment, life jackets, etc.) to protect themselves against law enforcement officials during marches. Intimidation techniques such as videotaping and the swarming of police officers are used to hinder the arrest of other demonstrators. Activists seldom carry identification papers and may refuse to divulge any information about themselves or other protesters.
—  Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI Intelligence Bulletin No. 89 (October 15, 2003)
On the way home from Wal-Mart...

I drove by the parking lot of a restaurant. I heard the screaming of a man, “Suck my ****, you bitch!” and I looked over, stopping my car. The street was not a major one. There was no traffic around me. I stared at the man. He had backed a woman up against the car and was very close to her, screaming profanities. When he looked up and noticed me staring through my rolled-up window, he yelled “WHAT?”

I decided it was part of my duty to make sure that this man wasn’t going to hurt the woman he was yelling at. I turned around in a nearby parking lot, entered the parking lot where the man and woman were, and got out of my car. I walked calmly over to the man who was easily a foot taller than me and could probably bench press twice my weight. I peered around him to the woman. “Are you alright?” She nodded. I stared up at the man. “What seems to be the problem, sir?" 

"My problem is that nosy little bitches like you can’t stay out of other people’s business!” He stepped closer to me, as to intimidate me. I didn’t blink.

“Sir, you are screaming violently at another person in public. You have made it the business of every person walking or driving by.”

“You think you’re tough, do ya?” He sneered and stepped closer to me, purposely trying to loom over me and make me step back. I did not step back. I simply tilted my neck so that I could still make eye contact with him.

“No, sir. I am very aware that I am not as strong as you in body, but it does take a weak intellect to think that towering over someone gives you power over anyone you may encounter.”

“Wh- are you calling me stupid?”

The woman speaks up, “Please hon, just leave.” She casts a wary glance at the man. That was enough evidence for me that this man can get violent when angered enough.

The man puffs out his chest. “Yeah, leave. Mind your own damn business.”

“No, I think I’ll wait here for a bit.”

He moves a bit closer. “Leave.

“This is a public place, sir. I will not leave. I will wait for you to depart without this young woman.”

He scoffs and glares at me. A few minutes pass and he realizes that I was not joking. He grudgingly leaves and the woman hugs me before getting in her car and driving off.

I could have kept driving. I could have just stayed in my car and watched. I could have gotten hurt if this guy was stupid enough to get violent with me, but we need to start standing up for our fellow human beings. We need to make those who would hurt others realize that raising their voice will not get them their way. Pass it on. Don’t walk by. Stand up.

Crossroad of Intimidation & Fear in Nursing...(getting on with it).

For a profession that is ostensibly about trust, empathy, and compassion - there is a surprising amount of intimidation, frightening scenarios, or just plain uncomfortable moments that nurses are exposed to.

1. In nursing school, an instructor who gathers an entire clinical group to watch one anxious student perform a skill on a patient, and asking them to do it repeatedly when they “fail” to do it correctly - all the while everyone observes knowing it is uncomfortable for the student. It’s pretty damn uncomfortable for the patient too. The nursing student may respond under pressure, but they recognize we learn from everyone whether it’s a positive or negative influence. They remember what it’s like to be criticized under the spotlight, and do what they can to avoid it happening to fellow students, and later, fellow nurses.

2. A graduate nurse, intentionally left alone by a preceptor, who throughout orientation made it known he/she really didn’t want to be the preceptor; disappears to see if they will “sink or swim.” They swim, but they remember what it’s like to feel alone, unsupported, and vow to never impart this on any new nurse.

3. An experienced nurse who happens to be introverted, rarely vocal about the constant crappy assignments, first/worst admissions, while others seem to have a smooth day with no admissions. Fear of speaking up, fear of facing retribution, and perhaps exclusion from other nurses. But he/she does it anyway, as the nurse knows advocacy begins at the beginning.

4. Any nurse trapped by a patient who is combative, verbally abusive, in many cases over demanding, or threatening legal action if they don’t abide by what they want. Palpable fear, when a patient strikes a nurse physically, or shouts profanities, and security isn’t there yet. The nurse will do one of two things, get in the middle and prevent the patient from harming themselves, or allow the flight instinct to kick in and move back to safety. (Which do you think is more likely to happen?).

The nurse also learns to “read between the lines” and really listen to what the patient is asking for. Often the basics of what they need may have prevented escalation/help keep them calm.

5. A nurse who perhaps realizes he/she may have made a misstep in career, choice of unit, hospital, clinic, or institution - and worries over the opinion, and judgment of others for being a “quitter.” Somewhere along the line, makes the best out of an impossible situation, recognizes all employment and learning (positive or negative) can actually be a blessing, and just gets on with what needs to be done to move past it.

6. A new nurse afraid of the patient care technician, who will not help them, refuses to answer call bells, disappears when EKG/blood is needed, and does not complete patient care. The new nurse knows everyone has value, and this likely came from the PCT being mis-valued during earlier encounters. The new nurse also understands it’s important to respect everyone, regardless of their title, and rather than reporting it to the manager, makes a point of talking to the PCT on their own (even if it scares them to hell). Although it’s met with resistance at first, the new nurse takes the time to really listen to the PCT’s concerns, and each day walks through the patient rooms with the PCT, giving a report on the day’s plan, involving them in it by asking their thoughts - especially considering they may know the patient better since they spend five days a week (often double shifts) in the zone/district, as opposed to nursing 3 x 12 hr shifts. They discuss which patients need full care necessitating two people, and they talk about who is the biggest fall risks. The new nurse does not show weakness because they approached the PCT first, but a respect for the coworker, and patients who are suffering because of the lack of communication.

7. A nursing student who is scared to face his/her classmates after repeatedly failing competencies, lecture exams and semesters, or perhaps not progressing as quickly as others. Beyond the internal doubt, and shame of not meeting standards, they realize at some point they need to get on with it. And more importantly, they recognize the strength of a nurse isn’t measured in failures or standardized testing, but in the will to prevail, and an understanding of what it may mean for a patient to be in despair.

8. A nurse who has difficulty expressing his/her thoughts, when in a confrontation with a coworker, charge nurse, a doctor, or a multitude of doctors when they round. A nurse who fears speaking up to a boss in a clinic, or college, as they are extraordinarily loud, obnoxious, and critical of every move the nurse makes. Fear of being wrong, fear of being right. The nurse may not ever be as vocal as others, but instead, chooses to redirect the fear by knowing some battles are best left unattended, sometimes silence is far wiser in delivering a point, and preserving sanity - and eventually they learn that it is not personal. Intimidation speaks volumes.

How people treat others is a revelation of their character. How we respond is a revelation of ours.