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The word on the street is that the sigma male is the same as an alpha male, only that he possesses more of an introverted personality. Those backing sigma males because of their admirable characteristics stand by their opinion that these two male archetypes are different from each other in many ways.
You’ll discover those differences in alpha male traits that commentators of the socio-sexual hierarchy consider their weak and not strong areas. For example, their controlling behavior in intimate relationships and overall aggressiveness.
By the end of the post, you should be able to appreciate sigma male vs alpha male differences. You might even aspire to adopt the sigma male traits or seek out the guy for a romantic relationship.
What Is a Sigma Male?
According to far-right activist and writer, Theodore Robert Beale, aka Vox Day, who coined the term “sigma male,” the masculine archetype is one who shuns the male dominance hierarchy by choosing to live according to his own convictions.
According to The Adult Man, he’s believed to be the alpha male’s equal, only that he wants nothing to do with the pecking order. His go-it-alone attitude earned him the “lone wolf” title, but it doesn’t interfere with his ability to lead and succeed. Speaking of success, check out the list of 13 Famous Sigma Males who are high achievers. Steve Jobs, Quinten Tarantino, Muhammad Ali, Bruce Lee, and Tom Cruise appear on the roll call.
What Is an Alpha Male?
In the article, The Alpha Male Explained: 9 True Signs You’re an Alpha, the author describes an alpha male, and so-called “leader of the pack” as “…the man at the top of the socio sexual hierarchy, and the archetype that commands the highest level of social and sexual status.” Harvard Business Review describes him as “bold, self-confident, and demanding.” Albeit, those traits are largely responsible for his success.
Immediately below the alpha male in the pecking order is the beta male, followed by the delta, gamma, and omega archetypes. In terms of dominance level, the sigma male should appear second, below alpha.
However, Beale and other members of the masculinist subculture agree that sigmas’ rightful place is outside of the hierarchy, because of their unique attributes resembling a balance of positive alpha and beta male traits.
How do Sigma Males Approach Romantic Relationships?
Sigma males can be elusive, which can make it hard to capture their hearts. Some relationship experts that studied them go as far as to say they have a fear of commitment.
The thing is, they dislike playing games with people’s feelings and will instead take their time to fall in love or commit. They value serious relationships and whenever they decide to commit, know they’re in for the long haul.
In addition, they “bring honesty and loyalty to the table and value the same in their partners,” according to Marriage.com. Notwithstanding, their innate ‘lone wolf’ tendencies push them to spend a lot of time alone.
Solitude allows them to process, brainstorm, strategize, and make well-thought-out rather than irrational decisions.
As their partner, you’ll need to understand and support them. Neediness and clinginess in a relationship may push them away. Naturally then, sigma males will seek out partners that are independent, confident, and self-reliant as they are.
What about alpha males?
Women adore and admire alpha men too because of their take-charge attitude, power, prowess, and social influence. The alpha male is a natural-born leader and provides a strong supporting arm to his partner.
However, women like me who are or were married to an alpha male, may agree that those same traits often make them difficult to deal with. That’s in addition to their controlling, attention-seeking, and sometimes narcissistic tendencies.
Altogether, understanding the sigma male’s motivation and limits can make emotional bonding easier if you’re dating or married to one.
11 Important Differences between Sigma Male vs Alpha Male
Male types on the socio-sexual pyramid tend to have overlapping traits, although some stand out more than others. In explaining the differences between sigma and alpha males, I’m going to focus more on sigma male characteristics that make them more successful and likable in their personal and professional lives, compared to alpha males.
1. The sigma male is introverted unlike the outgoing alpha
This confident guy lives his life mostly in solitude and doesn’t concern himself with standing out in a crowd—even though he gets noticed anyway because of his enigmatic persona. His reserved characteristic is in keeping with his introverted personality. This doesn’t always equate to shyness or a lack of social skills.
The tendency is driven more by a natural desire to mingle in his own thoughts and feelings rather than looking for stimulation through social connection.
In fact, sigma males don’t follow the crowd and seek out social attention to feel validated or worthy as seen with alpha males. While they welcome a team and appreciate help or insight from others, they are okay going it alone.
In regard to alpha males, you can spot them from a mile away. They’re quite outgoing, social, bold, and talkative. Staying socially connected fills them up and gives them the opportunity to be seen and heard.
2. He’s dominant although not as dominant as alpha males
Alpha males are celebrated for being strong and dominant and possessing great leadership qualities. Those attributes earned them a place at the top of the hierarchy.
Sigmas have similar attributes but aren’t considered as dominant, mainly due to their quiet, reserved nature. They can take charge and get things done just the same but without needing to be loud or bossy; hence they’re described as “silent leaders.”
While male dominance is seen as a plus, it can turn people off when it goes into the realm of demanding or overbearing. Not everyone enjoys being dominated.
Alpha males are sometimes unable to tame their dominance over their romantic partners, partly due to a lack of awareness of how their behavior affects others. Being too dominant and controlling increases the chance of quarrels in relationships or a lack of motivation by those under their leadership.
3. He’s confident like the alpha male but not cocky
You might agree that self-confidence can be sexy and both alphas and sigmas possess this trait. Women are immediately drawn to both male types because of it, but they eventually realize the subtle distinction between the two in this regard is the cockiness displayed by the alpha.
Unlike alphas, sigmas don’t feel the need to extol themselves in order to prove that they are good-looking, intelligent, successful, capable, or right. They’re aware that their personality shines through and allow people to discover them over time.
Not being excessively proud of themselves tends to give them an edge over alpha males in the self-confidence department.
4. He doesn’t conform to societal rules as his alpha counterpart
One of the most attractive things about the sigma male is that he knows what he wants and how to achieve it. Alpha males are like this as well, but they tend to get things through exerting their masculinity and dominance over others.
Believing in his ability to succeed despite challenges that may confront him, the sigma male reckons he doesn’t need to boss people around. He is also not wired to follow rules set by others.
Societal rules are a form of restriction, and he doesn’t like doing things by the book or feeling boxed in. He needs a lot of freedom to move and act how he desires. Having that leeway motivates him to reach his highest potential and live life on his own terms.
On the other hand, the alpha male is a conformist. He recognizes his position at the top of the hierarchy and feels obligated to behave the way society expects him to in order to keep his status.
5. He thrives in solitude whereas the alpha male needs social stimulation
I suspect that being alone in the quietness of his own thoughts might make the alpha male uncomfortable. Understandably so, they are wired for sound and stimulation of all their senses.
They get this through socializing and being front and center as much as possible. Not the sigma male. He doesn’t like the limelight and typically craves solitude. In solitude, he’s able to collect his thoughts and contemplate his next moves.
Make no mistake; he’s not sitting there feeling sorry for himself. The guy enjoys his own company and is happy being by himself. If it’s a guy who is outgoing and loud, it’s more than likely an alpha.
He’s a practical, get-out-and-get-things-done person who makes quick, solid decisions without needing to do too much thinking like sigma males.
6. He’s flexible instead of rigid like the alpha male
When it comes to sigma male vs alpha male, their ability to press and ease makes them much more likable. As such, employees tend to prefer them as a boss over the alpha that can be aggressive and overly authoritative.
Because of their emotional intelligence, sigma males are better able to adapt to changes and know how to get people to do things without yelling, intimidating, or manipulating them.
They give you your space and trust you to perform without breathing down your neck or micromanaging the situation. Alpha males are considered good leaders because of their decisiveness and pushy attitude. However, being their partner or employee can start feeling a bit oppressive even though they don’t intend to come across that way.
7. He’s assertive while the alpha is more aggressive
Because sigma males are confident, they have no trouble asserting their needs in a healthy and socially acceptable way. As much as they are easygoing, they won’t feel shy to inform you when you cross a personal boundary.
Remember they thrive in their personal space and are very protective of that. They aren’t likely to behave aggressively or violently towards you though, mainly because they strive to keep the peace.
Alpha males are described as more aggressive and demanding than assertive, competitive, and relentless in nature, and may unintentionally escalate situations as a result. To be fair, aggressiveness can be a positive thing, for example, when negotiating business deals. In relationships, however, the behavior can spark conflict and drive loved ones away.
8. He doesn’t try to dominate the conversation like the alpha male
One of the things I disliked about my alpha male ex was that he likes to hear himself. He couldn’t truly “hear” me and therefore was unable to grasp and meet my needs because he wasn’t actively listening to me.
He, like other alphas, is focused on getting his turn to speak—mostly about himself and how much he knows.
You’ll also notice this arrogant behavior in competitive and narcissistic individuals who dominate the conversation to maintain control.
Experts agree that the sigma male best demonstrates the art of listening. He’ll hear you out, offer feedback, and show that he understands how you feel, also called empathetic listening. He makes you feel loved and valued.
9. He’s highly self-aware while the alpha male struggles with emotional intelligence
Self-awareness and, overall, emotional intelligence in men tend to make them much better employees, partners, and friends. The sigma male exhibits self-awareness through his ability to listen intently and offer emotional support and security. He’s also able to understand, process, and regulate his own emotions and feelings, as well as his behavior.
Apparently, alpha males are too caught up in go-getting and dominating others that they fail to take the time to self-introspect or consider the feelings of others. Failing to do the deep inner work often causes them to make the same mistake multiple times in their professional and personal life.
10. His enigma attracts women whereas the alpha male enjoys the thrill of the chase
While both the alpha and sigma male are charismatic and charming, it’s the sigmas that have a way of hooking women without doing too much. The secret is in their enigma. Think of them as men who are alluring and naturally pique the interest of women with their mysterious demeanor.
With alpha males, you almost know what you’re going to get. He’s outgoing and talkative, and may even fish for compliments for self-reassurance from others. There isn’t much curiosity left, since they're an open book and actively chase after women.
11. He shies away from commitment but not alpha males
As much as sigma males are adored for being charming and in tune with the feelings and needs of others, they can be difficult to pin down. Commitment is something they avoid unless they weigh their minds for a long time and are convinced you are the one.
So, chances are you’ll be waiting in the wings for a longer time than usual, compared to if you’re dating an alpha male. This guy is highly self-assured, bold, and secure, and chases after what he wants. He’s big on expressing himself, so you won’t have to guess where things are going.
Final Thoughts on Sigma Male vs Alpha Male Differences
Alpha males are positioned at the top of the masculinity hierarchy. They are thought to have easier access to power, money, and partners. However, they achieve these through physical prowess, domination, and intimidation.
Sigma males can achieve the same without going that route and with less effort. In fact, many women may prefer sigmas as partners over the alpha male, attributing it to their quiet self-confidence and amiable attributes.
And trust me, because of this, a vast majority of men will aspire to be more like their sigma counterparts. If you’re one of them, read this article on 11 Steps to Be More of a Sigma Male.
Finally, if you want to identify YOUR personality type, then take one of these 11 personality tests to better understand what makes you tick.