Stop Denying the Alpha-Beta Paradigm

There’s one meme I’ve grown beyond tired of. It goes something like this:

“I don’t believe in this alpha-beta distinction. Does it really matter?”

“This alpha-beta thing is stupid, people are way more complicated than that.”

“Only losers sit around talking about alpha and beta.” (This one is really an anti-intellectualism argument; to quote Bill Cosby, “intellectuals go to school to study what people do naturally.” Talking about it is the point.)

Alpha and beta have been thrown around since the early pickup artist (PUA) and game days so far as I can tell, but my first conception of the alpha-beta dichotomy came from Roissy/Heartiste. In the Chateau, alpha and beta function as social roles on a sliding scale synonymous with one’s attractiveness to women in the area of social dominance. The second conception was Athol Kay’s orthogonal breakdown of alpha and beta as attraction and comfort traits respectively, linked to the dopamine and oxytocin chemical systems, where one can modify their alpha and beta independently as their life and relationship require.

My personal catchall shorthand definition has been that alphas impress themselves upon their environment, and betas react to their environment. Generally speaking this is not just about social ability; alphatude is not necessarily who can beat everyone else up, who has the most money, who has the most power, but it can be any of those things in the proper settings. When we talk about the alpha-beta dichotomy we’re usually talking about social dominance, because that’s the factor that has the most dramatic short-term effect on a woman’s sexual psyche and it’s a factor from which much of a man’s success will flow.

Vox Day has publicized his own Greek letter system involving seven groups, and his concept of a beta is considerably kinder than Roissy’s. I have self-diagnosed as a sigma, for you readers who prefer introverted intellectual types with an indifference to conventional means.

(My forthcoming contribution will be to cast alpha and beta as lifestyle decisions.)

In any event, I’m here to tell you it is absolutely not fake. The strata of social roles is easily observed. Put a group of guys together, from age six to adulthood, it doesn’t really matter the age as long as they’re around the same stage in life…they will immediately and subconsciously arrange themselves in a social hierarchy. Usually some subtle male-on-male fitness testing is involved. Or it might be overt testing where someone tries to steal the other guy’s seat or sack of chips or bruise his dignity. It will become readily apparent who’s in charge, and who is sucking up to whom. This is dependent on the style of everyone involved (lots of betas in a row will fall all over themselves to defer to each other, no let ME buy YOU a beer, while lots of alphas will test strongly and maybe fight) and also changes with surroundings (a smart guy has lots of status in academia and not much at the corner bar). But it’s there. It happens in the playroom, the classroom, the locker room and the board room.

Put an attractive or unattached woman in the crowd, and you’ll see another display – the guys who pursue her versus the guys who hang back, and suckups versus more gamelike strategies.

It really follows lots of other socially-observed phenomena – people drop into hindbrain-driven behavior fairly quickly when they don’t have time to stop and think about it; we as modern humans want to believe we are very rational and measured, when in fact we’re governed 90% of the time by animal instincts we’re much better at observing than controlling. And then our minds make up rational explanations for it to boot. Good economics, good politics and good management are all about leveraging these instincts for a rational good of some sort, not about expecting to change people’s base natures. Philosophies that have instead tried to change or circumvent human nature (like Marxist socialism or open polyamory) have met with a marked lack of widespread success.

As to Vox’s point that two groups is too restrictive, I basically concur that a macro look at the sexual marketplace requires more refinement. But when doing a first-pass analysis of a social experiment (like a pickup or a relationship), alpha vs beta is usually good enough to inform a basic explanation, and that’s usually good enough to motivate a student’s behavior to change.

The point is that once you start subjecting men to tests of their social position (especially the fight for women), all of this breaks down fairly reliably into leaders and followers, instigators and reactors, strong bidders and supplicators. People get subconsciously committed to these frames; we viscerally interpret a man switching roles (such as standing up to a bully, or gaming up when he had once been a tingle-killing chump) as incongruent with his personality. A good reason it’s easier to build your game immediately after moving or leaving school or a job.

COGNITIVE BIASES AND WILLFUL BLINDNESS

If I can do some amateur analysis on those who reject the alpha/beta thing…

I think women are prone to reject the A/B paradigm because as we well know women writ large are not particularly aware of their attraction triggers, and unlike men who can’t stop hearing about how shallow they are with their love of breasts and hips, the media isn’t telling women what they’re really attracted to and whether it’s right or wrong. So they don’t really recognize the male social hierarchy and its role in female attraction – their hindbrain does all the work – and not seeing the male hierarchy without women, they don’t see the stark alpha-beta contrast among men in their own element. Even among women who are making an effort, there’s a lack of understanding to be overcome as to what really constitutes alphatude.

There was a comical exchange at Susan Walsh’s Hooking Up Smart a few months ago where several female regulars went out of their way to tell us how alpha their boyfriends were, and the discussion and details led many of us to think it was a status-flexing exercise and assume that they were conflating some desireable trait like having a nice job, looking good or religious piety with true “alpha” status. There really are a small number of alpha personalities (society can’t survive with too many leaders fighting all the time), and it’s facepalming to hear woman after woman say she wants a guy who “owns the room” or somesuch social dominance marker because those guys are rare and being fought over fiercely by a large number of women, many of whom have shown that when the chips are down they’re ready to bypass monogamy and jump into a soft or hard harem to get those five minutes of alpha.

But it needs to be said, women have different balances of traits they seek in partners. It’s been an item of much discussion around these parts that the typical urban fashioned-up entitled American young woman responds extremely well to super-alpha “asshole game,” and heavily punishes any sign of betatude (like a male desire to get into a relationship). That’s only one type of girl and is easily avoided. A considerable number of women who are unfortunately not easy to find are put off by the highly extroverted, borderline attention-whoring frat guy personality. A portion of girls are sufficiently upset by the prospect of sharing their man (or they just want their own unique product) that a top dog is unpalatable to them. Some women’s hypergamy stretches in other dimensions, like he has to be really tall or make a metric shit-ton of money.

And there are women who really dig the shy sweet beta type, for real. They are also going to say “this alpha-beta thing doesn’t work for me,” and I’m shirley not going to fault anybody who’s dating a guy she’s into. If he’s HER alpha and that gets her hot, then more power to the both of them.

It just gets tiring to hear “I don’t like ‘alphas,’ I just like guys who are real manly men and don’t take any shit from me.” Well, dear, that’s pretty alpha, especially by today’s standards. They’ve restricted their definition to some subset of the type, like preppies or narcissistic sociopaths.

On the other side, I think men are prone to reject the A/B view because it threatens our socially-conditioned view of egalitarianism, and also threatens our very shaky late-term conceptions of manliness and also our socially-conditioned but false ideas about what women “should” be attracted to (including false ideas that women themselves have told us). Alpha traits are associated with visceral masculinity, i.e. strength, dominance, mastery and a healthy self-concept. But society tells us that masculinity is something different, like ponying up cash or not judging a woman’s sexual past, so it’s hard to swallow that yes, women are attracted to physical strength, social dominance sometimes to the point of arrogant rudeness, guys with pipe dreams in interesting but usually-doomed careers (like musicians and writers) and even narcissism and indifference.

We also want to think that various non-alpha traits can be combined to make alphatude, as if we can make up for the lack of intrinsic attractors with a bunch of socially-acceptable alternatives. You see this with some of the “real man” shaming that goes around, like some white-knight shouting that a “a real man is good to people.” It may be desireable, but there’s nothing particularly alpha in that description of a guy. A “good man” can be strong or a good man can be a wimp. A good man is usually attractive if he’s strong…but then he’s covered a key attractor and the “good” is just icing for women who seek that trait.

Finally, men judge men differently than women do, so a guy may say “oh yeah, he’s great, you should totally date him,” while the woman he’s talking to will judge him too low on the social totem pole to get her tingling. (This is analogous to a woman trying to pass her homely friend to a man by telling him “she’s really sweet.”) The male model of teamwork is one where everyone has different ability but everyone has comparable social value. You see this in well-operating sports teams: benchwarmers who are playing their role are just as included in the team activities and rewards as the all-conference quarterback.

So on some level we don’t want to believe that one of us has a better claim to the fruits of his status than the others. We guys want to think we’re swell chums and that we’re all on the same level, but look into a group of men and it becomes fairly obvious who is really on top. Usually that guy will have first pick of women who are in range of the group, sometimes only for the reason he’s been given the first right by the group to approach (the case for me in some of my groups).

Once a man realizes the alpha-beta frame goes a long way toward explaining his romantic past, he gets a lot more receptive to the idea.

 

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50 Comments

Filed under original research

50 responses to “Stop Denying the Alpha-Beta Paradigm

  1. P Ray

    Women refuse to recognise the alpha-beta paradigm, because it makes it seem less likely that they based their decision to hook up with him, as spontaneous and not calculating.
    In other words, it takes out the love from what was a booty call.

  2. johnnymilfquest

    Solid post Badger.

    The key point about Alpha-Beta sceptics is that they tend to visualise a grand sexual hierarchy of all human males on the planet and then wonder if they or their partner are in the top 20%.

    That’s not how it works. An alpha is just the leader of the pack. Minimum pack size = 2.

  3. I go with the Alpha<-Beta<-Omega scale. Betas put pussy on a pedestal. Omegas usually can't find it on their humongous wives.

  4. Desiderius

    Superb post, Badger.

    “Only losers sit around talking about alpha and beta.” (This one is really an anti-intellectualism argument; to quote Bill Cosby, “intellectuals go to school to study what people do naturally.” Talking about it is the point.)”

    +1,000

    Those most struggling, and not just in the SMP, are those leading unexamined lives. Self-examination alone doesn’t count, and radical nonjudgementalism (all things in moderation, even good things) impedes the whole process.

  5. Sabina

    Usually someone doesn’t score 100% for each portion of the Myers-Briggs. Regarding Alpha/Beta, think most men are on a continuum, and if the culture allows it, will lean towards dominance as is the masculine nature. I think sometimes alpha/beta explanations and descriptions become extremely rigid and self-aware women have difficulty buying in to the rigidity because it doesn’t play out like that in real life. I think a man can be beta but still have confidence, otherwise most women wouldn’t ever pair off with a beta. I see the American beta male problem as an extreme lack of confidence in self, and that is what is not attractive.

    “Finally, men judge men differently than women do, so a guy may say “oh yeah, he’s great, you should totally date him,”. In my experience, this comes from female friends of mine who want me to date “lower status/lower SMV” helping them to feel better about not having a date or assuming I am off the market so they will get the better guy! The competition among women for the best man is miserable. Meanwhile, guy friends have often been rather blunt about their opinions of the men I am dating, “He’s a douchebag”, or “He seems like a good guy but he doesn’t have any confidence, even when he was talking to me”.

  6. There’s a model sometimes used in sales training programs in which people are categorized on two dimensions: assertiveness and responsiveness. The ideal salesperson needs a considerable amount of both dimensions, although the best mix depends on what he is selling and who he is selling it two.

    Similar but not quite identical to the alpha-beta distinction.

  7. Gwen

    I only ran across all this – manosphere, mra, pua, etc – a couple of months ago, and it’s been fascinating. A lot of things that I was thinking about on my own are voiced here and it’s been an intellectual feast. I am still pondering alpha-beta and similar classifications. I think I agree the most with Athol’s frame, so far.

    I’d cautiously guess that my husband is probably beta, by the standards of most of the classifications. Which makes sense, since my father is a rather sociopathic alpha, and I was specifically looking for someone the exact opposite of my father. On the other hand, my husband has some very alpha and/or sigma qualities. He’s the kind of guy that has been there/done that, and is very self-confident as a consequence. He’s much more dominant (alpha?) with men than with women, though, and his romantic history reflects that. (Which just goes to show that the world is full of incredibly stupid women, because I got him, they don’t, nyah, nyah.)

    I’d love a male opinion on this, actually. Do you see this much – a man who is alpha in the outside world, but beta in his marriage? Or am I misreading him?

  8. Anacaona

    Wonderful posts. I will only add that men do resent men at the top when they haven’t earned it. To use your sport analogy if the bench-warmer was selected to play at some point because the coach wants to bang her mom, he will be the most hated guy in the whole team. The fake or unearned Alpha is a threat to the system and most men won’t warm up to him, IME.

  9. Escoffier

    Since we’re psychoanalyzing people, many as well add another category.

    Why do some men insist that the alpha-beta paradigm explains everything or is at least the Most Important Aspect of Human Nature? Because they see themselves as “alpha,” alpha = naturally superior, therefore … I am superior! I.e., vanity. Also, grounding “alpha” in a concept of natural superiority serves to justify or at least excuse what would be called (in old-fashioned terms) the rather low and pointless lives they have chosen to lead, “the joyless quest for joy.”

  10. John G

    Hi There;

    Yes, it’s an important distinction. It’s helpful to me in regards as a starting point for evaluating my own life and history. A lot of people hate it because as mentioned before, beta is perceived to equal weak, and nobody wants to be called weak. Also, it’s not easy to change. There’s no mouthwash that will get rid of beta. Maybe booze… hmm, market some 100 proof stuff as some sort of alpha elixir. Bring liquid courage back into the fore.

  11. Great post, Badger, maybe my favorite of all your posts. I find myself gravitating toward Vox’s framework more and more, but I agree that alpha/beta is probably a better starting point.

    Recently in a post I quoted Ogi Ogas (A Billion Wicked Thoughts) about how men compete intrasexually. Men often speak about social dominance that women confer, but it’s not the same as social proof. Social dominance is conferred by other males, and women respond to that hierarchy among them.

    I’d cautiously guess that my husband is probably beta, by the standards of most of the classifications. Which makes sense, since my father is a rather sociopathic alpha, and I was specifically looking for someone the exact opposite of my father.

    Interesting, I’ve been thinking about father roles in female attraction triggers, as Badger knows. That suggests two things: a range of female preferences re the alpha/beta continuum, as Badger points out. And the idea that attraction triggers are malleable, at least in women.

  12. deti

    Damn this is good.

  13. Escoffier

    On a more serious note, the problem with the alpha-beta distinctions is not that it is false. On a basic level it clearly is not false. The problem is the over-reliance on that paradigm by some of the most popular and influential bloggers who mistake a part of the truth for the whole truth and convince a whole bunch of followers that they have found “the secret” that explains virtually everything.

    Stipulate: alpha-beta is real. But the extent to which it is real is not new knowledge. It’s not a new discovery. The back-patting that goes on among game bloggers for being so intellectually courageous is amusing. They are in the grip of “probity,” which is itself a form of vanity, of self-delusion. They are in love with their own sense of intellectual courage. By insisting on believing only the harshest teachings and dogmatically ruling out other possibilities, they believe that they alone live without allusions and everyone else is a sucker. That is indeed a pleasant feeling but it is not philosophy and it will not lead you to the truth.

    There is no true insight of the game bloggers that was not perfectly understood in classical philosophy or that can’t be understood via access to Machiavelli’s analysis of the “two diverse humours” or Hobbes’ analysis of vanity or pride or Hegel’s analysis of master and slave morality. Or, indeed, in Shakespeare, above all Measure for Measure (and to a lesser extent Antony and Cleopatra).

    Moreover, to paraphrase Hobbes, “they who have written of game and alphaness in general do all invade each other, and themselves, with contradiction.” The definition of alpha shifts a great deal depending on what the object of a given post is. Badger’s point here about the animal pack is well taken because that is in fact the only truly coherent definition of alpha (as opposed to more complex phenomena of human dominance), i.e., the one taken directly from animal behavior. It does explain a lot about how men behave and how women react but it has two huge shortcomings: one, alphaness under this conception is irreducibly relative, hence there can be no independent standard of alphaness, hence there can be no “thing in itself,” that is, the thing reduced to its essence without a frame of reference. Such things, in the final analysis, do not really exist.

    Second, and this is important, that conception of alpha is about animals and humans are not animals. Not in the decisive respect. I’m not trying to deny Darwin here or refute EvPsych or neuroscience. All of that stuff can be true and yet man is still more than that. We know man is more than that because we have access to our own brains and souls and can see “internally” that we are more than the sum of our parts, and we know because we have direct experience with behaviors that don’t fit the animalistic paradigm. Again, the reason that so many people nonetheless rush to believe that they themselves are apes is “probity.”

    So, there is “higher” aspect to human nature that is not explained by alpha-beta but that is no less natural. And to some extent it IS explained by alpha-beta but here again the game bloggers fall down. There are naturally “great souls,” men who are internally compelled to rule and will not accept being second anywhere to anyone. They are “self sufficient” but also proud and desire honor, but only just honors, honors properly earned. Since you are apparently into Shakespeare, I will mention Coriolanus and Caesar as examples. They are men not merely of natural greatness but also of great accomplishment.

    Your point about the captain of the football team is apt. He really is the captain. That’s a big part of why chicks dig him. Both because of who he is and what he’s done. And because he has the clear respect of his peers. Now, I suppose he could be an introverted guy terrible with the ladies. But confidence and extroversion correlate highly with success of his kind.

    Roissy especially is at constant pain to deny the significance of any of this. All alpha means to him is “someone who gets pussy.” He had a post a while back about some scrawny ghetto kid, a total obvious loser in every way, who snagged a pretty white girl. He’s alpha. Why? He got the pussy. He had absolutely nothing else going for him except “game.” And, actually, not even that. It just came naturally to him. Needless to say, this is a tautological definition.

    Of course there are naturally cocky men without other redeeming qualities who can score easily. That’s always been true and it will always be true. But these guys are not alpha in the dog pack sense unless we’re talking about a pretty pathetic pack of three legged mongrels.

    It makes much more sense to observe that, while some can get pussy without the substance, they can only do so by fooling women into believing the substance is there. That is “game,” whether conscious or subconscious. Most, or a great many, women are attracted to the substance even if what they perceive to be substance is a mirage. Understanding that and reducing it to practicable principles that average men can use in the field is the great “contribution” of game bloggers. But the key point is that in women’s nature, women are still looking for substance.

    And these guys don’t have any. Thus they are not “alphas” natural or otherwise. Roissy is (apparently) an over-40 mid-level bureaucrat at FINRA. Roosh has, by his own admission, completely dropped out of life beyond the pursuit of pussy and does nothing, earns nothing, builds nothing. They are only alphas in their own heads, in the sense that they define alpha: who gets the most pussy. Assuming they even do, but let’s stipulate that.

    Ultimately, if there is no sense of “virtue” or quality or accomplishment inherent in “alpha” then the term is, indeed, meaningless.

    This is before one says anything about the ranking of human pursuits from low to high or the purpose of life. Without going into detail, let’s leave it at: racking up your notch count is low on the list unless you are, and think of yourself as, nothing but a particularly clever animal and not a man.

  14. “Put an attractive or unattached woman in the crowd, and you’ll see another display – the guys who pursue her versus the guys who hang back, and suckups versus more gamelike strategies.”

    What about the guy that hangs back and the girl comes up to him? Sometimes they’re very obvious about it (particularly when out drinking at a club) and put their hand on your leg, or push their body into yours. Other times they’re more subtle (particularly during the daytime) and put themselves in your proximity, playing with their hair, giving coy looks and hoping that you’ll talk to them. Where do these guys fit in?

  15. Escoffier

    Heh, yeah, I notice that too, half the time we’re told it’s alpha to be agressive and go for it, the other half it’s alpha to hang back, be aloof, attract through indifference.

  16. just visiting

    Interesting Gwen. I had a dark triad type father and was determined to pick the opposite. For the life of me, I can’t figure out what the heck my ex was. Definitely had the social dominance and alpha traits but not the womanizing. I can’t say that he was beta in the marriage, but there was a dizzying pedestal involved. Fell in love with him as a teen ager because of what had to be hundreds of notes passed between us, yet there was nothing supplicating about him. Rules were meant for other people, which used positively were trail blazing and used negatively, well, ended our marriage among other things. But this extended socially as well. He could break any number of social rules and still be on top. So, still trying to figure it out, if only to understand my own psychology better as I head out into the dating world.

  17. Gwen

    @just visiting: I had to go look up dark triad. Yeah, that sounds a bit like my father. I found something called the vulnerable dark triad which sounds more like him. Interesting stuff.

    I spent a lot of time thinking through what I wanted out of life and in a husband. When I was done thinking I went into the process of “husband hunting” (I hate that phrase, but don’t know of a better way to describe it) with a lot of calculation. I wasn’t about to marry anyone I didn’t love, but I also wasn’t about to let myself fall in love with someone like my dad, and I wanted to keep my head clear. I was choosing a father for my future children, after all, not just a husband for me. I was in my late 20′s when all this was happening, which was helpful in the introspection side of things, and had been engaged to someone like my dad a few years before, so all that life experience was also helpful.

    @susanawalsh: In reading through this and related blogs I’ve been thinking a lot about fathers and daughters in all this. I do not regard all men as being like my father, but his view of the world and women sure had an impact on me, and it wasn’t for the best for me. As far as looking for the opposite of my father, though, as I said above, it was a logical decision (which paid off very well – my marriage is fantastic). My choices before I got logical were unconsciously influenced by my father’s example, and I am lucky that I was too shy to have men notice me, because I probably would have made some really lousy decisions in my early 20s and wound up married to someone just like my father.

  18. Count me in as another girl with a dark triad father and consequently looked for a good man who would NOT be like my father for marriage.

    With the ex, I started feeling things for him when he told me about how outraged he was by a girl being beaten. I was only a teenager. If there’s a word for a girl who loves the knightly archetype, that’d be me.

    As for this alpha/beta deal, I have more to say but I might just make a post on my blog.

  19. just visiting

    If there’s a word for a girl who loves the knightly archetype, that’d be me.

    Count me in.

  20. Michael Westen

    For those that doubt these distinctions. Back in late HS, college years (early-mid 80s) I fit both the stereotypes (and subsequent results) perfectly.
    Normally a pedestalizing, lower beta, at times when properly lubricated with alcohol i was THE alpha in the room and would manage to pick someone up for the night.
    After sobering up, i would beta-up again and pursue the girl. 9/10 times it was insta-rejection, and anything else would not last beyond 2 weeks as my beta-ness chased them away.

  21. Rich Cook

    I think the problem is not the measure but that there is no scale to the measure. All alphas are not desirable (for LTA’s or marriage) and all beta is not desirable. Many are tagged as ALL alpha or ALL beta with not graduations in between.

  22. Pingback: Dissecting Alpha and Beta » A Journey of Hope

  23. Uncalledfor

    Extremely solid post, Badger. Really, deserving of some kind of “hall of fame” status and commensurate cross-links (if I only had a blog).

    I’d like to expand the A/B distinction along a slightly different direction, which I think is an extremely useful one. Bottom line: beta behavior is “approval seeking” while alpha behavior is “approval granting/denying”. Longer explanation in this comment

    http://bbsezmore.wordpress.com/2011/10/01/banned-from-bbsezmore/#comment-1796

    at BbSezMore, following her post

    http://bbsezmore.wordpress.com/2011/10/01/banned-from-bbsezmore/

    disowning the Alpha/Beta notation (though not permanently). It’s similar to your “affect the world”/”react to the world” dichotomy, but goes more directly to motivations.

  24. Thanks for the link love Badger.

    My primary contrabution has been to link Game concepts to Dr Helen Fisher’s work.

  25. Gold. This is an EPIC post. I’d ping this, but anyone reading my blog is already reading yours.

    I know beta’s the second I get around one. They challenge me, and I confront them directly. That ALWAYS back down. Hell I’m an E6 in the Navy and have had senior officers back down from me when I stand up to them.

    The pack does exist, and I LOVE when the guys suck up to women and kiss their asss. I’ve watched guys buy girls drinks while I motion that I wanna fuck them in the ladies room. *great gesture btw* and I’ve always made the ladies I did this with smile. They LOVE knowing a strong, socially dominant man validates them.

  26. 108spirits

    It’s just some good ol’ snowflaking “I’m not like that!”

    You should learn the trick to quickly identify those people and stop taking them seriously. Don’t debate them, don’t try to help them, just ignore them or amuse yourself.

  27. When dealing with a binary distinction like alpha / beta, there are two types of errors. First, believing that because it doesn’t explain everything, the distinction has no meaning. Second, believing that because the distinction explains some things, it explains all or most things.

    With regard to the alpha / beta distinction, women generally make the first type of error, while game bloggers sometimes make the second.

  28. Bb

    Escoffier, I wish you’d start a blog.

    I think Alpha/Beta distinctions are fine (and needed as a starting point), but it became a style issue for me in terms of writing. I wanted more specificity when talking about behaviors/traits. I kept running against the idea that alpha=always good, beta=always bad. Frustrating.

    I agree with Pechorin’s take. I believe the terms have meaning, but it doesn’t explain all things.

  29. Looking Glass

    It’s a lot of the ways you want to slice up things, but we’re simply observing a natural, hierarchy system that form in group settings. They always happen and happen quickly, are hard to change on the fly and have dramatic effects on the outcomes for each person involved.

    A lot of what “Alpha” really comes down to, and why there is a continuum of effect, is that it’s really “confidence in a situation”. It’s the reason you can have titans in a boardroom and wimps at home, compared with ladykillers that just push pencils all day. They are “Alpha” in specific contexts, those contexts are where they have extreme confidence.

    As a well committed Sigma, I’ve had a lot of time interacting with my own shifting position in groups. If I want to engage, I can be as uncompromising a leader as I feel I want to be (though limited by some innate introvertedness). If I don’t, I can just as easily slide down into a spot where no one really notices I’m there. Or move somewhere between the two extremes. I can AMOG or sit in the crowd, none of which bother me in the least. (Yay for Sigma skills!)

    But the big point is that it’s *always* situational. “Alpha” in 1 context *does not* carry over into any non-associated context. There’s a reason Jim from account could easily be the Sadism King of the county and you wouldn’t have a clue.

    @Hope, Gwen & Susan Walsh:

    80/20 rule is what you’re looking for. It’s mostly applied to a child’s likelihood of having a similar political outlook as their parents, but I find it works a bit better as: 80% will be similar to their parents, 20% will reject their parents. It’s just a matter of the parents having good or bad traits.

    I would assume, as you were marrying against family type, that you’d be in the 20%.

  30. Pingback: from first to last | BbSezMore

  31. ASF

    The alpha/beta approach is a fundamentally reductionist approach: it is a simplified model of male/female interactions that accounts for most, but not all outcomes of such interactions. Since it’s a model, it’s by definition wrong, but it is useful.

    This past Friday a woman (who I had met before at another event) I was talking to asked me to hold her drink. I paused initially, incredulous that she would actually ask me to do this (and there was no obvious reason for me to do so). Recognizing it was a test, I held her drink anyway. But, before giving it back to her I took a sip without asking, which caused faux smiling outrage in her. Was the interaction alpha or beta?

  32. Looking Glass, that seems healthier to me than always struggling to be the top dog or resigning oneself to always follow. This is why I also prefer to not see the situation in black-and-white. My husband is definitely able to lead, but he often sits back and follows. Good leaders usually love him because he is so smart, capable and skilled while not being a jerk-off trying to take over. Bad leaders get threatened by him and try to push him out. They also tend not to like how my loyalty is first and foremost to my husband.

  33. LostSailor

    @Gwen:
    Coming out of lurk mode.

    It’s entirely possible to be more alpha outside the marriage and beta in the marriage. I speak from personal experience.

    I was already divorced when I discovered the manosphere and blogs like this. It quickly hit me that the alpha-like qualities that had had going into the marriage and mostly maintain in business and personal relationships in the outside world had atrophied over the years in my marriage till only the beta was left. It took many years, but I’m convinced it was partly to blame for killing the marriage. (Fortunately, my ex and I remain on friendly terms, even better now that I’m relearning Game.)

    Kudos to you for being here with an open mind. But I’d suggest encouraging more alpha behavior in your husband, so he doesn’t make the mistake I did.

  34. i’m going to whore myself out with this. but i wrote something about this waaaaay back when i rarely registered a blip on the sphere. lol.

    http://dannyfrom504.wordpress.com/2011/08/07/sorry-dude/

  35. Pingback: Male Group Dynamics…. « dannyfrom504

  36. Recognizing it was a test, I held her drink anyway. But, before giving it back to her I took a sip without asking, which caused faux smiling outrage in her. Was the interaction alpha or beta?

    That’s totally charming and tingle-making. Whatever it is, keep doing it.

    Just curious, if there was no reason for you to hold it, what did she do once she handed it to you?

  37. Pingback: Tidbits for Friday | QED

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  40. Pingback: Happy Birthday to the Badger Hut, Part 2: Best Posts | The Badger Hut

  41. The only thing that really matters in your post is the acknowledgement that people can behave differently in different settings. Whole Post Invalidated(tm).

  42. Quarex,

    “Whole Post Invalidated(tm).”

    That’s all you got? Thanks for playing I guess.

  43. Pingback: Bad Game Is Really Difficult To Watch | The Badger Hut

  44. Pingback: The Question You Need To Ask Yourself While You’re Gaming | The Badger Hut

  45. Pingback: Being An Emotional Man Does Not Equal “Talking About Your Feelings” | The Badger Hut

  46. Oleg

    It is really shameful that people have abandoned faith in God and Lord Jesus Christ and the spirit of brotherhood, humility and love it teaches. Shame on you for promoting this selfish animal-like division, encouraging exploitation and mercilessness.

  47. Oleg,

    You must be new here (or were when you left this comment). The shame game is long over – men are getting tired of it, many of those men having grown up in the religious communities of which you speak but were not taught, nor did they see, an environment of “brotherhood, humility and love” – but rather an environment of simony and craven political empire-building masquerading as religious structure.

  48. Pingback: The Sigma, or having the social choice | Pill Scout Blog

  49. phay

    This whole Alpha beta thing is really stupid. The only people who actually believe it are those who don’t have any luck with the opposite sex and must find some bullshit to believe.

    Al right let me put it this way, If women go for the alpha then there’s no way i can disprove this and there can’t be no loop holes around it, meaning all girls go for these “Alphas”. But i’ll use some examples from what I learned about this whole alpha beta bs and then I’ll use some examples to counter

    The first thing that’s wrong with this whole Alpha/beta thing is that it says all women will go for the alpha. DEAD WRONG.

    First of all Humans are complex (there goes the whole alpha beta thing)

    To say all women will go for alphas is like saying all women are attracted to the same things ALL OF THEM!!. (Wrong again)

    I’ve seen women of all ages teenagers, mid adult till later in life reject these confident guys in which you are reffering to as “Alphas” They also didn’t pay attention to the muscular guys either. Some do some don’t.

    So Not all the girls go for these Alphas (bad boys)

    I’ve seen shy guys get the girl “BETAS”
    i’ve seen loud obnoxious guys get the girl “ALPHAS”
    I’ve seen Girls dating Bad boys (ALPHAS)
    I’ve seen Girls dating Nice guys (BETAS)
    I’ve seen girls hooking up with guys in which let me put it in terms in which you guys can understand (white knighting or putting the pussy on the pedestal) i’ve seen guys compliment the girl a lot like a lot and still getting with them.

    The way I see it this whole Alpha Beta thing is really a big deal in America because the dating scene sucks here. (Don’t take my word for it I keep hearing it and reading about it here on some internet forums)

    Also a lot of below average guys want to get with the hot girls, the problem with that is they are insecure and stupid and will most likely pick what you guys are reffering to as an “Alpha” and let me tell you where these “Alphas” end up, they end up at dead end jobs, commiting crimes, and ultimately in jail. They also get fat,and lose some of their self esteem which helped them be so “Alpha” but let’s be honest here that doesn’t really sound “Alpha” does it.

    A real Alpha leads their pack/group to victory to safety,

    These modern ALFALFAS leave everyone behind because they only care about themselves, most of them can’t fight for shit either, they just have a big ego that gives off a vibe that tells everyone that they are the “Shit” when in fact they aren’t.

    Meanwhile the so called “Betas” get a good education,create jobs,become doctors,nurses,police officers,military personal, notice how all of these jobs or things end up helping the community and lead everyone forward.

    If you guys want to stoop down to the level of these sluts or insecure women, than by all means go for it.

    But if you are ever done and tired of these games, stop going for the wrong women/men who decide to go out with these ALFALFAS, they are trash and not worth it.

    These women have their “FUN” and when they are old and used up they expect “the betas” to come and swoop them of their feet. Again you don’t want the trash.

    So again stop with this whole beta alpha bullshit. It’s just retarded. If you believe it too, you are just as retarded.

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