There are certain challenges in building your self-confidence, like sweeping away old roles and expectations, silencing that voice that criticises your every move and - when you get right down to it - figuring out just who the heck you really are.

That's sometimes made more difficult by the people around you, and some men in particular have a hard time dealing with confident women. Here's what I've seen.

1. In the workplace a lot of men will use the word 'bitch' to describe a confident woman. Other words I've heard guys use in the past (believe it or not) are 'lesbian' and 'frigid'. Sure, it's only a pocket of men that think this way and those are likely to be throwaway (albeit ignorant) comments, but it speaks to a lot of mens inability to deal with confident and successful women on a level playing field.

I certainly hope that your contemporaries will think of you as nothing other than capable and bright, but a certain breed of co-worker and some old school management won't know how to deal with you.

2. Socially, the Average Joe will see a confident woman and experience a mixture of attraction and feeling threatened by them. I'm not necessarily talking about sexual attraction (although many guys are turned on by a confident woman) but a platonic attraction based on the air of wholeness that confidence brings. Mix in a little fear about it being more likely that they'll be rejected by a confident, together woman and not knowing what role they should play (the manly man, the sensitive soul, the joker, etc), and a lot of men will start a bizzare little performance based on what they think will impress the socks off the woman in question. "You might be confident and successful, but check out what I can do".

Again, your contemporaries are going to be more relaxed and at ease, but the chances are that a confident and successful woman who's out at a social event will engender these responses.

3. If a guy is in a romantic relationship with a confident and successful woman it'll be for one of two reasons depending on what kind of guy he is. One guy will be genuinely attracted by you as a person, loves who you are and respects what you've achieved. That's a Very Good Thing.

Another guy will see you as a challenge. This kind of guy tricks himself into believing he wants to be in a relationship for all the right reasons, but the real reason is that he's hoping some of what you have rubs off on him. He hopes that by being with you he'll share your success and be more at ease with himself. Either that, or he's the type of guy who's motivated by the challenge of sleeping with successful and confident women. Either way, they're looking to boost their own ego's by being with you.

Let me spell it out for you. None of this is your problem. Do not change who you are because other people seem to be having a hard time knowing how to relate to you.

That's not to say that you should run around like a bull in a china shop pissing off everyone you come into contact with, and of course there are times when it's important to consider others. But that doesn't mean that you need to compromise on who you are or what you're capable of, and it doesn't mean you have to squeeze yourself into a box based on others' expectations.

Sometimes an attitudinal shift on your part will work wonders, sometimes an honest conversation with a positive outlook will do the job, but most of the time it's simply about being nice.

Author's Bio: 

Steve Errey is the author of the Truly Confident Living Home Study Course. He’s a confidence coach with hundreds of clients under his belt from all around the world, articles in magazines on both sides of the Atlantic and regular expert slots on television and radio. Earlier, he was a Project Manager in e-Business, travelling the world helping organisations deliver on the Internet promise. He has been through redundancy (when the Internet bubble burst), depression and a debt management plan. Steve is also writing his first novel.