Don’t Be a Dick: The False Virtues of the Classic Alpha Male

Many guys don't think they can be an "alpha male" because they're not arrogant jerks. There is another way.

“Alpha male” is a term that we’ve borrowed from the animal kingdom. Among animals, the alpha is the highest ranked individual within a group. He eats first. He mates first. He gets what he wants because the rest of the pack recognizes his superiority. The others defer to him because he’s proven that he is the strongest, fittest and most powerful male in the pack. He does so by essentially kicking everyone else’s asses on a routine basis.

That is an extremely dumbed down version of the actual concept of an alpha male, which comes from a real science called ethology. And this is the version of the alpha male that we adapt for our own pseudo-scientific explanations of success in male culture. When we construct an image of a human version of an alpha male in our minds, we often picture a guy who earns a big paycheck, drives a fast car and beds various beautiful women. He parts the crowd at clubs and nabs the doting attention of the bartender with a nod.  He takes command in every meeting and is the life of every party.

An alpha male has star power without being famous. He gets royal treatment without the lineage. And in this way, he is much like the top dog or alpha monkey in that he enjoys elevated status without a formal rank.

Because of these similarities, we mistakenly assume that the same animalistic qualities that work for primates and canines will work for people. There is some validity to that. We all know of a few powerful men who seem to get everything they want simply because they are bold enough and ruthless enough to take it from those who don’t have the strength or will to stop them.

What’s troublesome is how far we take the analogy, even if we don’t particularly like the alpha males in our office, our circle of friends or our sports league. Because the power dynamic is reflected in the natural world, we’ve internalized the notion that dominance by an alpha male is the natural order of things. As such, we’ve come to recognize the characteristics of a classic alpha male as virtues. Though unseemly at times, we accept them as necessary traits for effective leadership.

I would argue, however, that they are not. While I recognize that our world needs leaders, I would caution anyone away from choosing the asshole lifestyle in the pursuit of alphadom. Because we are not animals. While this behavior may win you a momentary position of power, it won’t last.

Besides, there’s a better way.

But first, let’s talk about the classic path to alpha male status.

The False Virtues of the Classic Alpha Male

The classic alpha male powers his way to the top by exhibiting a few key virtues:

1. Be aggressive

The best defense is a strong offense. Especially if it’s a preemptive strike. If you see an opportunity, take it immediately. If you see a vulnerability in your rival, exploit it without delay.

What does this get you? As the aggressor, you get to set the pace. By striking out at someone, you task them to either respond in kind or back down. You put them in a reactionary position, which in many cases, is the weaker one.

2. Never let anyone disrespect you.

That is, don’t take shit from anyone. As a classic alpha male, your greatest currency is the recognition of your authority (grudging, resentful recognition still counts). If anyone steps on your toes or even comes remotely close to making you look like a fool, destroy them. Tear them down with a snide, sarcastic remark. Or bide your time and humiliate them publicly or otherwise sabotage their cause.

What does this get you? In some circles, demanding respect works faster than earning respect. But the main “benefit” of establishing yourself as a volatile borderline psychopath who wickedly retaliates against any perceived slight is that it convinces others to tread lightly around you. They’d rather appease you on the minor to moderate stuff, rather than find themselves in your crosshairs.

3. Be fearless

Ignore risk. Or, offload the risk onto someone else (think credit default swaps as well as other less sophisticated forms of passing the buck). Responding to risk acknowledges the possibility of failure, which is an admission of weakness. And you are not weak.

What does this get you? By going where the timid won’t tread, you reap all the rewards that they’ll never taste. Big risk ventures have big payoffs when they go right. And if they go wrong, there is probably a way to deflect the fallout toward someone else. When you’re an alpha, it’s easy to find someone else to blame or someone else to pay for your mistakes (which you’ll never admit to making).

4. Dominate others

Superiority is a relative thing. And you raise yourself higher by beating down everyone in your path. Your throne is built on a mound of skulls and your powerful reputation precedes you.

What does this get you? If a person proves to be an obstacle to your goal, you break them. This sends a strong message to other would-be contenders and it exhibits your strength and superiority. Opponents are either neutralized and removed from the scene or cowed into subordinates, subjugated to your will.

By living by the virtues of the classic alpha male, the one who bullies and blusters his way to the top in true alpha dog fashion, you can find yourself at the top of the pile quite quickly. This is especially true if the upper echelons are already populated by sharkish alphas. Initially, they may recognize and admire your drive and invite you into their fold of elder alphas (just so long as your clout doesn’t impinge upon theirs).

There’s one major downfall of this behavior: the higher up you get, the more hostile your environment becomes. With each rung of the ladder you surmount, the number of people who would love to tear you down increases. All they need is half an opportunity and they’ll be at your throat. At first, these challengers will be a mere nuisance–a solitary horsefly nipping at your immense haunches. But go on long enough, and the numbers will swell to a swarm of bees. And in spite of your track record for bullish success, there will come a day when your luck turns south. During this moment of weakness, no matter how slight or how short, the last place you want to be is in a room full of people who hate your guts.

Aside from the energy you’ll expend dealing with external unrest, life as a Type A alpha is actually physically exhausting in itself. Wall Street Journal ran a piece that asked the question “Are Alpha Males Healthy?” The article cited a study that “found that while the alpha males got the best food and the most mates, they experienced far more stress than the beta males just beneath them in the hierarchy.” Regarding human alphas, “a study of 1,750 Canadians in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology last week found that people who displayed signs of hostility—whether they admitted feeling hostile or not—had twice the risk of cardiovascular problems as those who did not.”

Life as a classic alpha male isn’t as easy as it seems.

The Virtues of the Alpha Male 2.0

That same Wall Street Journal quoted a psychiatrist who noted, “Not all alpha males are Type A, but the combination can be deadly from a health standpoint.”

So, what’s the other kind of alpha male? How do you channel your ambition into a leadership role without creating turmoil inside and out? That’s an art and science that the gurus have been studying and pontificating on for ages. But to start, you can do pretty much the opposite of what a classic alpha male does and get the same (or better) results in terms of alpha status.

1. Be assertive

Assertiveness is the number one virtue of the alpha male 2.0 and it's the key differentiator when compared to the classic alpha male. Whereas the classic alpha male uses aggression to force his will upon others, the new breed of alpha males uses assertiveness to get what he wants. Although often confused for one another, assertiveness and aggressiveness are not the same thing.

Assertiveness is confident, forthright communication without aggression. If you could imagine passivity, aggressiveness and assertiveness as a trifecta, assertiveness and aggressiveness would be equally distanced from passivity, yet branching in opposite paths. (This doesn’t account for passive-aggression. But of course, alphas are not passive.)

aggressive assertive passive triangle

Assertive alphas don’t wheedle or mince words. They cut to the chase and stay on topic, deflecting excuses and attempts at manipulation. But they do so in a way that does not in turn abuse, manipulate, threaten or violate the boundaries of others.

What does this get you? Assertiveness is extremely effective at cutting through the bullshit. By failing to entertain pretenses or thin excuses, an assertive alpha efficiently brings the true sticking points (if any exist) to light and quickly moves toward a resolution or compromise. More importantly, assertiveness brings about desired outcomes based on the merits of the cause. An assertive alpha does not say, “I created you, and I can destroy you, so you’d best do what I say.” He does not intimate that you are foolish, cowardly or prudish for not acquiescing to his will. He says, “I understand that you may have trepidations about my proposal. But I believe it is a solid plan. What is it about the proposal that you find objectionable?” He deflates the objections that have no weight and directly addresses those that do. In the end, assertive alphas often win the support of would-be opponents as well as their respect.

This example is more apt for the corporate world, but assertiveness is key when it comes to dating as well.

Bear with me for a bit. This next part is a bit of a tangent, but it deserves this much space on the list because assertiveness is the cornerstone of the alpha male 2.0 (or any highly effective person). All the other qualities link back to assertiveness, and assertiveness has value that can be expressed in other ways rather than as the opposite of aggression. Assertiveness in romantic pursuits illustrates this best.

When it comes to wooing the opposite sex, a large proportion of the male population harbors a certain false dichotomy.

We tend to believe that there are only two ways to act:

(a) like an arrogant douchebag who uses pick up lines and macho puffery to attract attention or

(b) like a respectful and therefore restrained nice guy. The guy who is prone to striking out often places himself in the latter group as a means of coping with rejection. That girl probably would’ve gone home with me if she would’ve gotten to know me, he rationalizes. But that obnoxious bromagnon never gave her a chance to pay attention to me. Now, she’s going to get used by a grade A asshole and she doesn’t even know it.

If this scenario plays out over the long term, it’s often referred to as being “friendzoned.” That guy paints a portrait of himself as an all-around good guy who never gets what he wants in spite of, or perhaps because of his role as a supportive, genuine human being (rather than just some random horny, competitive douchenozzle).

But here’s a more likely story: when the loud jerk gets the girl while being aggressive and the mousy guy doesn’t, it’s not because the latter dude is being a nice guy. It’s because he’s passive. In situations like these, where the guy doesn’t get the girl, it usually has less to do with the bad guy’s aggression and more to do with the good guy’s lack of assertiveness.

Being passive isn’t the same thing as being polite or respectful or noble. But it often feels that way, which is why so many passive guys choose to be that way (I’m frequently guilty of this myself). This is an important distinction to understand. It applies to romantic relationships as well as professional, familial and fraternal ones as well. Passivity in these types of relationships can actually be a humungous disservice to the other party. And the main reason for that is that when you are passive, you don’t tell people what you want. You don’t tell them what you think, how you feel or what you believe in. There is nothing inherently rude or douchebaggy about asserting these things about yourself as long as you are honest, forthright and respectful of the thoughts, beliefs and feelings of others.

If you fail to do this, you rob that other person of the opportunity to honor your beliefs and feelings. People are not mind readers. And most don’t have the patience or interviewing chops of Ira Glass, so they won’t bother to mine the depths of your impossible soul for that nugget of pure gold. You can’t be angry at someone for failing to grant your wish if you never made the wish.

Being assertive is liberating for so many reasons. Think of all the negative feelings that result from passivity. In a relationship with one or more passive people, every interaction is awash in uncertainty. An immense amount of energy is spent trying to tease out how someone really feels or what someone really wants. If you’ve ever tried to plan a dinner and a movie outing with a group of passive people, you know what I’m talking about. People always say, “I don’t care, it’s up to you, I have no preference,” when they really do care and they really do have a preference. What usually ends up happening is an awkward compromise where no one is truly happy but no one will say so.

This is why women and power are attracted to assertive people. Note that I said assertive, not aggressive. An aggressive person dominates and force-feeds his agenda on others. This may work in some situations, but in the long run, it’s off-putting and unsustainable. An assertive person may also have an agenda, but he presents it in a constructive fashion. He provides his point of view and desired course of action and invites you to present yours. He investigates the objections, diffuses the ones that hold merit and creates a workable compromise for those that do. He takes charge not in an authoritative way, but in a collaborative way that solves problems, rather than ignores them or defers them.

To compare and contrast, here are two mock dialogues.

The first is between two passive people. The second is between a passive person and an assertive person.

Guy: “What are you doing tonight?”

Girl: “I don’t know. Derek called me…”

Guy (not hiding his distaste): “Derek? Do you like him?”

Girl: “I don’t know. He seems interested in me.”

Guy: “He doesn’t even know you, though. He probably just wants to brag to his frat buddies that he banged you.”

Girl (offended): “Because there’s no other reason to be interested in me, right?”

Guy: “That’s not what I’m saying, Jesus, why are you pissed off at me? I’m actually your friend, here.”

Girl: “Yeah, well you’re not super awesome to be around right now. I’m going out. I’ll talk to you later.”

Guy: “If you do anything with Derek, I won’t even know what to think of you.”

Girl: “It’s none of your business. Grow up.”

Let’s try this another way.

Guy: “Hey, are you busy tonight?”

Girl: “I don’t have any plans yet, but I was thinking of meeting Derek at that party.”

Guy: “I see. Well, if you haven’t made any plans yet, I thought you might like to go to dinner with me.”

Girl: “Dinner? Just the two of us? Well, I did already tell Derek that I might go…”

Guy: “If going to the party is something you want to do, maybe we could grab a late dinner and then go to the party together.”

Girl: “Well, it’s not really that…”

Guy: “What is it?”

Girl: “We’re…friends, right?”

Guy: “I consider us friends, yes. I really like hanging out with you and I thought it’d be nice to spend some time getting to know each other outside the context of class or parties or work.”

Girl (laughing nervously): “Oh, okay. I don’t know what to say.”

Guy: “Don’t say anything. Let’s just go to dinner. We’ll have a good time like we always do.”

Girl: “Okay then. See you at 8?”

Guy: “See you at 8.”

Okay, obviously both of those are caricatures of a real conversation (like anyone would say “outside the context of class” in casual conversation) but you get the idea. The scenario in both conversations is the same. The guy knows he has feelings for the girl, the girl likes the guy as a friend, but isn’t sure whether the relationship is or should be going further. The emergence of Derek–who, by the way, is an obnoxious jerk–provides an opportunity for both of them to discuss their feelings and intentions. In the first scene, the guy gets bitter and resentful because he sees the girl showing interest in Derek, even though he has spent all this quality time with her, making her laugh, sharing interests, and doing other things typical of romcom montages. But instead of telling her how he feels, the guy says something inadvertently hurtful to her in a (possibly) subconscious attempt to manipulate her into changing her mind. She, being already primed with uncertainty, reacts with indignation. She sees his comment not as an oblique profession of his romantic desires (how could she?) but as an attack on her redeemable qualities. And the whole thing falls apart.

In the second scene, the guy flat out asks her out. In this setup, she is still uncertain, and she uses Derek as an excuse to make a non-decision. The guy then deflates this excuse by offering a compromise that allows her to follow through with her tentative plans with Derek and still accept his offer. This forces her to uncomfortably air her concerns about the state and direction of their relationship. The guy then lays his cards on the table in a non-creepy, non-dramatic way that doesn’t make this date discussion into an all-or-nothing DTR (“define the relationship”). She may not end up marrying him because of that conversation alone, but at least he’s given himself a fighting chance.

Alright, we’ve spent a lot of time talking about passivity. But just so we are clear that assertiveness isn’t the same thing as aggressiveness, here’s take three, but between an assertive person and an aggressive person.

Derek: “Hey girl, are we going to the party tonight or what?”

Girl: “I know I said I was thinking of going, but after we talked, this guy asked me to go to dinner.”

Derek: “That guy? Shit, I know that guy. He’s a loser. Come to the party.”

Girl: “He’s my friend. I’m going to dinner with him.”

Derek: “You told me you were coming to the party with me. Are you backing out on me?”

Girl: “We never made firm plans. I’m sorry if you thought we did.”

Derek: “If he’s your friend, he won’t care if you go to dinner some other time. But I’ll be pissed if you bail on me last minute like that.”

Girl: “I told him I’d go to dinner and I want to go to dinner with him so I’m going to go to dinner with him instead of the party.”

Derek: “Whatever. I just want you to know that when I tell people about this you are going to come off as a bitch.”

Girl: “I don’t care what your moronic friends think of me.”

Again, sorry, I know–cheesy. I promise not to write any movie scripts. But you get the idea. There’s a wrong and right way to tell people what you want from them. But the absolute worst way is to not tell them at all.

2. Cultivate mutual respect

The alpha 2.0 recognizes that every individual deserves respect, regardless of rank, gender, nationality, education, political views or corporate allegiance. He shows respect to others because they are human, not because of their enviable accolades or clout.

What does this get you? Showing respect to everyone avoids all the various downfalls of rankism. Belittling others creates bitterness and resentment throughout the hierarchy. This resentment is harbored primarily by those who are disrespected. But it also has an impact on those who witness you being disrespectful or hear of your rankism through the grapevine (imagine how you’d feel if a date was incredibly rude to a server at a restaurant).

By showing respect to everyone–be they workers in the mailroom or high-powered foreign dignitaries–they will be more inclined to put forth a good faith effort on your behalf. Otherwise, they may not put in that extra hustle to get your package in the mail by 4:59 PM, or speak up when they hear someone malign you behind your back in the elevator.

3. Understand Risk

All ventures have risk. Whether it’s approaching someone at the bar or investing $100 million in a startup. Rather than turning a blind eye to these risks, an alpha 2.0 actively seeks to uncover and examine risk in order to manage it.

What does this get you? Obfuscating or ignoring risk may help you get a plan past a committee or your own internal censor. But it won’t help you down the road when the adverse impacts rear their ugly heads. By understanding the risk, you can identify it and quantify it so you can proceed with real confidence, rather than speculation and hubris. Better yet, you may even be able to mitigate or avoid the risk. But if you never acknowledge the risk, the fallout will always blindside you.

4. Empower Others

The alpha 2.0 isn’t just on the lookout for opportunities for himself. He also keeps an eye out for opportunities for others. Because he has a keen eye for talent and character, he’s able to build strong connections between people he trusts.

What does this get you? Power and opportunity are like the loaves and fish that fed the multitude. When opportunity is divided and given away to the right people, it multiplies. Whereas the classic alpha builds a portfolio of enemies, the alpha 2.0 has a rolodex flush with allies.

This is different, however, than having subordinates “in your pocket” a la Don Corleone. The alpha 2.0 does not empower others with the expectation of repayment. He does so as an investment in goodwill. Because of this goodwill, these allies will help the alpha 2.0 when he is high and mighty or down and out. This makes his network an effective amplifier and safety net. The classic alpha, on the other hand, will be quickly abandoned once he loses his big stick.


Douchebagging your way to the top is the fossil fuels of ladder climbing. It’ll get you there fast and cheap, but it’ll leave the environment far too toxic to live in comfortably. In a word, it’s unsustainable.

Life in the wild is short. Life in human society is not. A ruthless power grab will leave you with a short-lived reign and a kingdom of burned bridges. If you want to pursue your ambitions, whether in the dating game, the corporate world or anywhere else, go about it like a non-sociopath. The slow and sustainable path holds infinitely more rewards.

Further reading:

Jack Busch lives in the Pittsburgh area where he writes and edits for fun and money.


  • Reply July 1, 2012


    I would just like to say that I loved this article. Good stuff!

  • Reply July 2, 2012


    Great article! Words to live by

  • Reply July 2, 2012

    Chris Reetz

    I have to fight a passive aggressive nature on a daily basis. I just ended the weekend with a classic episode where instead of saying what I wanted I mumbled off with an ‘I don’t care’ expecting the person to read my mind. The result was a frustrated afternoon where I resented the their choice. Energy draining behavior. My favorite quote from the article, “There’s a wrong and right way to tell people what you want from them. But the absolute worst way is to not tell them at all.”

  • Reply July 2, 2012


    Holy crap. The DTR is surefire way to stop a relationship from forming! I’ve tried to get that through friends heads. People seem to think there’s only two approaches nice guy or arrogant prick. DTR could deserve an article all of it’s own. Excellent points on the assertiveness. I think there’s more to alpha male 2.0, but this is definite starter text.

    As much as I’ve read on entrepreneurship “empowering others” is the best way to get help yourself. When you can help out others.. Do it! Usually those things are small things that are great and if they move up and accomplish anything they’ll remember who you are when you ask them for advice, a certain contact, or something else that might be useful.

    Thanks for the article.

  • Reply July 2, 2012


    This really makes me want to beat the shit of someone named Derek.*

    * I am acutely aware that is the opposite intention of the article.

  • Reply July 2, 2012


    Thanks for this article!

  • Reply July 3, 2012


    This was a great article! This is what effective leadership really looks like.

  • Reply July 3, 2012


    I agree and diagree with this article. I’d have to say I take the aggressive side more than any passive or “assertive” side and I have found great success. I am however in the military so it is a different environment than say an office. But I have moved up quick and hold a lot,of responsibility. I do however ALWAYS take care of my guys from the small to big issues no matter what and I think that has gained a lot of respect. At the end of the day it’s not telling them to do something and them having to do so, but them wanting to do that for you. I have earned that despite my bull in a china shop approach. And as far as the dating portion of this article I disagree…check out . This guy is outlandish at times but I’d bet my career and my possessions that it works.

  • Reply July 3, 2012


    Very enlightening…

  • Reply July 4, 2012


    I enjoyed the explanation of assertiveness. Good article and was pretty spot on in my experience.

  • Reply July 5, 2012

    Cody Johnson

    That was a very good read. Great job on the article.

  • Reply July 14, 2012


    While reading this article, I realize a lot of my behavior is very passive. I never say my true thought on something, because it may cause people not to like me. But I’ve been so passive for so long I don’t know how to be assertive. 🙁

  • Reply July 18, 2012


    Great stuff. Would love to send it to my husband, but being the alpha male type he would most likely be very defensive. IRONY!

  • Reply July 20, 2012


    I agree completely, and it’s very applicable to women as well. I especially agree with the dating part; I’ve had so many guys try to ask me out without actually asking me out. I can figure out that that’s what they’re doing, but I’ll usually say no because I don’t want to date someone who can’t assert what they want.

  • Reply July 22, 2012

    John alpha

    Erm, not false virtues. In the animal kingdom that’s how an alpha male operates.

    An Alpha Male is the dominant leader in a pack. Nothing more nothing less.

    Thanks for the useless pathetic article. Not everyone is going to be a pussy like you.

    Alphas UNITE.

  • Reply August 7, 2012


    It actually kind of creeped me out. I feel like a formal psychology student made all these observations from his cubicle.
    However I did like the advice for the good guy side, even though you could have probably just said “opposite Alpha 1.0”

  • Reply August 12, 2012

    Todd - Fearless Men

    “when the loud jerk gets the girl while being aggressive and the mousy guy doesn’t, it’s not because the latter dude is being a nice guy. It’s because he’s passive.”

    Wow. That is the best explanation I’ve heard of this phenomena.

  • […] Read The Full Article here […]

  • Reply November 1, 2012

    Yoshua Kistner


  • Reply December 17, 2012

    mad man

    Probably the most well written, pragmatic article I’ve seen on the internet this year. Had to bust out that dictionary a few times haha.

  • Reply March 16, 2013


    Excellent article, I especially enjoyed the section on assertiveness and the final words about the lifestyle and network building skills of alpha 2.0. Extremely effective life strategies that result in success in all circles of life.

  • Reply March 20, 2013

    Gaurav P.

    Amazing article – really sheds light on passive-aggressive behaviour in an insightful and thought-provoking way.

  • Reply April 25, 2013

    J.WIlliam. Gutierrez

    Motivating read. Thanks for taking the time to write this.

  • Reply September 29, 2013

    Justin Goode

    I really enjoyed reading this, thank you.

    I arrived here via reading a load of polarising stuff about alpha/beta behaviour that was just too logical, too much ‘this is how it is’, too much lumping stuff into convenient categories to fit, too ‘solid architecture’ for me to accept.

    The human brain likes categorisations, likes nibbling down reality into bite-sized chunks with clearly defined boundaries.

    Sometimes our arguments serve solely to shore up some abstract notion and have no basis in reality. For instance statistics can, and are used to prove just about anything, and logical coherent arguments can be made to justify just about any behaviour.

    But your article rang fairly true with me.

    For my own situation I find myself moving fluidly through all sorts of archetypal behaviour patterns, from alpha, to beta, through to omega.

    Some days I know what I want, where I’m at, what I’m about. Some days I’m lost and content to drift, some days I enjoy being told what to do, some days I’m holding the reins tight with goal and destination in sight.

    My experience with discussing this phenomenon with others is that they too shift through similar gears, depending on many conditions, circumstances, the weather, how events are progressing, self-belief, self-awareness, health, necessity, etc.

    Reality is malleable, our own beings putty in our hands, canvasses on which to let our creativity loose. Nothing is fixed.

    And to return to my point, nobody is alpha or beta. Hierarchies exist only in the mind. The weakest link is just as valuable as the strongest one. We are all deeply connected and dependant upon one another.

    Thanks for the post.

  • Reply October 15, 2013

    Erica Wagner

    The concept of the alpha male (actually the alpha pair) is obsolete with regards to wolf packs (Read the essay entitled “Whatever happened to the term alpha wolf” by the wolf expert Donald Mech. It’s out there in many places on the web). In fact, the breeding pair that forms the nucleus of a wolf pack are the parents of the other wolves, and the younger wolves eventually leave to find mates and form their new packs. There is no special trait that makes an “alpha” male (or female–funny how these human “alpha male” advocates forget the females and their own hierarchies) except surviving long enough to leave home and find a mate.

    Anyway, applying the wolf model to guys who makes lots of money, drive flashy cars, and bed lots of beautiful women (presumably by falsely persuading them that you will be a good provider for any children that come) is completely asinine, since wolves bond monogamously and both parents raise the offspring. Their behavior more closely resembles that seen in the breeding leks of the prairie chicken. The males get together and dance, drum their chests, and flash their feathers, and the females choose to mate with the most impressive dancers, then go off to raise their chicks alone. A “dominant” male in the lek can get lots of mates, but the price he pays is exhaustion at the end of the breeding season. Chances are, he won’t be the dominant male next year (or even survive the winter).

    By all means, dudebros, act like a bunch of prairie chickens.

  • Reply November 30, 2013


    My god. Thankyou. A MAN GETS IT! I got sick of being abused (literally) by arrogant alpha males until I met my boyfriend, a typical nice guy. Nerdy, virgin, quiet, gentleman, polite, intelligent, caring. He was so sweet and was lucky that I read between the lines and realised he actually wanted to date me even though nothing voiced from him suggested that he did. Under normal circumstances he would just remain a lonely virgin nice guy because he was PASSIVE. Not saying you want me to come over is not ‘being nice’. Now we are together I’m glad I consciously decided to give him a chance (make the move on him instead of another asshole) I am working hard on getting him to assert himself, not just telling me what he wants but people at work etc. Being assertive won’t make him any less of a nice person. But still, I am so happy to be with him instead of another dick with Alpha Make syndrome who just wants to drag me home by my hair and expects a mindless partner to submit to their big penis display. 😛 Thanks for being honest as a man posting this… Making it clear you don’t have to either be a total dick or straight up let opportunities with women go right past you

  • Reply March 14, 2014


    Good stuff guys. Refreshing to see a non-douchey lifestyle opinion. Would love some feedback on my latest if you have any time (this is not a traffic grab). Thanks

  • Reply April 4, 2014

    Assy mcgee

    Hahaha awesome

  • Reply April 29, 2015

    Ryan Pomplun

    Excellent article, dead on. I’d go a step further here – the “classic” alpha isn’t really an alpha at all and never was. Your “alpha 2.0” is what an alpha is, has always been, and always will be – a strong, beloved leader. And a true alpha couldn’t give a shit about being alpha or not, he’s just himself. A Sioux chief wears his headdress because others bestowed it upon him, not because he aspired to get it. Think on that my brothers:)

  • Reply August 31, 2015

    Ms. Livengood

    “[W]hen the loud jerk gets the girl while being aggressive and the mousy guy doesn’t, it’s not because the latter dude is being a nice guy. It’s because he’s passive.” Pure gold.

    I’ve never permanently friend zoned a guy, unless it’s a temporary thing due to their lifestyle. It’s plainly that friends ask too soon before I know them well enough to say yes (I wouldn’t want a guy who asks me out for looks alone), or they just never asked. But right now I’m engaged to someone who fits your Alpha 2.0 description almost exactly.

  • Reply January 1, 2016


    How come the first 3 false alpha virtues have NO downsides listed? What is the author telling us?

  • Reply January 1, 2016


    Save it for those who misspell the name.

  • Reply February 22, 2016

    James Harley

    Very impressive post. I’ve noticed that the assertive alpha is also one that leads by example. Assertiveness is a more confident and devil-may care attitude approach. You present yourself in a confident and straightforward way and allow others to think it over i.e. respect.

  • Reply March 4, 2016

    Da Man

    fossil fuels have proven more sustainable and status lifting than any other energy source except nuclear. It was a clever analogy, but not really true unless you’re an environmental extremist who believes we should be living in pre-Industrial revolution conditions.

  • Reply March 23, 2016


    What a ridiculous article. Most men don’t care about being the “alpha male”. Let men be whatever they want to be, stop pressuring men to be somethig they don’t want to be for the sake of pleasing a fucked up society.

  • Reply November 17, 2016


    While I don’t agree with everything it says I must still agree that being a timid Ma’ma’s boy, like I was for most of my life, does not make you nice, it makes you a spinless jerk. You can be genuinly a good and caring male without being an abusive asshole. I just wish it hadn’t taken 30+ years for me to figure that out. I’ve never been agressive and it’s taken years of Military service, pain, humiliation, frustration, and painful experience to force me to become assertive. Granted I am still not as assertive as I would like to be but as time goes by I am getting better. But when it comes to women I am and always have been destined to be weeded out by Darwinian Caluculus. But at least I have learned how to stand up for myself without being a hostile asshole.

  • Reply January 6, 2018


    Having a bf who acts like an D all the time I just had to check if he is just too alpha o just an arse before ending sh**

  • Reply July 1, 2018


    SOMEONE…*cough cough* REALLY REALLY REALLY needs to study how a true Alpha Wolf behaves 🙄🙄. He is deffo NOT the dickhead SOMEONE describes first in this post….Sometimes it’s nice when ppl know what they actually writes about 🙄🙄🙄

  • Reply October 25, 2018


    People who call them selves alpha are probably not alpha.

  • Reply February 12, 2019


    While I agree with this article I feel that the author left out one important detail, alpha males often (though not always) resort to physical violence and even murder to get what they want or to show “dominance” and if the person who they are targeting happens to be passive or someone who is non aggressive than the results are going to be tragic.
    Why, because everyone else either eggs the A Male on to brutally injure or kill the passive person or they just stand there and watch.
    I am not an aggressive or violent guy, however I have had other men threaten me with violence or even death for stupid stuff and for trying to intervene in an instance of sexual harassment and a few of them actually tried to carry the threat out and guess what? Everyone else cheered and egged them on, men and women.
    So if your someone who isn’t aggressive and violent and like me surrounded by men who are, what can you do? Yes, be assertive, and yes stand by your principles but before you do that ask yourself this: “Am I ready to take the consequences!?”
    I’m a 10+ year Military Vet and still serving and I see the negative attributes this article is talking about very often.
    Sad part is, those are the very people who get praised and rewarded by the system.
    Confidence is important, but just because your sure of yourself doesn’t mean your always right!

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