Meet Gregory, a writer and the brains behind Face Dragons. He's the go-to guy for getting things done. Gregory's been living the digital nomad life in Asia for as long as anyone can remember, helping clients smash their goals. He writes on topics like software, personal knowledge management (PKM), and personal development. When he's not writing, you'll catch him at the local MMA gym, nose buried in a book, or just chilling with the family.
There are only a few types of males you meet in your day-to-day life. Though it might seem impossible to group every man you know into seven male personality types, once you know the characteristics and personality traits of alphas and betas and the other types of male personalities, you’ll start to better understand the men you know and yourself.
The Socio-Sexual Hierarchy
In the early 1980s, Frans de Waal, a primatologist who studies the interactions of chimpanzees, published “Chimpanzee Politics: Power and Sex Among Apes.” In the book, he drew parallels between the human and chimp societies. Biologists already used terms like alpha and beta to describe male types in the animal kingdom, but before de Wall, they had never been applied to humans.
At first, anthropologists and psychologists differentiated between alpha and beta males, but soon a whole hierarchy of male personality types became defined, and the socio-sexual order was born. At present, the hierarchy consists of six or seven personality types.
- Alpha male
- Beta male
- Delta male
- Gamma male
- Sigma male
- Omega male
- Zeta male
Why You Must Understand the Types of Males
While the socio-sexual hierarchy isn’t scientific fact, it is an excellent tool for quickly understanding the men you meet. Of course, everyone is an individual and won’t necessarily fit neatly into the categories of these types of men, but they do give you a starting place. These are the main expressions of masculine energy.
Understanding the different personality traits of the various types of males will help you predict how someone is likely to behave in a particular circumstance. This can be useful if you are in a relationship with a man or work with them.
Knowing the personality type of the people you meet can help you make dating choices and help you communicate better with them. For example, if you are attracted to alpha males, knowing that they often tend to be controlling and dominating will give you a more realistic expectation of your relationship.
The final reason to understand the different personality types is to understand yourself better. Knowing who you are and how you are likely to react makes you more effective in your career, relationships, and other parts of your life. When negative emotions surface, you start to feel anxious, or you notice individual differences between you and other men, you need a road map to regain emotional stability.
For an alpha male, that might mean taking charge, regaining some assertiveness, and getting some validation from beta males, but for a sigma male, it could mean spending time alone, engaging their intellect, and removing themselves from social situations.
The alpha male is at the top of the hierarchy. He’s the dominant male of the tribe. Alpha males are natural-born leaders and expect others to kowtow to them. Though they can become toxic and turn into tyrants, a good alpha male is more like a father, he’s in charge but wants what’s best for you.
Alpha Males Personality Traits
Dating an Alpha
Understanding the alpha male will give you a better understanding of the relationship you’re getting into and what you should expect from him.
Alpha males like to be in charge. They like people to listen and follow them. So you will get along well with an alpha if you’re the type that wants someone to make the decisions and take control. If, on the other hand, you have a problem with authority or hate it when other people don’t listen to your ideas or tell you what to do, dating an alpha male will be challenging.
Famous Alpha Male Examples
- Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson
- Connor McGregor
- Donald Trump
Most people think that the word beta male has a negative connotation. The beta male is the second-ranked male in the hierarchy. Beta males usually try to attach themselves to an Alpha, happy to let the alpha lead. They gain benefits from being associated with such a high-status male.
So to be a beta male, you need to allow someone else to take the lead and be likable enough that they want you to stick around. Alphas keep beta males around because they won’t threaten their dominant position and make dependable friends who are always around to boost the alpha’s confidence.
Beta Males Personality Traits
- Non Confrontational
Dating a Beta
A beta male isn’t going to suddenly turn into a confident leader just because you want him to. However, understanding his personality type will give you more realistic expectations.
The beta male is a natural follower, a sheep, so if you get frustrated when someone can’t decide, dating a beta may not be for you. However, if you like to take charge and want someone willing to let you take the lead, a beta male may be what you need.
Famous Beta Male Examples
- Hugh Grant
- Ed Sheeran
- Elijah Wood
The delta male is the “every guy,” you’re average Joe. They may not be super exciting to be around, but you find them everywhere, quietly working away as the backbone of society. Sometimes it can be challenging to differentiate the delta from the beta male. In general, the difference is how they relate to the alpha male. Betas generally tend to follow an alpha male, whereas deltas don’t.
Delta Males Personality Traits
- Conforms to social norms
- Hard Working
Dating a Delta
The main characteristic of the delta male is stability. They work hard and do what society generally expects of them, which makes them some of the most stable men to date.
You might want to consider another male type if you are quickly bored or need constant entertainment or stimulation. But, of course, a delta male won’t be able to give you that. But, if you want an easygoing relationship that will last for the long haul, find yourself a stable delta.
Famous Delta Male Examples
- Tom Hanks
- Chris Pratt
The gamma male is another personality type that sits lower down on the socio-sexual hierarchy. Unlike the delta male, gamma males don’t like to conform to societal norms. Instead, they resist authority and try to go their own way. The gamma male may express this by living an alternative lifestyle as the goths of the 1990s did. Still, they may also decide not to conform by becoming a digital nomad or moving to another country.
Gamma Males Personality Traits
- Non Conformity
Dating a Gamma
Dating a gamma male can be tough. They don’t want to go down the traditional path, so marriage and children may be off the table. They don’t like authority and can have problems holding a stable job. Many end up as perpetual digital nomads, moving around from place to place, living in hostels, and spending their money in student bars. I’ve met many gammas as I’ve traveled around Asia for the last decade or more.
If you’re also the type, who wants to travel and have an adventure, even if it means giving up some traditional parts of life, dating a gamma male might help you achieve that. But if you’re looking to settle down, look elsewhere.
Famous Gamma Male Examples
- Edward Norton’s character in Fight Club
- Holden Caulfield from “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger
With the recent popularity of sigma male grindset memes, most people are familiar with what makes someone a sigma male. The lone wolf, the cool, mysterious stranger everyone wants to know, the sigma male might seem like the kind of man men want to be, and women want to be with, but there is another side to him.
Sigma males have introverted tendencies and don’t always want to be the center of attention. In fact, they can’t deal with people who are too spontaneous or talkative, which is why they prefer to be lone wolves. On the other hand, they like to make their own path and so build businesses where they must interact with others. To balance this, they may occasionally “go dark,” turning off their devices or taking vacations to get away and recharge.
Sigma Males Personality Traits
Dating a Sigma
Sigma males tend to be extroverted introverts, meaning they can “turn it on” when they need to and be charming, but subsequently, they need space and time to recharge.
The sigma male’s introverted nature means they aren’t always available to their partners. At times they just need to be alone. Combine this with their tendency toward independence, and you have someone who, despite loving you, isn’t there with you. They are starting businesses, traveling alone, or taking time to study and develop skills independently.
Famous Sigma Male Examples
- Elon Musk
- Brad Pitt’s character Tyler in Fight Club
Omega males are lower down on the scale. Typically, they don’t care. Rather than being seen as the lone wolf or mysterious stranger like a sigma male, they are usually seen as antisocial with certain personality traits that turn some people off. They’re the nerds.
Omega males get obsessed with things that others see no value in, such as sci-fi films or comic books. This is due to their intellectual curiosity but has the effect of making them seem neurotic, and other people turn away.
Omega Males Personality Traits
- Low status
- Nerdy, Geeky, or outsider
Dating an Omega
Omega males are known for being socially awkward and self-centered so relationships with them can be challenging. They have something in their lives which consumes most of their thinking and energy. It may be comic books, sets, or some other nerdy hobbies.
Relationships with omegas aren’t doomed to fail, though, if you’re quite agreeable or considerate and willing to make allowances for his nerdy side, a long-term relationship with an omega male could flourish. You might just have to live with your study being turned into a DnD games room.
Famous Omega Male Examples
- Jim Parsons
- Linus Torvalds
- Albert Einstein
Zeta males are the latest addition to the hierarchy, so clearly understanding them may not be as easy as other male personalities. However, you should know that zeta males reject traditional male roles and the ideas associated with being a man, such as being a provider, defender, and the head of a household.
Zeta males may be other male types who haven’t grown into their role. In this way, zeta males have “Peter Pan Syndrome.” They leave the real world to go play in Never Never Land. Zeta males can be ambiverts or omniverts, holding a place on both sides of the extroversion scale.
Zeta Male Personality Traits
- Intellectual curisoity
- Rejection of traditional gender roles
- Inflated sense of self-worth
Dating a Zeta
In some ways, the zeta male is just an immature version of one of the other male types. So if you’re considering dating a zeta male, don’t expect much from the relationship. If you’re looking for a short-term thing, dating a zeta male might be OK, but if you want a serious relationship, either find someone else or wait for the zeta to grow up.
Famous Zeta Males
- Peter Pan
Other Personality Theories
The socio-sexual hierarchy is sometimes criticized for being unscientific, and so there are other ways of assessing personality types. The one most used by psychologists is the “big five.” After a personality test, it measures your temperament across five personality characteristics:
While the big five models may be the gold standard in personality testing, it doesn’t beat the sexual hierarchy for clarity. By saying someone’s an alpha male type, everyone can quickly understand what you mean. Using the big five traits is much less vivid or understandable for the layperson.
Similarly, the Myers-Briggs type indicator (MBTI) is much more prevalent and popular among regular people because of its relative simplicity compared to the big five. Take a personality test to find out which four letters represent you.