The beta male is often criticized or described as the kind of man you would not want to date or have a relationship with. But what if you have noticed some things about a guy you are interested in that could be beta male traits? Let’s find out the beta male meaning and why you shouldn’t worry if your man fits this description.
What is a beta male?
The term “beta male” comes from a study undertaken in 1968 by scientist David Mech, where he observed wolves’ behavior in captivity. Mech noticed that hierarchies tended to form when alpha males took charge, with beta males and omega males taking more subservient roles.
These terms are often applied to human behaviors. The term “alpha male” is typically used to describe a dominant, traditionally masculine man who knows how to get what he wants. In contrast, the term “beta male” is typically used to refer to a more passive man who lacks confidence and has little to no control over his life. In the popular lexicon, alpha males are the leaders, and beta males are the followers. Women are said to be more attracted to alphas than they are to betas.
However, this generalization is far from a proven theory—Mech’s study was carried out on wolves rather than humans, of course. In fact, Mech himself even rejected his own hypothesis after observing wild (rather than captive) wolves and finding them to behave much less predictably. This calls into question the relevance of the concept of a beta male when it comes to dating. Besides, there are plenty of reasons that a man who may have been described as a beta male can make a great boyfriend.
The most attractive beta male traits
So, aside from the basic theory, what is a beta male personality like? Here are some of the most typical beta male traits that can make him a real catch.
1. You can rely on him
You want to date someone who you can rely on. Unlike the unpredictable alpha, a beta male is likely to be someone that you can depend on. Alpha males are often prone to putting themselves before others due to their competitive mindsets. In contrast, beta males rarely suffer from this same flaw.
Whether you need someone to come and pick you up, help you out with something, or even just show up at the right time for a date, the beta male is your man.
2. He won’t forget your birthday
Beta males are more likely than alpha males to pay attention to the details and remember the things that you find important. They often notice what other men simply don’t.
For example, a beta male is unlikely to forget your birthday because he cares about you. Whether he throws you an elaborate surprise party or cooks your favorite meal for an intimate night in, he is likely to show his care and appreciation.
3. He won’t take you for granted
Traditionally, alpha males are more focused on chasing their next achievement than appreciating what they already have. This means that they can sometimes end up taking their loved ones—including their partners—for granted. In contrast, a beta male’s ability to be present in the moment can lead to an increased appreciation of his partner.
An alpha male is also more likely to have the sexual confidence to see partners as “disposable.” If he feels (rightly or wrongly) that he can have any woman he wants, he is less likely to appreciate their role in his life. The beta man, on the other hand, is less likely to feel like he has an abundance of other options.
4. He understands the importance of communication
Let’s be honest; being in touch with his feelings is not a trait of an alpha male. He is much less likely than the beta male to understand the importance of two-way communication in a relationship.
Beta males are often more emotionally mature and understanding. The chances are that they have experienced more struggles in life, making them see the importance of communication and resolving issues.
5. His whole life doesn’t revolve around sex
Alpha males are often known for their focus on sex and sexual “conquests.” Think of the braggadocious pick-up artists online who love to talk about how many women they sleep with.
Beta males are less likely to have this mindset. While some men who struggle with attracting women have a fixation on sex as alphas do, there are plenty of men who see sex as just one aspect of a relationship. A beta male may be more likely to enjoy all of the other things a relationship can offer.
6. He cares about your sexual satisfaction
While the beta male’s whole life does not revolve around sex, this doesn’t mean that he has no interest in it! In fact, when it comes to the bedroom, the unassuming beta can often actually give you the best time of your life.
While the alpha may have unparalleled confidence, this can result in him thinking he already knows how to please every woman on Earth. This cockiness often actually leads to unfulfilling sex. On the other hand, the beta is more likely to understand that every woman’s needs are different, and his pride won’t be hurt by asking you what exactly floats your boat.
7. He has passions and interests
Some alpha males are so used to getting their own way and being praised for everything that they do that they never really developed any skills. They may also be fixated on competition and dominance to the degree they don’t see value in other pursuits.
The beta may have had to learn how to develop diverse passions and interests to make up for his lower social standing. Many betas have talents such as art, music, cooking, science, or anything else that may make them more interesting, well-rounded people.
8. He loves to help people
While alpha men can help others, they are more likely to be oriented towards personal achievement and compete with other people over assisting them. When they do help, their motives are more likely to be self-centered, and they think about what they may get in return.
Beta males, on the other hand, may have a different mindset. Whether they are volunteering for a charity or simply helping their partner with household chores, being helpful for its own sake is often in their nature.
9. He appreciates a quiet night in
Although not every alpha male is a party animal, there is a correlation. A man who focuses on being loud and socially dominant is less likely to find value in simply sitting on the couch and spending time with you in the evenings.
A beta male may see things differently—he can enjoy quiet time together on a Friday or Saturday night. This doesn’t necessarily imply he lacks the confidence to go out and hit the clubs; it often means that he is comfortable just chilling indoors with a takeaway and a movie.
10. Nights out with him are not stressful
Many beta males love going out to bars and clubs and can be just as much fun as their alpha counterparts. However, the alpha’s need to dominate every situation can often cause trouble. He may be more sensitive to perceived slights, resulting in confrontations with people when you are just trying to enjoy a fun night out.
The beta is less likely to feel like he has something to prove. While the role of “alpha” is a position that has to be continuously defended, the beta is free to simply enjoy the night without starting fights or causing drama.
11. He respects you greatly
The fact that an alpha male is at the top of the “food chain” means that he is much more likely to see others as “beneath” him. This doesn’t just include his male rivals but can affect you too if you date him.
Because the beta male hasn’t been treated as an authority figure all his life, he is more likely to see himself as equal to those around him. This can make a relationship with him much more healthy and happy than one with an alpha male.
12. He is a good listener
You probably want to be with a man who listens to you. One of the most common complaints that the partners of alpha males report is that they are not heard. Alphas assume that they are always right, so they do not need to listen to other people’s opinions.
The beta male is unlikely to suffer from this delusion, so he understands the value of listening to what you have to say and considering your perspective.
13. His self-worth is not based on exploiting others
While the alpha male is often seen as more confident, this is, in fact, not exactly the case. An alpha may gain confidence from “besting” his perceived rivals and dominating others. Still, if his self-worth is dependent on these, then it is precarious and fragile.
The beta male, who has less experience dominating others, has likely to develop self-esteem from within. This confidence may be less obvious and “on display” than the alpha’s, but it can, in fact, be stronger and more stable.
14. He does not feel the need to control you
Because the alpha male’s confidence often comes from winning power struggles, he may be more likely to be controlling (or even abusive) in a relationship. An alpha male may see a strong woman as a threat to his dominance and think a “true alpha” is always the leader.
On the other hand, a beta male is less likely to derive his self-worth from being “in charge” in a relationship. Instead of a constant power struggle, he may see your relationship as something that is to be shared that enriches both of your lives. This doesn’t mean that you should seek out dating a “passive” beta male because you want to be in charge of him—a healthy relationship should be equal.
15. He is ready to commit to you when the time is right
An alpha male is likely to be used to having many women’s attention, even if just for short periods. This means that being “tied down” to only one partner can feel restrictive to him, and he may avoid this. It is also possible that his self-worth is linked to having many women for him to settle down with one.
Either of these issues is not as likely to be an obstacle when dating a beta male. While anyone can be afraid of commitment, the beta will likely be open to it if he values your relationship.
16. Your family and friends will love him
If you’ve ever dated an alpha male, you may have noticed that your friends and family expressed concerns about him. They may have been concerned about him being controlling towards you, or they may simply have just not enjoyed being around him.
Because the beta doesn’t feel this need to dominate social situations, your friends and family are much more likely to approve of him. Family meals or summer barbecues with friends can be much more relaxed and enjoyable with a beta man than with an alpha, who tries to talk over others or be “in charge.”
17. He’ll make an excellent father
Although you may not know yet whether you want to have children or not, this is an important point. When you think of what traits you would like your potential future son to have, what do you think of? Would you want him to be aggressive, cocky, and domineering, or respectful and emotionally mature?
If you want your children to be raised by a positive role model, the beta male can be a much better bet than the alpha.
Famous beta males
The concept of a famous beta male may seem strange. After all, isn’t achieving fame and fortune one of the most apparent traits of an alpha male? Not necessarily! There are many ways to become famous and iconic that don’t involve traditionally macho, competitive, or domineering pursuits. Here are quite a few examples of notable men who could be described as beta males. It would be difficult to argue that these guys are failures or struggle to get attention from women!
Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, is yet another beta male example. Instead of macho posturing, Zuckerberg led a quiet life focusing on his technological skill.
While the “computer nerd” stereotype is not usually seen as macho, he is now one of the world’s richest and most successful men. Although Zuckerberg’s athletic high school peers who shone on the football field may have been considered more alpha, he has certainly outdone them in the long run.
When you think of red-haired, bespectacled folk-pop sensation Ed Sheeran, “manly” probably isn’t the first word you would think of to describe him. Sheeran rose to fame, writing and performing sensitive ballads that displayed commitment and understanding rather than aggression or volume. He did not have six-pack abs or model-good looks, either!
What Sheeran does have is an ability to communicate with listeners and seem relatable. Instead of seeing his imperfections as weaknesses, he has made them his strengths.
Actor Michael Cera is perhaps Hollywood’s classic example of the beta male—a passive “nice guy” who is walked over by his more domineering peers. Films like Superbad and Juno solidified his role as the guy who struggles with the ladies and never knows how to get what he wants.
However—think about how those movies end. In most cases, Michael Cera gets the girl, which is often as accurate in real life as in the film!
Some of the most typical alpha attributes include putting yourself before others, getting your own way using threats and violence, and not showing any emotion. None of these can be said to apply to reggae icon Bob Marley who was also a beta male. Marley’s life and work were characterized by a commitment to pacifism, standing up for others’ rights, and exploring emotion and vulnerability through his music. Although Marley was the opposite of an alpha male in many ways, his cultural impact was enormous—and he certainly had more than his fair share of female attention.
Paul McCartney of The Beatles was a pop music heartthrob from a young age. Often presented as the most wholesome, non-threatening one of the group, he still managed to exert considerable influence. McCartney chose to compromise and understand over ego and dominance. As a result, he managed to keep the group together (despite tensions) long enough to record some of their most iconic works.
Paul McCartney’s friendly nature and commitment to charitable causes have made him one of the world’s most well-loved musical figures.
Seth Rogen is a critically-renowned and hugely commercially successful actor, comedian, screenwriter, producer, and director. You would think that this would give him plenty of reason for arrogance. However, contrary to a lot of the machismo expressed by many similar Hollywood figures, Rogen is definitely a beta male who is always humble and self-deprecating.
If there is any man in Hollywood who would make sure that you have plenty of laughs as well as feel respected and valued on a date, it is Seth Rogen.
The world of hip-hop music is often characterized by dominance, aggression, and macho posturing. Traditionally, rappers usually avoided displaying emotion or vulnerability. However, Canadian mega-star Drake changed all of that.
Drake has enjoyed over a decade of colossal chart success with songs that express vulnerability alongside the traditional gangster image. Drake has shown a generation of hip-hop fans that loneliness and emotion can coexist alongside money, luxury, and achievement.
Ultimately, whether a guy is a good boyfriend or even a good person is more dependent on the individual than whether they are alpha, beta, or even a sigma male. Most people do not fit neatly into these categories. Some respectful people may be considered alpha men, and some manipulative people fit the beta male description. Also, most stereotypical beta male characteristics (such as quietness, passivity, and creative passions) are neither inherently good nor bad. How a guy expresses these characteristics and how they affect your relationship is the most crucial thing that will indicate whether he will be a good boyfriend.