The five male archetypes: Everything you need to know

Have you ever heard about the five male archetypes?

Don’t worry if you haven’t, you will find out everything you need to know in today’s article!

What are the five male archetypes?

Basically, the five male archetypes offer a social and sexual status hierarchy by which men can be categorized.

You have most likely heard about the top of the pyramid – the alpha male.

However, what you might not be aware of is that there are in fact 5 different archetypes.

  • Alpha
  • Beta
  • Sigma
  • Delta
  • Gamma

Don’t worry, we’ll get into each one of them in more detail in a second.

You might be asking yourself: “Why should I learn about male archetypes?”

Turns out this knowledge can come in quite handy!

When you, yourself are from the male gender, studying the male archetypes will help you determine which one you resonate with the most.

This knowledge will in turn give you a greater understanding of your life, relationships, and patterns and help you grow and evolve as a person.

If, on the other hand, you are not male, then this concept will help you with all your interactions with the male gender.

In relationships you will understand your partner (given he is male, of course) much better and you might also find out which archetype you are most attracted to.

So, you see, this article will come in handy no matter what! So let’s dive into all of the archetypes in more detail, shall we?

The alpha male

We have all heard it – the stigma around the alpha male. But how much of that is accurate? And how does the alpha male fit into the socio-sexual hierarchy?

What is an alpha male?

Alpha males are at the top of the socio-sexual hierarchy and therefore rever in the highest level of social and sexual status.

Just as you might expect, the alpha male is the kind of man other men look up to and strive to be.

This archetype is also prone to be desired by most women.

What are alpha male characteristics?

Now: are you or is someone you know an alpha male?

The alpha male shows the following characteristics:

1) Self-respect

This is probably the most important trait of an alpha male and the foundation of his personality.

Self-respect does not equal egoistic macho man, though.

In fact, the muscle man puffing himself up is more often than not the exact opposite of an alpha.

Alphas don’t need to intimidate others in order not to feel threatened. They are aware of their inherent worth.

Self-respect for an alpha male means:

  • Valuing their time and that of others
  • Putting forth quality work
  • Listening to others and giving them full attention
  • Giving their honest opinion while acknowledging when they don’t know something
  • Recognizing the intrinsic value in themselves and others

2) They don’t believe in failure

For a true alpha male, the concept of failure doesn’t exist.

Now don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean they are all-capable beings that never make mistakes.

You see, alpha males make just as many mistakes as you and me, but their mindset is what sets them apart from others.

For an alpha, they either win or they learn.

Challenges are embraced rather than avoided, because an alpha knows that if you never face a challenge, you never truly know yourself.

3) Great physique, but not for the reason you think

When you picture an alpha male, I’m sure you have some sort of washboard abs and generally great physical condition in mind.

You’re not wrong, but alpha males don’t have their great physique solely to be more attractive.

Turns out alpha males are prone to be more active, which in turn has an impact on their physique, of course.

But they also have a different motivation for their level of activity.

Alpha males know that their body is their vehicle for moving through this world and experience things.

Keeping it in prime conditions assures that they have the best experience of life possible.

4) Courageous

By now it should come as no surprise that alpha men tend to be on the courageous side.

However, we need to make an important distinction here:

Alpha men might be courageous, but that doesn’t mean that they are completely fearless or don’t understand the consequences of their actions.

In other words, they are aware of the challenges ahead of them, but they are brave enough to go out and meet them.

This ties back in with their approach to failure. They aren’t afraid to fail because they know it will be a learning experience.

With this kind of thinking, alpha males manage to take justifiable risks and seem extremely courageous to others.

The Beta male

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Beta males are often referred to as the “lieutenants” of the hierarchy. This is due to their fierce loyalty to their alphas.

Oftentimes, being a beta male is not seen as a desirable goal, but betas enjoy lots of benefits of their status and position and play a crucial role, as well.

What is a Beta male?

Beta males are usually the second-in-command when it comes to the socio-sexual hierarchy.

Usually, a beta male is easily distinguishable by their constant proximity to the alpha.

Turns out betas are very proactive. They are the enforcers of the hierarchy.

Their loyalty to the alpha male also makes them accessible to all the status, success, women, and respect that alpha males enjoy.

What are beta male characteristics?

If you’re wondering whether or not you might be a beta male, let’s take a closer look at some beta male characteristics.

1) They are loyal

Their loyalty is probably a beta’s most apparent trait. Putting importance on loyalty and commitment is what sets a beta male apart from others.

Loyalty for beta males is not only limited to their alpha, however. It extends out to their friends, partners, colleagues, and anyone else.

Sometimes, that can lead them to get jealous more easily in relationships.

2) They are not natural leaders

While the alpha is a prime example of a natural leaders, betas are born to follow.

You see, that doesn’t have to be a bad thing at all, especially when they embrace it and seek out their many other qualities.

Beta males are great at being led and like the fact that this allows them to avoid conflict.

By no means are betas pushovers, but they know their place and are okay with it.

3) They are extremely friendly

When you think of a friendly man, betas will immediately spring to mind.

They are among the friendliest of archetypes and will help out wherever they can.

For example, a beta man will:

  • Help you out even when he has problems of his own
  • Show up for you in a heartbeat when you need him
  • Take care of everyone else

Now, the only issue here is that some beta men forget to put themselves first.

They take care of everyone and forget their own wellbeing in the process.

So, if you are a beta male, take this as your sign to think of yourself more often.

4) They don’t like taking risks

On the contrary to alpha males, betas are generally risk-averse.

The consequences of their actions are constantly on their minds before they ever go through with something.

For example, when asking a beta male out for drinks, he will most probably evaluate first that he needs to get up early for work the next day etc. before even considering the offer.

5) They are reserved

You see, due to their reserved nature, beta males tend to have a hard time opening up about their opinions.

They care about what other people think and therefore hold back on their ideas to avoid conflict.

Asking for their true opinion might not work, as they would do anything to avoid hurting your feelings.

The Sigma Male

Alpha and Beta are quite widely know, but have you ever heard of the sigma male?

Let’s take a closer look at this archetype.

What is a sigma male?

Simply put, a sigma male spends his life outside of the social hierarchy and structures.

Their general traits resemble those of an alpha, with the only exception that they don’t adhere to social norms and standards.

This characteristic is what sets them apart from all the other archetypes and makes them truly unique and special.

And the good news? They choose to live that way, they aren’t forced to.

What are the characteristics of a sigma male?

Maybe you’re asking yourself if you might be a sigma male after all.

Let’s take a look at what traits make up this archetype!

1) Non-Conformity

This has got to be the most “sigma” trait of them all. A true sigma male does not conform to others, and instead chooses to march to the beat of his own drum.

He’s the black sheep, the fish swimming against the current.

But why is that?

The reason sigma males like to do things differently vary greatly.

On the one hand, they simply have different values than other men.

For instance, while others prioritize how society perceives them, sigma males couldn’t care less.

To put it simply, their decisions are made based on the intrinsic value that they want to pursue, not the extrinsic value that’s placed on them by society.

2) Independence

Self-sufficiency is a big thing for sigma males, and for good reason.

After all, you can’t separate yourself from society when you can’t “survive” on your own.

It comes as no surprise that this archetype therefore loves to travel.

Some might not even own a home of themselves, relying solely on the items in their backpack.

You can probably imagine that sigmas are often perceived as the “lone wolves”.

Taking care of themselves is something they are really good at.

Best of all, they have the ability to go after what they want, and when they need something, they are able to find a way to get it.

3) They thrive with or without society

From all the previous points you might get the idea that sigmas are always social “outcasts”, traveling the world and not fitting into society as we know it.

That’s not always the case, however.

In fact, sigma males are perfectly capable of having a normal job with a boss, having a family and friends.

The difference is that sigmas will never be reliant on these things in order to live and be happy.

So, whether you take social hierarchy away from them or not, they create their own life and thrive either way.

4) Adaptability

As you can probably imagine, sigma males are great at adapting to all kinds of situations in a heartbeat.

However, we need to distinguish between adaptation and assimilation here. Sigmas adapt, they don’t assimilate.

For other people, sigmas can appear to be completely assimilated in society, when in reality, they are simply really good at adapting temporarily.

When a sigma male does decide to assimilate, it usually has nothing to do with his social standing due to that decision, and more because of personal values that result in this assimilation.

The Delta male

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Delta males are the most common archetype in the hierarchy. Although average, they make up the backbone of society as we know it.

Let’s look at the “average Joe” archetype and find out the special attributes it has.

What is the delta male?

Most easily distinguished as the “normal, average guy”, delta males are the ones who do their jobs, make contributions to society and feel proud of said contributions.

The good news? This is the archetype that has the biggest potential of evolution.

Deltas move up and down the hierarchy-ladder as they work on themselves or as the hierarchy changes.

It’s true, a delta can ascend to beta rank or even become an alpha, given that he is motivated enough!

What are Delta male characteristics?

The delta male has many characteristics of his own that make him unique.

Whether he chooses to evolve is up to him, but let’s take a look at some good traits that this archetype presents:

1) They get work done

A delta man will show up and clock in day after day. He is the one that actually gets the work done.

In terms of workplace hierarchies, you can assume you are the delta in that environment if you come to clock in every day and aren’t the owner of the company.

The good news? Deltas are really productive and can do what they’re told to do.

2) Competence

Work is important to delta males, and they like the fact that they are competent at what they do.

Doing a good job is important to this archetype.

When their environment doesn’t allow this, for example by having unrealistic and impossible working conditions, deltas tend to feel no more passion and leave.

On the other hand, when they can do a good job deltas take huge pride in their work and thrive off of it.

3) Not a leader

If you think that everybody wants to be a leader, think again.

Deltas are not ambitious in that regard. They want to clock in, do their work, go home and spend their free time pursuing hobbies or other things that help them escape.

When being treated with respect, receiving a fair compensation and getting recognition for their work, deltas are happy.

4) They aren’t interested in the alpha

You might remember how hyper-focused beta males can be on their alphas. Gamma males (we’ll talk about them in a minute) are not much different.

Deltas, on the other hand, couldn’t care less about pleasing an alpha.

They respect them and the way they hold up a strong hierarchy, but they aren’t keen on putting in extra effort just to be in an alpha’s good book.

5) They want to be respected

For all their hard work and contribution, the one thing deltas really want is respect.

This is an important part of the hierarchy, by the way.

Even though often seen as “avergage”, deltas are the ones who bring the most value when it comes to work.

Because of that, leaders or managers are wise to give proper respect to their deltas.

The Gamma male

The gamma male is not as widely known as some of the other archetypes.

Gammas are beneath alphas, betas, and deltas in the socio-sexual hierarchy.

Let’s look at why that is!

What is a gamma male?

Gamma males are usually very intellectual. On top of that, they tend to be on the romantic side and are driven by their ideology.

Although on the lower status position of the hierarchy, gamma males strive to be leaders and can often get jealous of alphas and betas for their rank.

What are gamma male characteristics?

What makes a gamma male?

If you have a suspicion that you or someone you know might be a gamma male, let’s dive into some common gamma male characteristics.

1) Intelligence

What sets gamma males apart from the rest is definitely their intelligence.

No matter what they choose to focus on, they will become experts in that field.

Usually, this entails anyone who is an expert at one or two skills.

2) The nice guys

Gamma males are known for their kindness and empathy.

They go out of their way to treat other people well and are excellent at detecting other’s feelings.

Turns out that’s not always a good thing, as it often puts them into the friendzone with women.

The good news? Gamma male’s friendships are most often impeccable.

Their kindness makes them highly susceptible to criticism and praise.

Of course, they love to be praised by others, but any criticism, even if it’s constructive, is taken to heart by this archetype.

As you can probably imagine, this inability to accept criticism stems from a lack of self-confidence.

They need others to feel validated.

3) The Romeos of society

Gammas make friends easily. What they struggle with is attracting women.

This has to do with them often being perceived as less “sexy” by society.

So, if you need a stereotypical picture of a hopeless romantic – gamma males are it!

Needless to say, when they to have a female prospect they don’t shy away from grand romantic gestures.

4) They are prone to delusions

An interesting attribute of the gamma male is that they are prone to delusions which help them cope with the fact that they are on a lower level in the hierarchy.

Simply put, in the minds of gammas, they often create a false sense of reality around their life that makes up for the fact that they get rejected a lot.

As an example, they might see themselves as the alpha, and rationalize their reality by believing that the others are simply too unintelligent to realize how genius they are.

What do these archetypes mean for you?

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I’m sure you’re thinking “What does this mean for me?”

Well, first of all it’s important to note that, although some of these archetypes are more desirable than others, that doesn’t change the inherent worth of any of them.

Don’t feel bad about yourself if you happen to recognize yourself in a more average or less desirable archetype.

Instead, look at the silver lining:

Now that you know where you are at, you can understand your reality better.

This will, in turn, help you make improvements to your life!

Can you change your archetype?

The short answer is: Yes!

Over time, as you evolve, progress, and grow, you can actually change your own archetype.

The best thing about it?

There are no limits as to how high you can go!

Everyone can be an alpha if they are motivated and driven enough to do the work that is required.

Generally, you should always strive to be better without dismissing who you already are.

Find out which archetype speaks the most to you. Not everyone wants to be an alpha, and that’s more than okay!

Which archetype resonates with you? Look at their traits and start working on changing yourself to become more like that archetype.

Even if you are happy where you are right now, there is always room to improve.

I like the quote “You are a work in progress and a masterpiece all at the same time.”

Treat yourself as such!

Which archetype are you?

Have you recognized yourself in any of these archetypes?

There are quizzes online you can take to figure out your specific archetype, as well.

No matter where you are in your journey right now, you are exactly where you need to be.

And the best thing is that your fate lies entirely in your own hands.

So: if you want to evolve, the only person holding you back is yourself!

Take responsibility for your own life and make a change if you aren’t happy with where you’re at right now.

Picture of Anna Scheucher

Anna Scheucher

Freelance writer specializing in holistic health, wellness, and psychology. Check out my blog to find out more!

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