As is expected by the title, the alpha male (dog) gets most of the attention and headlines, but what is a beta male personality, and should you be seeking them out for friendship or more?
In a dog pack, a beta male has much power but always bows to the alpha.
Human men break apart from the dog pack (and occasionally the Greek alphabet sequence here).
A beta male is a lieutenant, a vice president, a second in line to the throne, or a sidekick.
He’s got the appeal of an alpha male without the power or stress but nicely wields more power than the gammas and deltas.
These personality types carry a lot of baggage when you research them, being dismissed as everything from “too feminine” to “bad boy losers,” but don’t overlook this important role in the chain of masculinity.
Without adding demeaning labels, a beat male is simply:
The beta male is second on the social hierarchy, coming in just after the alpha but above the gammas and delta.
In pop culture (and depending on what generation you are from), a beta male is Goose from Top Gun bowing to Maverick’s beat, Stu’s goofy beta behavior to Phil’s dominance, or Jesse’s beta-badgering of Walter’s alpha superiority.
Dog packs are much more likely to see betas challenging the alpha, either by accident or intent.
In that dog fight, the beta either wins and becomes alpha or (much more likely) loses and retains his beta status or risks going down to the “working dog” character of the omegas.
Human “packs” are less likely to see the beta try to gain power as they lack the desire, drive, and confidence.
They also are strong enough to keep from being a gamma or beta and disappearing into the crowd.
Forget everything you think you know about the beta male, as they are misunderstood and wrongly categorized too often.
A beta male brings a lot of great things to the table in any relationship.
Betas thrive on the benefits of being close to power with the accountability of making all the decisions. He has an opinion and doesn’t want to be steamrolled, but when it’s up in the air where you go to dinner, he’ll likely bend to his partner’s will.
He also doesn’t want to challenge authority if he feels he’s going to lose, which he does 99% of the time.
Never underestimate the power of diplomacy in a world of social media slander and smack talk. The Beta man knows how to keep the alpha feeling powerful without making the rest of the gang feel useless or underappreciated.
They can talk to anyone, from a homeless person to a power player, and adapt. They can do so without threatening or demanding others into submission. That is the job of the alpha man.
Check your friend zone for beta men that are stuck in this purgatory. Whether you put him there or he found his way on his own, these Chandler Bing’s of the world don’t know how to close the deal.
They also don’t push back when you suggest Sunday brunch instead of Saturday night dinner, assured you have an alpha waiting for you when the sun goes down.
With no scientific evidence to back this up, we’re guessing more than one affair has started because of the listening power of a beta male. When a woman feels unheard and underappreciated in a relationship, a beta man can sympathize, comfort, and fill the void.
They aren’t devils in disguise; they just exude that compassion more than any confidence.
An alpha male will pursue what he wants with dogged determination. A beta male loves being close to that confidence but doesn’t have enough of his own to do so.
Unless he’s 100% sure you’re into him, he’s not going to make a move that could crumble his ego. He’s certainly not going to pursue you if the alpha is also interested in you.
While not all beta men are introverted or quiet, there are enough of them that it warrants a conversation. He appreciates his alone time and has hobbies that are fun but that he’s not fanatical about.
While this trait can be seen as nerdy or distant, it’s just part of his personality that keeps him from having alpha potential.
A beta male might go out of his way to have “the talk” or apologize before you’ve even aired the grievance.
Stability is what is most important to them, and they will go out of their way to keep the ship on track. When you do have a disagreement, he’ll exude sincere remorse and might even cry.
Part of being an alpha male is enjoying the benefits of being close to the alpha without having to be confident enough to risk a loss. He’s insecure about many things, and the alphas in his life prop him up to a higher standard than he might even think he deserves.
At the same time, he wants to be confident and needs the same support from those around him that he offers so naturally.
A beta man has one alpha in his friend group, but there’s also the work group and the family group. All of his decisions get the blessing or support of someone around him.
This could include being a momma’s boy or a talented colleague who never applies for a promotion. In a relationship, he could quickly become dependent on his partner.
This guy will go to yoga with you or be a last-minute plus-one to your cousin’s wedding and charm every person along the way. His lack of confidence that doesn’t cross over into indifference allows him to impress everyone without competing for conversation, time, or space.
He’s going to fit in with every social and work circle. People will see him as harmless while still being impressed with his charm.
This male type is happy as-is and doesn’t want to overly perform at anything. He’s comfortable enough in his own skin, for better and worse, and might need some guidance on what to wear to fancy restaurants or on a weekend vacation.
He won’t argue about which tie or shirt to wear. In fact, he’ll be happy someone else made the decision for him.
Go-with-the-flow only goes as far as a risky proposition, like skydiving or moving in together too soon.
While alphas have the confidence to move mountains, and betas are happy to push alongside, they would rather stay content, safe, and steady rather than risk a failure or dangerous activity.
Since he’s not trying to impress anyone or overachieve, he’s also in no rush to make anything happen. If you’re habitually 10 minutes late, you’ll love the passive acceptance of a beta male who likely made two new friends while waiting for you.
This also plays into his dependence on others to work things out. He has no responsibility here other than to keep you happy.
Debates with confidence, finesse, and facts? No, thank you. This guy might have opinions, but he’s questioning them enough in his own head that he resists sharing them.
The benefit of this is he will be able to adapt to any conversation about tough topics without being the guy that rocked the boat.
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Since a beta male is so powerful yet not accountable, he can easily shift to a misperception of being an alpha in smaller groups of hierarchies. For example, if he’s a partner at a law firm of competing alphas, it’s clear he’s a beta.
When he goes to a small town to pursue a lawsuit, he exudes the alpha shrapnel he’s always absorbing. The difference? He’s terrified inside that he’s doing it all wrong, and a true alpha is fully confident in everything they do.
Alpha women love the power they have over this male type until they get that craving for alpha behavior to battle against.
It’s unfair to put a beta in an alpha position, for a night or during the course of a relationship because they’re taking on a task they can’t handle and don’t want. You cannot assign alpha/beta/gamma titles. You can only accept them.
A beta male has accepted his role as the person just outside the spotlight on the alpha. His emotional vulnerabilities make him genuinely happy for the alpha.
He’s watched the alpha get the awards, the girl, and the Ferrari, while humbly driving home in his Corolla with a smile of pride for someone else. He’s never going to ask for it, but he’d sure love some compliments of his own, from the alpha or otherwise.
Game night is about getting along, not going for the win. He doesn’t have that fighting instinct to dominate. Especially if an alpha male clearly makes his mark at the pool table, he might even hold back his savage pool skills to keep peace in the pack.
You see, winning doesn’t get him anything. If nothing else, it puts him more at risk of challenging an alpha, which instinct tells us is a dangerous and impossible task.
If you go to this guy for feedback, he’s likely going to try to fix the situation. He’s not the griping, passive-aggressive lesser species in the pack who have the luxury of no accountability, but he also doesn’t want to micromanage your decisions.
When stability is what matters, he’s going to find the path of least resistance to achieve a goal.
A beta male comes with many benefits, but whether you see it as a benefit or a drawback comes with your perception of what you want in a man.
A few of the most promising traits are:
There are some downsides to this passive and personable man who seems to have it all but does not want more.
A perceptive person can notice the differences between an alpha and beta male at first glance, but the differences are clear after just one conversation.
Jacob in the Twilight series was a beta male who went off on his own. This transition turned him into a sigma male. Sigmas are alphas who don’t need followers or a leader.
Alphas are generally the most desirable because women have a natural instinct to be protected and kept safe, even when evolution has allowed them much more independence.
Beta males can have happy, loyal, long-standing relationships, but they aren’t going to make the earth move, and this can be frustrating for alpha women.
What’s really most important is how well each person respects and communicates with the other, and you’ll get that in spades with a beta male.