What is an alpha male and do you want to be one?
If you read much of the dating guru or career advancement literature you will naturally come across the same recommendation.
They will tell you to learn to become a socially dominant alpha male.
It is this aggressive social dominance that has become the alpha male stereotype.
The self centered man who gets what he wants and doesn't mind treading all over other people to get there.
He is the jerk for whom everything just seems to happen while nothing falls the way of the respectful nice guy who remains polite and meek in the corner.
With this perspective it is portrayed that a man has two choices. Either be the arrogant jerk and find success in everything you do. Or be the respectful polite gentleman and see failure at every corner.
But when asking what is an alpha male assuming that there are just these two poles is erroneous thinking. Like everything in life it is not so black and white. I would not consider the loud boisterous man that effortlessly picks up women to be an alpha male if he cannot manage his bank account or does not look after his family.
There is a better way of becoming an alpha male than playing to this stereotype. And you can reform yourself from meek "sit in the corner" beta into a successsful alpha male without becoming an arrogant prick.
Being an alpha male is a holistic approach to manliness. It is more about being assertive as opposed to being passive, rather than being aggressive as opposed to being meek.
So should you want to be an alpha male? Yes. Just not the one talked about by dating gurus. You should seek to emulate a different definition of alpha male that is confident and assertive yet humble rather than arrogant and narrow minded.
Don't fall into the trap that being an alpha male is just about getting sex from women and respect from men. It is about being a man in all aspects and performing your duties as a man. You will be confident and yes women will want to sleep with you and men will respect you but this is because of your overall sense of masculinity and assertiveness, not because you have learned some tricks for the ladies and are an arrogant asshole.
Dating gurus play to their market. Men who are used to being tread all over, used to sitting on the sidelines, used to not expressing what they want, used to being overcome with insecurity and fear will lap up the doctrines that teach them to be the total opposite. Because this is where they will find some success. This will break them out of their shell and teach them to stand up for themselves.
But if you try and become the alpha stereotype in real life you just end up being a dickhead. Overcoming the tendency to be passive all the time and to become a bit of a go-getter is great, and for this the dating literature that encourages the stereotypical alpha male is a mean to an end. But beyond this the stereotype is flawed and is actually counter productive. A real man is humble and respectful.
The Assertive Yet Humble Alpha Male
Being an alpha male means you know what you want and you are not afraid to express it. You have no fear in pursuing what you want. This is great but the question is how do you go about it.
The stereotypical arrogant alpha male gets what he wants at the expense of others with his "bulldoze everything out of his path" technique.
The assertive alpha male is humble, respectful and polite but he is not meek. He just expresses what he wants and goes after it without the need to tread all over others he considers to be weaker than him. He pays other people respect and for this he receives it in return. He is successful but he doesn't generate hatred.
In the dating world this means he confidently steers the courtship in the direction he wants. He doesn't put women on the pedastal. But at the same time he is respectful and polite, the perfect gentleman. He will not blindly pursue his desires at the expense of another person's feelings.
The Mr Nice Guy in the classical stereotype does not fail because he is nice. He fails because he is not assertive. The two poles of arrogant and successful and nice, polite and unsuccessful are not your only choices. You can be humble, maintain your gentlemanly respectful traits and still be an alpha as long as you are assertive and not passive.
The traditional Mr Nice Guy is too passive. He is afraid to express his desires or take action to achieve his goals. He cannot confidently talk to women. He sits on the sidelines at parties. He is leapfrogged by others in his career.
Alpha Males Demonstrate Leadership
Human social interaction is all about leadership. This is both in a one on one relationship and in a group setting. Alpha males are leaders in groups, they are also leaders in personal relationships.
In effect an alpha male is a social rank. It is something that is bestowed upon you by others in the social group. This is based on the subconscious assessment of another man's masculinity. It is not something you decide to be, it is something you become based on the way you think and act. You cannot force yourself upon a group as an alpha male. If you try you may succeed for a short time but eventually you will be cut down. The long term alpha gets there by generating respect humbly not forcefully.
Leadership is what it is all really about. The most masculine becomes the alpha male and the alpha male becomes the leader. It is not a petty high school game to sort out the pecking order. It is a natural reaction to determine social rank. We do it automatically and subconsciously in our social groups.
Every man exists in several different social groups and he often finds himself in different ranks depending on the group. You may be the alpha some places but not others. However despite this you should still strive to be the best man you can be, maintain your confidence, develop assertiveness and demonstrate leadership regardless of the situation.
I agree with the dating gurus that men who do not have the traits of leadership will struggle with women. Women don't want a softie Mr Nice Guy who is in effect a girlfriend with a penis. But they also do not want a man who is self centered and arrogant, treads all over her emotions only for his own selfish gain. The latter may appear to be an alpha male at first glance but in reality he is not.
A man needs to find a balance. For example with women he needs to listen to her and acknowledge her emotional needs. But he needs to provide direction and assertively steer proceedings. He needs to be confident in who he is and go after the things in life that he wants, including what he wants from the relationship with that particular woman.
So when you think about "what is an alpha male" think more critically. It is about leadership and assertiveness. Strive to be confident, banish the tendency to be passive and provide leadership in all areas of your life.
These are some excellent articles that will help you think critically about "what is an alpha male?" and the associated stereotypes:
- Butchering The Alpha Male by Post Masculine
- Don't Be A Dick: The False Virtues of the Classic Alpha Male by Primer Magazine
- What Is A Badass?
- Manly Behavior That Never Goes Out Of Fashion
- The Three Types Of Men
- 6 Ways To Become A Badass Guy Overnight