Fake Alpha Males vs "Real" Alpha Males Cheat Sheet

Editorial note: this post isn't meant to be a definitive statement on whether or not humans can be sorted into "alpha" versus "not alpha" groupings. I'm writing this on the basis of how the semantic usage of "alpha males" is widely understood. You may disagree about the existence of "alphaness" as an intrinsic attribute of any particular male, but we at least all have an idea of how the term exists in popular culture. Its from that linguistic starting point that I'm making these clarifications. The existence of these clarifications is not a commentary on the need for men to "be alphas", it's just a clarification of how I observe "real men" acting versus how these "fake alphas" tend to act. It is thus descriptive in nature, not prescriptive. I consider myself neither "alpha" or "beta" or anything in-between, but I recognise these terms carry semantic value; so I'll play the linguistic ball where it lies, rather than interject my own lexicon into the existing cultural conversation.

Fake Alpha Males vs Real Alpha Males Cheat Sheet

Fake alpha male: Obsessed with his own image, and especially how that image reflects his self-perceived "alpha status".

Real alpha male: Aware of what his image conveys to others, and makes deliberate choices in how he presents himself, but doesn't derive his sense of identity from the perception of others, and is unphased by whether or not others view him as "alpha" or not, and probably finds it tacky to draw attention to any such valuation. Embodies the ethos of "if you got it, you shouldn't need to announce it".

Fake Alpha male: Loud and boisterous; takes up space physically and verbally in an effort to seem "bigger" than he is. Manspreading and interrupting people may be symptoms of this artifical "enlargement". Uses eye contact as a "weapon", trying to stare down other men and "eye-fuck" random women, without regards to how he's endearing himself to the broader social context.

Real alpha male: neither shrinks away nor inflates his stature unnecessarily. Carries himself with a calm composed aura of quiet confidence. Makes eye contact easily with everyone, without feeling the need to invade others' personal space. Doesn't need to puff his chest or raise his voice, he has a healthy sense of his own power and his own capabilities, and doesn't need to display too much of it outwardly, he keeps his power for himself and only makes a show of force when absolutely critical for his safety or the safety of those under his care.

Fake Alpha male: as an extension of the aforementioned posturing, fake alphas are quick to become aggressive and wield the threat of violence to get what they want, whether or not they actually intend to follow through. It is often unclear whether they will back down or not when challenged, but generally speaking a man who's genuinely prepared to attack them viciously in response will make them think twice and back down (or wait for "backup", which is where the ACTUAL danger may lie, since strength in numbers is the great leveler in anti-social violence). These violent threats are typically accompanied by a great deal of verbal threats, yelling, getting up in people's faces, etc. These posturing signs are usually a sign of insecurity, as truly dangerous people do not give off so many "tells" of what they're planning to do. Truly violent people will often be quiet and reserved, until they're not, and the switch to violence is very sudden and not telegraphed, and they go much further in the extent of the violence itself. This is the difference between an anti-social fake Alpha, and an a asocial psychopath.

Real alpha male: is capable of inflicting violence and can respond tit for tat if provoked; but generally avoids "looking for a fight" as he has nothing to prove. Any use of violence on his part is solely an extension of his role as "protector", and once that role is fulfilled, he will disengage from further violence, knowing his limits well enough to know excessive force serves no purpose. Tends not to telegraph any use of violence, but will give his adversary multiple chances to walk away, knowing this would also fulfil his role as protector, as violence avoided is the same outcome as violence "won". (except in situations where avoiding violence just brings it back around later, for example, where his girlfriend is being spied on by a stalker.)

Fake alpha male: "Negs" women and puts women down to raise himself up. Borderline obsession with "taking the pussy off the pedestal", he refuses to make even the smallest concession to account for a woman's legitimate needs. This tendency may or may not intersect with an intense interest in "red pill" ideology and Internet communities based on advocacy for repealing women's rights. (Although such men also exist in the far-left, seeing women as powerless victims who need to be "saved" by 'pick-me', 'male savior' activists.)

Real alpha male: has a high self-esteem and treats women with the same regard and dignity with which he treats himself. He doesn't want women knocked off their pedestal, he puts himself on a pedestal and invites women to join him on the same pedestal together. Avoids extreme beliefs about controlling women's choices, but is also not afraid to call women out on bad behavior. He maintains high standards and is willing to walk away if necessary, but ultimately accepts women's nature as it is, and encourages women in his life to bring their best to all that they do, and he leads by example in his own conduct. Is comfortable taking the lead, but also recognises there's a "dance" of sorts wherein the woman ALLOWS him to lead (ever tried dancing the tango with a woman who won't allow the man to lead? It just doesn't work, so she actually has an equal amount of agency, because his leadership depends on her cooperation, which in turn must be earned by the total sum of the impression he makes in his conduct, behavior, attitude, etc.)

Fake Alpha male: spends a lot of energy on judging other men and trying to "prove" how other men are "subordinate" to him. May seek out positions of authority to reinforce this, but typically only rises so far before the "real alphas" put a muzzle on his ambitions. Consequently, these fake alphas are often found in middle management; HR positions where they have a mandate to enforce company policy over others; and team leader positions that have an illusion of authority that doesn't actually hold up next to the true decision makers in a company.

Real alpha male: Knows his worth and knows how to negotiate on the basis of his worth. But always allows his counterparts to feel respected and understood in negotiations. Uninterested in making other men "submit" to his will; he's solely focused on his goals, and negotiates with other people (especially other men, though not exclusively) on the basis of how his goals may intersect with theirs. His reputation for spirited yet respectful negotiation and self-restraint among his peers earns him the right to negotiate with the real decision makers in a company -- and thus he goes further than the fake alphas he ultimately gains influence over. This natural influence he has extends to all parts of his life, and so he maintains good relations with friends, family, and the people he interacts with in day to day life. He treats cashiers and waiters with the same respect and consideration he affords to company CEOs and business clients. Through all this he never loses sight of his boundaries and values, and remains willing to walk away from a "bad deal" or a position of authority that no longer correlates to his own goals. He'd rather start again from the ground up than cling to power for power's sake, if he believed starting over would better serve his goals.

I could probably keep going, but those are the big differences I see. What do you think? What do you see as the difference between "real" and "fake" alpha males?

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Most Helpful Guy

  • I agree with some and disagree with some of these. Basically an alpha can be boiled down to whether you'd be willing to follow them into battle even in the most dire of situations.

    • That's a good definition. We all know a fake-ass leader who talks big game but couldn't be trusted when shit hits the fan.

    • talking big game isn't really an issue if you can back up it. we may hate the dude for his "arrogance" but there's no denying his credentials if he has such.

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  • I’m a bit tired of hearing this alpha male and beta male and what not.

    It feels so animalistic.

    • Exactly. In my opinion being a strong man is not black and white. There is so many philosophies, like stoicism and stuff. I think personal integrity, confidence and vulnerability is the most important for both men and women

  • All men cheat and Alpha or beta has little to do with it from my perspective.

    • Not all men cheat. That is like saying all guys have the same level of self-control & the same opinion about how to deal with relationship problems. There's a lot of variety out there.

    • Only about a quarter of men ever cheat, and the portion of women who cheat is not much different. Get your facts straight.

    • What I meant all men cheat on this topic. Read the damn post. Alphas cheat. Betas cheat. That’s 💩

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  • Every "REal MeN" or "ReaL ChAd" posts have two things in common:
    1. A misunderstanding of Alpha and Game Theory, bent to support the argument
    2. A real man looks like ____. Low and behold, we discover that the author fits ___ perfectly!! What a miracle! Every woman should sleep with the author, because the author has proven himself on the internet to be a Gigachad and a gentleman and a scholar as well!!

    It's basically just "why don't womens date niceguy like me" turned into "womens shall date man like me, i shall trick them and say i'm chad!"

    • Did you actually read the post, or did you just come in with this response already locked and loaded?

    • Yeah, it's just so deep, man

  • Good points. But perception is unfortunately reality for a lot people including females who make bad dating decisions.

    They may not stay with the fake alpha male but he will get his foot in the door because he runs his mouth and doesn’t fight fair. Although false it does create a strong perception on women. So these guys do get some quick wins (while damaging other people in the process). If there weren’t any benefits to acting that way then they there would be no motivation to continue their shitty behavior.

  • I guess I can see this. I think a lot of self proclaimed "alphas" are assholes but i guess that is because they are fake alphas from your point of view.

  • I’m not sure that I but I to the whole “alpha male” thing but this was a really well written and thoughtful piece. I alway think that guys who proclaim themselves alphas are just insecure assholes and more often than not misogynistic to top it off.

    The way you describe a real alpha reminds me of my dad. He’s just a quietly confident man that loves and takes care of his kids and treats his girlfriend and all his friends with respect. He gives everyone man or woman the same respect as long as they earn it. And he can definitely take care of himself but doesn’t feel the need to go out of his way to prove it by being confrontational.

  • Everything you said is everything I've been saying for years. Good to see someone else knows it. A real man is not one who has to throw his weight around with people to show he's a Man. Also want to note that a lot of these "alpha" males are the same ones who like to push people around but as soon as you do the same thing to them they take offense and get in their feelings.

    I work with mostly men, and I can't stand them honestly. They do all the things you noted. They get in their feelings and wonder why I don't hang out with them and why I've seperated myself from them more and more. They are clueless and don't realize that they're toxic and rude, and I want nothing to do with that.

  • I'm usually not interested in this wolf classification system... But that's an awesome take! Very nicely written.

    • Thanks so much!

  • A lot of that sounds like a fake alpha trying to out-alpha the rest of the fake alphas because the competition is getting tighter and tighter.

    If I could define an "alpha" it would be someone that isn't afraid to go and get what he wants. Period. For that you need to not care about what others think about you in the process. This comes about through experience and having certainty about yourself.

  • I read half through and got bored but from what I have read, I agree.

  • i think the so called Alpha male is a myth but i agree with a lot of what you say.

  • Sounds about right except that it's not really alpha as much as just being a man of character.

    Once you hit the big leagues there's almost always going to be someone higher up the food chain, so you're not really the alpha at that point.

    It's more of a big fish in a small pond situation where you find an actual alpha.

    • True, its broadly a character issue more than a power issue. Power can be fleeting and is relative to the environment. Character is lasting and doesn't require the environment to validate its merit.

  • I will narrow it down for you:

    Real valuable people do it because of a real purpose.

    Confused people do for fitting in, at all cost.

  • I saw the title and thought, "Oh, another one of these." Thank you for surprising me with such a well written and reasoned take.

  • I can see where you are coming from to a point but I respectfully don’t think guys should use the whole alpha and beta frame of reference.


    I just feels that’s it’s a self limiting belief to a degree and due to how complex animals and social creatures we are we are dynamic.


    I mean a guy could be an “alpha” in a social environment that he’s in his element and if you place him into a other social situation the same guy might be nervous or shy as anything if you get what I mean.

  • I confess, I’m a fake alpha.

    god save me.

  • I prefer "strong" men vs "weak" men, but good take none the less.

  • In today's day... if you follow your favourite YouTuber, and he SAYS he's an alpha, and you follow his rules. Then you are an alpha. Even if what he says and does look corny and pretentious.

  • I agree with a lot of this with just some minor tweaks. The only thing I truly disagree with is part about women. At best what you wrote were meaningless platitudes and at worst pure simping. None of it was alpha in any way shape or form.

    For example one meaningless platitude: "he puts himself on a pedestal and invites women to join him on the same pedestal together" wtf does this even mean?

    In terms of simping: "Negs" women and puts women down to raise himself up. Borderline obsession with "taking the pussy off the pedestal"

    I don't think you have any understanding of what a neg is. It's a response to frankly rude behavior. It's the concept that when a woman makes a rude put down to the man, he doesn't just accept it but turn I back around on the woman. Having wit and standing up for yourself is absolutely alpha behavior. You're suffering from the women are wonderful idea in that you cannot readily imagine any scenario where a woman does not deserve to be told something mean. Women can be rude, mean, trashy, etc and some in fact behave this way.

    Taking women off the pedestal is the same thing. Nobody deserves to be worshipped. That's bullshit. If someone wants to worship someone fine, but that's nonsense entitlement that anyone should expect to be treated that way or something is seriously wrong for someone to run around treating lots of people that way. No alpha is running around on his knees worshipping people. Just aren't.

    • "For example one meaningless platitude: "he puts himself on a pedestal and invites women to join him on the same pedestal together" wtf does this even mean?" The point here is that insecure men either put themselves beneath women (ie: simping), or try to mask their insecurity by acting like women are beneath them. Two sides of the same coin, right? Whereas a secure man has high standards for himself AND for those around him, including women. He's not stuck in that insecure paradigm of managing impressions by viewing women as "less than" or "more than"; he holds himself in high esteem and offers women an opportunity to relate with him on that same wavelength of healthy self-regard.

    • "I don't think you have any understanding of what a neg is. It's a response to frankly rude behavior. It's the concept that when a woman makes a rude put down to the man, he doesn't just accept it but turn I back around on the woman. Having wit and standing up for yourself is absolutely alpha behavior." If that's the definition we're going by, then I'd actually agree with you. I was more talking about negging girls just as a blanket default, even when they've done nothing to warrant such put-downs. But yes, I agree, if she's throwing out shit tests, being difficult or dramatic, or just generally behaving poorly, then I consider it "open season" to knock her down a peg or two lol. And being witty and playfully confrontational for flirting's sake has its place of course. I don't really view that as "negging" per se, I just view that as flirtation. Negging can work, then, if done playfully, or in response to legitimately bad behavior (or calling out an implicit frame the girl is subtly trying to make the guy accept, for example, an implicit frame of "a real man would buy drinks for me and my girlfriends all night" wouldn't get past a "real alpha" because he knows all the frames that weak needy guys get locked into with attractive women, he understands sexual communication and he understands when to be combative and when to be amenable.) it's kinda hard to put all that in my OP coz otherwise I'd just waste ink clarifying shit that I assumed was implied, but maybe I could've delineated better between Negging as a "deserved callout" versus Negging as an "insecurity band-aid". It's about the intention behind the tactic more than the tactic itself.

    • Ok I got you now and we're on the same page. I was like whoa how was he so right and yet so wrong. Lol.

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  • Alpha male is just a guy that recognizes that he is a guy. He is confident about being a guy cause he knows that there is nothing wrong with being a guy.

    Alpha female is a girl that recognizes that she is a girl. She is confident about being a girl cause she knows that there is nothing wrong with being a girl.

    It has nothing to do with aggressiveness or violence. It has nothing to do with success in business or politics. It has nothing to do with working out in the gym.

    It has to do with the way he thinks, he is clear minded and unconfused about who he is, He is a guy.

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