General Question

Indiana_Bones's avatar

How can I be more "alpha"?

Asked by Indiana_Bones (209points) September 20th, 2011

This may be somewhat long, so please bear with me. This is in regards to something that has been bothering me for a long time, and I figured the relatively understanding Fluther community would be able to offer some insight to me.

Basically, I am very much a “beta” male, and I’m sick of it. To understand what I mean, I’ll offer some context:

I’m a male (obviously), age 21, and I was raised by a single mother and from a very early age, I was taught to always be courteous to women and that most, if not all men are abusive scumbags. I never had a real strong male figure in my life growing up. Essentially, I have grown up to be extremely passive, guilt-ridden, and accommodating, and my codependent family knows that they can use guilt and my eagerness to please to get anything they want from me.

Now that I’m nearly done with college, this sort of persona I have developed has been defined by my friends. To them, specifically my male friends, who are almost universally strong, cool, tall, and uber confident, I am a dyed in the wool beta male. I was skeptical, at first. Aren’t we human beings, who are beyond such pack animal psychology? The more this persona of mine was validated, the more I started to believe it. It wasn’t just my group of suave college friends that called me beta, but multiple disparate groups, which cemented in my mind that it isn’t just the people I hang out with, but it is really something about me.

I asked my “alpha” male friends for advice, and they told me I need to start acting more aloof, detached, and disinterested. I tried this for a while, and the reactions I got were along the lines of “why are you such an asshole now, Indy? You were so sweet before…” Basically, mimicking what makes them liked and gets them dates failed miserably for me.

With all this in mind, I should note that I’m often told that I’m very attractive and interesting, but as soon as I make a move, I’m usually rejected, but with the qualifier that I’d “make a great husband.” Numerous girls have told me this… that one day girls will “stop being stupid” and “realize how awesome a stable guy like [me] is.” And then they go back to dating their last boyfriend who beat them.

Every. Damn. Time.

The girlfriends I have had almost universally complain that I am too accommodating, and that I don’t offer any “challenge” or “difficulty,” which is ostensibly the spice of modern relationships. They’ve complained that I don’t try and fight with them and that this is a clear sign of a lack of passion.

“But you’d be the perfect husband…” they still say.

This pattern has been repeated over and over again and I’m sick of it. I’m sick of being told how beta I am, I’m sick of having to speak loudly just to get people to listen to me, and I’m sick of being told I’d make the perfect theoretical husband once girls are “done being stupid and fucking around with abusive men.”

It’s disgusting. My self-esteem is in shambles. I have zero self-confidence, and I’m starting to spiral into self-loathing. I figure that the only way I can adapt is if I really figure out what it means to be “alpha” so maybe people will start respecting me as opposed to treating me like their doormat.

So, Jellies, I ask you:

How can I become “alpha?”

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

48 Answers

JilltheTooth's avatar

I’m thinking this is the last thing you want to hear so of course I’ll say it anyway, sorry but has it occurred to you to date a different type of girl? Being over-eager really doesn’t work with most girls, but the kinds of girls that are attracted to the “cool bad boys” are not the kinds of girls that are attracted to the guy you describe yourself to be. Urban mythology notwithstanding, many many girls like mature stable nice guys. And most girls don’t like guys who put on a false face to pretend to be something they’re not.

Told ya you wouldn’t like it

Indiana_Bones's avatar

@JilltheTooth the thing is, I have dated and tried to date a rather broad spectrum of girls of varying levels of maturity. Everything from college sophomores to urbane and sophisticated graduate students, and the result has been more or less the same. I can’t really identify any unifying trend in my “types” aside from the whole “lolz ur a gud husband” spiel.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Start studying different kinds of girls than the ones you’ve known. If you have to, write down what it is about each girl you’ve been attracted to that you notice right off, then whatever things contrary to your what you liked initially you leaned later into the friendship. Start mentally naming things red flags/caution/bad and green flags/positive/learn more.

Indiana_Bones's avatar

@Neizvestnaya I’ve considered this in the past, but never really gone into any real depth with it. Perhaps I should, and there is something I’m missing. Thank you.

FutureMemory's avatar

What an interesting question.

It’s true that women don’t like spineless, overly-accommodating men. An ex girlfriend of mine once complained that when her new boyfriend and her fought, he would eventually say “just tell me what you want me to do/say!”. She said “At least you could say ‘hey, fuck you’ to me. He’s so spineless, ugh!”

I think it’s important though not to confuse having a backbone with being a jerk. A man (or woman) can have a strong personality without being abusive. Once you lose sight of that distinction it’s more about manipulation than anything else.

There are many books on the subject. A lot of them are complete garbage, but some have good information and insight into the male psyche. You’ll have to spend some time wading through a lot of crap to find the good info.

I’ve read some of Mike Pilinski’s stuff and he’s pretty good. He’s one of these self-styled “seduction guru’s”, but don’t let that discourage you. A lot of his advice can be applied to your day to day life, and is useful to both men and women.

Without Embarrassment

Ivan's avatar

Date whores and beat them, duh.

Or, date girls who like you for who you are.

Indiana_Bones's avatar

@FutureMemory I actually had that very conversation with my long term ex who I was with for three years in highschool. I’d ask her what she wanted from me and she said the same thing. After she broke up with me, her new boyfriend sexually abused her and I wound up taking care of her. She apologized for ever saying anything abusive to me and told me she was proud of the man I became. It was all very surreal.

And thank you very much for the link. My pseudo-sister has sent me dozens of “overcoming your beta-ness” articles and books over the past year or two, and most of them have been bullshit, but I’ll take your word for it with this one since you clearly know what you are talking about. Thank you, kind sir.

@Ivan, easier said than done.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@Indiana_Bones: What have you got to lose except getting snagged again and again in go-nowhere scenarios?

plethora's avatar

The fact that you realize you are “beta” is a good sign that you are not, in spite of a mother who trained you to be such. Mother’s can be bitches, especially when there is no Alpha male in the house. Alpha males should be courteous, but they should also leave no doubt as to who is in charge. You might consider testosterone treatments. Some men are just low on testosterone. The big “T” might be very helpful to you. Go to a facility that implants the stuff in your hip, not the weenies who want you to smear some cream on your chest.

The book suggested by @Future Memory looks good, just from the contents

Indiana_Bones's avatar

@plethora I know for a fact that I’m not low on testosterone. I’m hairy as fuck and actually in above average shape and my sex drive is normal. I think this is much more psychological than physical, but thank you for your input.

filmfann's avatar

To begin, you don’t ask people how to be more alpha. You just do it.
Sit down, shut up and listen.
To be alpha, you need to be assurtive. Don’t tell me it’s spelled assertive. I do what I want.
Now give me lurve, bitch.

Indiana_Bones's avatar

@filmfann No. Earn you own damn lurve, dickhead~

Did I pass the test?

Kayak8's avatar

Therapy seems like a really good idea. In one-on-one therapy you can present what you have presented here and someone who has been trained to guide you through an exploration of your Alpha-Beta-ness can help you sort out which of your personal traits you like and wish to keep as essential parts of you and which you want to re-evaluate. For those you choose to re-evaluate, there is quite a continuum of new behaviors you can explore until you find what makes you comfortable in your own skin with your self-esteem intact.

You can create an opportunity to separate out your Mom’s belief system (and those of friends, girlfriends, other family, etc.) from the values you choose to keep for yourself. By the way, this is developmentally normal for someone your age . . .

Indiana_Bones's avatar

@Kayak8 I’ve certainly considered it. I went to therapy when I was 18 or so because of some severe anxiety bullshit and it nearly bankrupted my family. Any suggestions for options?

Kayak8's avatar

@Indiana_Bones Almost every community has some sliding scale therapists who will work with you. Particularly now that you are 21, it will be based on your income more likely than that of family. If you are in college, most schools have similar resources.

nikipedia's avatar

Let me get the mean stuff out of the way: I think the girls who tell you they want a “challenge” or that you’d make a great husband are letting you down easy. No one wants to say, “I’m rejecting you because I don’t like your personality.” It’s a lot easier to soften the blow—“you’d be the perfect husband!” is in the same category as “it’s not you, it’s me!” (Hint: it is you.)

I think you are probably not helping yourself out much by framing this as an alpha/beta issue, because (as some people pointed out above) it is leading you to think that there are two categories of guys: abusive assholes who have girlfriends, and nice guys like you who don’t.

This is not accurate. There are plenty of nice guys with girlfriends, and abusive assholes without. The girls I have known who stayed with abusive partners were not there because they really dug the guy.

You say yourself you are having self-confidence issues. What can you do to fix those (that doesn’t depend on girls wanting to date you)? How are you meeting girls? What do you have in your life that you’re passionate about? What do you have to offer your future girlfriend? What will she gain by being with you, or how will dating you expand her and open her up to new things?

And I agree with @Kayak8 about counseling. Are you in school? Do you have insurance? If not, can you tell me your geographical location, either here or in a private message? Finding free/sliding scale counseling is a very solvable problem.

shirleylopez's avatar

I believe you first must find yourself. Learn to accept and love yourself. If you know your worth, then you will give value to it and be confident. The question is what makes you happy? Look for those things that can make you happy instead of that dream of being an Alpha. It is possible that you are already an Alpha, but you don’t even realize it because you are too busy looking at others. Look deep within yourself. With what you said in this thread, for me you are okay. Don’t worry too much of the right girl for you, it will come at the the right time. Just be yourself and do not try to be somebody you are not. Honesty to yourself and to others is the best policy. Hope this helped. Cheers.

plethora's avatar

@nikipedia ‘s advice above is very good.

What do you have in your life that you’re passionate about? What do you have to offer your future girlfriend? What will she gain by being with you, or how will dating you expand her and open her up to new things?

I would sum up this particular portion, however, without so much reference to what the girl will gain by being with you. Both men and women like a partner who “has a life”. Not so much as to have something to offer, but “a life” which defines the person. What are you passionate about…...just for yourself?

Indiana_Bones's avatar

@shirleylopez thank you kindly. That means quite a bit.

@plethora well, I like to box, I like reading, I’ve written a novel or two, I like hiking and kayaking and that sort of thing, I volunteer a lot, and I really love history, for starters.

CaptainHarley's avatar


You’ve been given some pretty good advice here, so I’ll try to not be repetitive.

I can identify with you because we come from somewhat similar backgrounds. I was raised to age 12 by my paternal grandparents, primarily my grandmother, who taught me always to respect women and be kind to them. My grandfather wasn’t a very good rolemodel, since he was retired and an alcoholic. In middle school and high school, I was very shy around girls, and was a bit of a nerd. It wasn’t until I got to college that I realized I could be anyone I wanted to be. It was then that I started to remake myself.

Some things I learned along the way:

Body english is important. Stand up straight, look people in the eye, smile, use a firm handshake.

Develop the ability to make people think that they have your undivided attention, that you are listening to what they say. The process of pretending to listen will convert to the ability to listen, which is always a good thing.

Practice self-development. Pursue those things you love, and when asked, share them with others.

Always strive to be honest and caring and sincere, and above all, strive to become the best “you” you can be. Then, when you meet someone who likes the sort of man you’ve become, you’ll be in great position to pursue the relationship wherever it may lead.

Just as an asside, you might try cultivating the ability to “not-give-a-shit.” Use this very sparingly and only with yourself. Never TELL anyone you don’t give a shit, but having the ability to use it can give you behaviors which some others have told you means “aloof, detached, disinterested.”

Keep in mind that you are simply changing behaviors in most instances, not the basic “you.” I’m sure you really WILL make some young woman supremely happy someday, but the broader your repitoir of behaviors, the more “tools” in your toolbox.

Good luck, my friend, and God bless! : ))

Buttonstc's avatar

I’m going to use the tried and true wisdom of Shakespeare to get across the main point.

“To thine own self be true and it shall follow as the night follows the day that thou canst not be false to any…”

Your basic issue is that you aren’t really sure “who” your true “own self” actually is.

Once you are comfortable in your own skin and the principles for which you stand (not those of your mother) this will give you the inner confidence to be yourself in the world regardless of who accepts or rejects you.

Trying to do it artificially by trying to imitate what you perceive as Alpha males (some of whom may merely be thoughtless, self centered abusive boors) is not getting you the results you want because it’s EXTERNAL rather than internal and comes across as phony.

The most efficient way to really know yourself is through therapy. There are affordable ways to accomplish this that won’t cost what it previously did for the reasons already mentioned. It wont be free. There will still be a small cost but you are worth it.

The most important knowledge you can get at this point in your life is self knowledge. A good therapist can ask you the kinds of thoughtful questions that will lead you on this path of discovery It will enable you to walk confidently through this world.

That inner confidence will attract people to you. This is what women will respond to and eventually the right one will come along.

But you need to be comfortable with yourself before you can realistically expect someone else to be comfortable with you. Don’t put the cart before the horse.

I’m also a fan of the right type of self help books to gain insight. Not as a substitute for therapy but in addition to. You need feedback from an objective third party who is trained to do this for a living.

It can be a tremendous help to your future. Make an investment in yourself. You won’t regret it.

wundayatta's avatar

I suppose you could fill a decade trying out all the different advice you are getting. Frankly, I think most of it is beside the point.

The point is that you can try this and try that and in then it is only going to be time that helps. You have to try stuff on your own, and you should decide what you want to do, but it needs to be your solution, not what someone else says. This is because only you know what will work for you.

It could be a long time. And you may despair, but you know what? It’ll take a long time anyway. There are no “tricks” to relationships, unless you want a tricky relationship where people play lots of games.

Fuggedaboutit. Continue to do what is natural to you. Stop trying to pretend to be someone else. I used to try that and it never worked. I tried it to get girls and I tried it to get jobs and it never worked.

What worked was giving up. Every time I finally gave up going for what I wanted (a real giving up, not pretend), I got it. A girlfriend would show up once I got so discouraged I couldn’t think about it any more.

The other thing you can do, besides giving up, is put yourself in a place to meet people. I don’t mean a bar. I mean join book groups or work at a book store or a cafe or coffee bar. If you play an instrument, then play in times when there are no customers around. Just do what you do.

The women will find you. They always do. And when they do, be nice. Be the person you are. Don’t pretend to be an asshole or someone dynamic. You can only carry that off if it is real

I wanted to be a bad boy all my life. I believe that the bad boys get all the girls. But I did all right without being a bad boy. Later on, it turned out I was dangerous, but that was mental illness. I don’t recommend that as a way to get girls. It’s very dangerous.

What I found was that the internet was a godsend. They don’t have to be turned off by seeing me first. They can listen to my voice and make up anything they want and by the time they do see me, it doesn’t matter. They are already in love with their idea of me—an idea that gets past my weaknesses.

Anyway. I’d do stuff I liked. I’d hang out and talk on places like fluther. I’d be patient and I’d give up finding someone. I would stop trying, if I could. It will happen.

cockswain's avatar

I can give you a good tip that worked for me: take some kind of martial arts at a school that has sparring. Ideally a school that will make you be a member for a while before you start sparring so you don’t get discouraged by the ass-beating you’d otherwise get.

Seriously. Get in a good school and punch a bunch of people in the face. I’m not kidding at all. At first, you shy away from a punch and cover up. Eventually, you see that punch coming and you get a really satisfying bad ass feeling when you learn to step towards and just to the side of that punch so you can deliver the counter-attack. That directly teaches you how to face down fear and other problems in life.

Personally I liked Shaolin Kung Fu, but it gets a little mystical in parts. Maybe just find a good MMA school. It gave me a confidence and aura that attracted way more women to me, even when I wasn’t even thinking about them.

tranquilsea's avatar

I married a beta male who is my alpha. I does happen.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I simply don’t think that being “beta” is your problem. In fact, reading your details, my instinctive response was exactly what @JilltheTooth said.
Of course this isn’t true for everyone, but it appears to be true for most: you have to find just the right balance of nice and not-so-nice in a couple. All of the nice guys I know, tend to date more “alpha” females. All of the nice girls that I know tend to date more “alpha” guys. It isn’t so black and white, though. There is a balance of these traits when you meet the right person.
I really don’t think the problem is you, or your beta-ness. I think the problem is with the women you’re pursuing. I also completely agree that you are going to get nowhere if you don’t work on rebuilding your self confidence. I don’t care who you are, most people are attracted to confidence.

Jellie's avatar

I haven’t read the answers but I’ll say this: You can’t please everyone all the time. Be the person that makes YOU happy inside and stick to that.

atch's avatar

Do two cycles of injectable Sustenon in conjunction with lots of protein. While you are on the Sus, you must eat in grams what you weigh in pounds in protein. Workout at least 4 times a week. Inject twice a week for 18 weeks.

Buttonstc's avatar


I do hope you’re just being facetious.

If not, have you done any reading up on the side effects of anabolic steroids?

atch's avatar

I am well aware of the side effects. The guy wants to be alpha. That is my honest answer. It is the best answer as well. He will get unprecedented muscle gains in a short period of time. He will begin to feel what having high self-esteem is like. It is great. I did it and I feel wonderful. Long term abuse of certain products is known to have serious side effects. Two cycles should be just enough. I am very serious.

answerjill's avatar

As a girl who has typically fallen for the “nice” or “good” guys – not the “bad” ones—here’s my take. My guess is that there are a bunch of females who have been attracted to you. Some of them may have perceived your niceness as “just wanting to be friends.” Sometimes, when a guy is generally good and kind, a girl can’t tell if he is actually interested in her romantically, or if he is just being his usual good guy self, treating her the way that he treats all of humanity. You might need to show some of these women that you really care about them personally and that you see them in a romantic light. How to do this exactly? I’m not sure… But as for me, I’d take the Tom Hanks or the Alan Alda type over some “alpha” any day.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@atch : Did you even read the details? He’s talking a lot more about personality traits than physical ones. How on earth is your solution the “best” one in that case?

Indiana_Bones's avatar

@CaptainHarley thank you very much. This is excellent advice. I have always tried to maintain appropriate body language, but I do need to brush up on my “not-giving-a-shitness” because I really think my state of being a doormat for some people stems from that. Thank you again, sir.

@Buttonstc thank you. I’m consciously trying to make more of an effort to know myself. I feel like I tend to adapt the traits of those around me in order to fit in better, and that has obviously not worked. It’s a natural, yet unhealthy part of being a pleaser, I suppose. Thank you very much for your input.

@wundayatta that’s a really interesting perspective that I think could be very useful to me. I’ve kind of done this in the past with positive results, so it could be worth a shot to try again. Thank you very much.

@cockswain I actually box, and I do a bit of Krav Maga here and there. I should probably brush up, though. I guess I should have been more clear in my details… I’m very confident physically, but not psychologically, and for some reason I’m having a very, very difficult time getting the two to work in tandem.

@tranquilsea that’s actually pretty interesting. I like that perspective.

@ANef_is_Enuf, thank you. I really think you are right. The more I analyze my past relationships, the more I realize that I have a “thing” for really dominant, “alpha” type girls. I never really noticed this before.

@Jellie, I’m really working on that. I have been for years. Thank you for your support.

@atch, um, I’m a boxer, a hiker, an amateur runner, and I lift. As I’ve mentioned before, I am fit and I don’t think I’m unattractive. My lack of self-esteem comes from how I react to people and how I have trouble interpreting their intentions and interacting with them. I’m not going to shoot up steroids. That’s completely unnecessary.

@answerjill, this is exactly what another jelly told me via pm. My sister has told me this too. It’s just the making my intentions clear part that is hard, but I’m going to work on it. Thank you very much.

tranquilsea's avatar

@Indiana_Bones if it helps you any my hubby went full throttle when he decided to woo (and it actually was wooing) me. He had a really tall mountain to climb too as I was taking a long break from dating at that point. He spent months surprising me with one thing or another.

We’ve been married for 17 years now.

cockswain's avatar

@Indiana_Bones I guess I’d say you’re pretty solid and what you wish to be isn’t who you actually are. So the best thing you can do is continue to stay fit and active, and just do things you like. You seem to have a personality that will serve you well for the vast majority of your life, just not at this age. Women will value you far more in the future than now as long as you just keep being yourself. What seems like a weakness now will be a strength in the future if you just become more solid in who and what you are.

I know that sounds super cliche, but women will change from being 21 and attracted to bad boys to having enough of that and wanting someone funny and normal. In all likelihood, you’ll have a beautiful wife in your 30s and some guy you are envious of now will have marital problems.

Everyone is different with different abilities and weaknesses. Part of life is learning what those are and leveraging your strengths while minimizing your weaknesses. Just by the way your write, I can tell you are intelligent and introspective. Give it time.

SpatzieLover's avatar

I much prefer the non-Alpha male type. Know who you are and be you.

CaptainHarley's avatar


You’re very welcome. Wish I could do more to help, but most of this stuff we have to learn on our own by trial and error. There’s some really great lil gal out there for you, you just have to sort through all the frogs first! : )

Indiana_Bones's avatar

@tranquilsea that’s awesome. Congratulations on 17 years!

@cockswain this is what I’ve continually heard, but for some reason it seems more comforting coming from someone like you because you seem pretty wise. I really appreciate it.

@SpatzieLover it’s rough, but I’m getting there!

@CaptainHarley sounds like a challenge, but I’m up for it. Thank you again.

cockswain's avatar

I am wise. Super wise.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@cockswain is “Wonder Dweeb!” LMAO! : D

cockswain's avatar

I’m glad you enjoyed your joke.

CaptainHarley's avatar

LMAO! No offense meant, mate! Sorry if I did offend.

cockswain's avatar

You did not offend me, I thought it was funny.

FutureMemory's avatar

Does anyone else see @CaptainHarley‘s avatar as just the word link “AD”, rather than an image?

JilltheTooth's avatar

OK, @Indiana_Bones , I’ve been thinking about this some more. First of all, go reread @answerjill‘s post, she’s really onto something. Oh, we Jills are just so darned smart!!! Then, just to see how you do what you do, maybe go into the cafeteria at school and look around for a girl that you don’t necessarily find attractive. Not an unattractive girl, just the kind you normally wouldn’t pick out. Figure out why. Is she too girly looking? Not girly enough? Does she look like someone who would enjoy your type of outdoor activities? Not? This kind of thing can help you identify your comfort zone. You may think you don’t have one, but hey, Fella, we all have a comfort zone when it comes to potential love interests. That’s a start. Let me know how that goes, you might surprise yourself… ;-)

atch's avatar

How much do you weigh? How often do you take your own route in situations? How often do you make the plans in your group? How often do you speak in your group? Girls don’t want a nice guy nor do they want an asshole. They want someone who is confident about who they are regardless of their “social” status. You are busy trying to be like a particular “alpha” persona in order to achieve what?? Remember, you see boobs; they see confidence. It’s much cooler to be yourself than somebody else bro. If you wanna be alpha, shoot up some roids, get some muscles, buy a flat bill hat, buy some clown shoes, buy a UFC shirt, get some tattoos, watch tons of Jersey Shore, and “poof” you will be alpha. You will also lose everything about yourself that people actually like. I remember in the nineties, everybody wanted to be a DJ. Pretty soon, nobody was dancing anymore because everybody with some record players was a “DJ”. In life, there are dancers, and there are DJ’s. Without the dancers, there are no DJ’s. It’s a symbiotic relationship. You provide that which is necessary in your social circle without having to be alpha. That does not require you to be the alpha.

FutureMemory's avatar

@atch What are clown shoes?

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther