Intimidate seems to be too strong a verb. I found this at Vocabulary.com “A pet rat might intimidate your sister’s friends, keeping them out of your fort.” I found it to be a humorous example of the usage of the word but it was an inaccurate verb. Although in the definition of the word another transitive verb stood out – overawe.
The definition of overawe “to restrain or subdue by awe” included the word “restrain”. Of course, my first thoughts were of some sort of physical restraint. Then I thought, the restraint isn’t physical nor does it have to come from the speaker but from the listener.
All of this searching for the right word is to use in a question – have you ever been so overawed by someone that you restrained (held back) from saying what was on your mind?
This is so me, trying to find a “softer” word to describe something.