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Do all men find ambition intimidating?

Tabby (Atlanta, Georgia) asks:

Hello Truman,

I am a young 27 year old, independent and ambitious sister who is career minded. Unfortunately I find many single black men to be intimidated or put off by my professional drive. While I enjoy a certain level of chivalry, I don’t expect a man to pay my way. I date here and there but it seems like a struggle in finding the right match.

I take care of myself and like to think that I put out positive energy. Why would men be turned off by a smart, hard working woman? I know that we all have our own schemas for likes/dislikes but I seem to be encountering this sort of feedback/energy repeatedly.

Am I doing something wrong? I know you can’t speak for all men Truman and nor would it be fair to do so, but do all or most men feel this way towards professional sisters?

One Love,


What’s up Tabby,

First of all thank you for your question and congratulations on your independence!

Let’s be clear, there is no right or wrong here. What I understand from your letter is that you are ready to experience something new. Up to this point, what you were doing, more importantly, how you were thinking, just wasn’t working for you. So let’s get to it, shall we…

What stands out most to me is when you said, "Unfortunately I find many single black men to be intimidated or put off by my professional drive."

People are the mirrors, the reflections of how we are being in the world. For a moment, be open to the possibility that you may be the one who is intimidated. Beneath the thought of intimidation may be feelings of fear, the fear of experiencing emotional pain. Consider that how you have coped with these feelings is to put up a barrier, and this barrier is what the men in your world may encounter when in your presence.

Often times, women, especially Black women, reacting to the pressures of a male dominated professional world, choose to cover themselves with a coat of armor in order to deflect the negative attitudes of a competitive, often politicized work environment. This defensive posture sometimes crosses over into the social realm, either through habit, or because it may also serve to insulate you from the vulnerabilities faced when opening up to people on an intimate level. Really examine your thinking in this area.

I applaud and admire your professional drive. When it emanates from a place of joy and fulfillment with your work and service to others, it tends to inspire those around you. I think it’s sexy as hell. However, when that drive flows from a place of avoiding intimacy with others, the vibe you radiate may read: Please leave me alone, I am scared. You said, "I like to think that I put out positive energy." Remember, liking to think you are putting out positive energy is not the same thing as putting out positive energy ;)

Brothers sometimes get a bad rap when it comes to their willingness to love. In the way that other people are the mirrors to who we are being, Black men, as a group, have had certain energies projected onto them. These projections have become deep-seated stereotypes, so deep that some Black men begin to play the role. We need powerful, independent people like you, to stop this superstition in its tracks by re-imagining Brothers in a positive light. It has been said that, “how you look at something changes what it is you’re looking at.” Change the way you are looking. Look again, deeper, beyond appearances. I think you will be pleasantly surprised by what you see. And that means more loving Black men for you!

As you make changes within, trust that you will begin to see that change reflected back to you in your world. Explore your relationship to Love. Assume that you are loved already and work backwards from that truth, examining some of the ways that you may have blocked the flow. When you experience even the idea that you are loved already, it may be scary. Sometimes, when you have been walking around with a fifty-pound weight on your back, you get used to it. It seems like it’s always been that way. It becomes normal. And when the opportunity presents itself to let go of the weight, there can be a sense of loss. A sense of nakedness. Like the Stockholm syndrome, sometimes we identify with our captors! This will pass though. When you are truly tapped in to Love, you will experience an invincibility that transcends any need for protective barriers and defenses.

Take a chance. Take a risk. I am confident that you will find exactly what you are looking for. So the question I leave you with is, what are you REALLY looking for?

Love is everywhere…

Be well Sister,


p.s. It's also sexy when a woman is willing to pick up a check every now and then. You're already ahead of the game!

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