Most of us have an alpha in our lives, and there’s a good chance that person isn’t always your favorite. They could be, though—you just need to understand them first.
We’ve all heard the term “alpha male” before, and it’s one that tends to conjure up a specific type of person in our minds: a jerk. Whether it’s a man or a woman, those with alpha personalities tend to be thought of as harsh, bossy individuals who’ll roll you over in one second if they see you can’t keep up.
Have you ever wondered, though, if maybe their strong personalities are just misunderstood? There are a few different ways to spot them, and a lot they wish you knew about them.
Alpha, Beta, Omega—What Do They Actually Mean?
These days, we tend to hear “alpha” used to describe someone who’s a strong leader and “beta” for someone who’s a spineless softie, but that’s really not the case. No one personality type is better than the other when it comes down to it, but they are incredibly different.
Alphas do tend to be leaders, but it’s not always because they crave control—taking the reigns just comes naturally to them. Whether a man or a woman, they’re typically confident, assertive, outgoing, and charismatic.
Betas often find comfort in collaboration, not leading the pack. Though they can also be outgoing, they tend to be more reserved, less competitive, and more emotional than alphas.
For a good example of an Omega personality, take a look at Kristen Wiig’s character Annie in the movie Bridesmaids. She’s a good person, but one who’s pretty immature, unambitious at times, and generally sits somewhat low on her totem pole of friends. Overall, this type tends to be laid back in life and more eccentric than others.
Of these types, alphas are generally the most misunderstood among their peers. We’re not saying some of them aren’t truly jerks, or that even the most well-intentioned alpha can’t take it too far sometimes, but they generally have some pretty awesome personality traits that many of us could learn from.
They Make Their Voices Heard
If you ever think an alpha will walk on eggshells to avoid a difficult conversation, think again. That’s not to say that they’ll immediately become aggressive or heated when they have something to say, but they will let you know how they feel, whether it’s good or bad.
If they have a crush on you? They won’t play games. If you pissed them off? They’ll let you know what you did. If they can tell you have something to say? They’re going to get you to say it.
They Have A Few True Friends
Though people with alpha personalities tend to be pretty outgoing and somewhat charming, that doesn’t mean they’ll let anyone into their personal lives. They actually tend to have a small group of core friends that they truly trust, and the rest are just acquaintances. Why?
It’s because they’re not afraid of cutting people loose when they become too toxic to keep in their lives. A lot of people are too afraid to end friendships and relationships for a lot of reasons—because they don’t like being alone, because there’s some benefit to the relationship, or even because they just haven’t realized they’re in an abnormal situation.
Alphas, on the other hand, are perfectly fine with leaving any relationship that doesn’t suit them for whatever reason, and they won’t hesitate to do it. They also won’t play games when they cut the cord, and you’re kidding yourself if you think playing games with them gives you any advantage—by the time you’ve finished concocting a scheme to manipulate them, they won’t even remember your name anymore.
They Mean What They Say
Alpha personalities will always walk the walk when they talk the talk. Not only do they have a genuine desire to stick to their word, but they’d also never give someone a chance to say that they’re fake, untrustworthy, or, even worse, a liar.
They also give instructions or ask for things in a very direct way to avoid confusion, because they want to get exactly what they want.
They’re Not Necessarily Dominant
Most people might assume that an alpha personality wants to be dominant, but that’s usually not the case. They often end up taking control of situations because they feel confident in their ability to do so, but that doesn’t always mean they want to steamroll everyone involved into submission.
In fact, one set of studies that examined a group of university athletes found that individuals who were outwardly dominant actually had less self-esteem and exhibited more aggressive or narcissistic behaviors than those who were naturally more prestigious.
In this case, prestige is used to describe those who are authentically proud of themselves and their accomplishments, which naturally makes them more conscientious and agreeable combined with a high level of genuine self-esteem.
They Pay More Attention to Actions, Not Words
Just like an alpha says only what they mean, they’re also paying close attention to whether or not you do, too. They’re not into over-analyzing text messages or how their last date went, because they take things at face value instead of combing through every detail to find some deeper meaning.
They expect others to be direct with them, and they’re not going to waste time on someone who isn’t.
They’re Confident, But Not Always Arrogant
It’s entirely possible for an alpha to come across as arrogant, and sometimes it’s because they legitimately are. However, there’s a huge difference between someone being confident in who they are and thinking everyone else should worship them.
What is that difference exactly? It’s empathy. People who are genuinely confident in themselves don’t allow their confidence to take away from what other people bring to the table, and vice versa.
However, those who cross the line into arrogance often overestimate their own abilities and tend to judge the worth of other people against themselves, as opposed to what they’re actually capable of.
They Don’t Get FOMO
FOMO, or fear of missing out, is something that plagues our generation today. Social media allows us to see every single event our friends choose to share with us, and this often turns into “all of the things we’re not out doing” in our minds. Not for the alpha, though.
They go to the events they want to and they pay attention to the topics they like, and they have no regrets about ignoring the things they don’t care about. They’ll also have no problems telling you to stop talking about who got kicked off of The Bachelorette this week, but they won’t hesitate to strike up a discussion about a mutual interest they have with a friend.
They Don’t Feel Social Pressure
If you think an alpha cares what you think of them, think again. That’s not to say that they won’t care if they hurt someone—they just genuinely don’t care about living up to society’s expectation of them. They won’t entertain the idea of getting married before they’re ready, or having kids if that’s something they don’t want—in fact, they’ll shut both discussions down quite quickly.
They also won’t hesitate to break up with someone who they feel doesn’t teach and challenge them in a relationship, no matter how great they sound on paper. To put it simply, they live life how they want, and do so unapologetically.