The beta male is interesting. You don’t notice him first in the crowd. He’s not standing in the spotlight, but if you’re paying attention, he holds his own.
He’s comfortable with being the second-in-command to a more powerful alpha.
But there’s more to this type of man than just a person standing in the shadows.
What is a Beta Male?
Beta male is a term used to describe a quiet and introverted man who prefers to follow rather than lead.
A beta is considered the second most important in the hierarchy of male archetypes. The alpha male is considered the leader. The beta guy is lesser known, but it doesn’t mean he’s not as important.
You probably know at least one beta male in your life. Would you spot the signs?
Why listen to me? I’m Crystal Jackson and I was a master’s level licensed therapist. I worked with couples and families and specialized in trauma recovery and empowerment. I now write content about relationships and psychology. My work has been featured on Elite Daily, Your Tango, Positively Positive, Mamamia, and The Good Men Project.
16 Traits of a Beta Male, According to a Former Therapist
1. He Follows Rather Than Leads
The beta male is not trying to take the lead. He’s comfortable following the direction of others.
He doesn’t assume his voice has no value, but he enjoys not worrying about being the one to set the direction.
It doesn’t hurt his ego to let someone else sit in the driver’s seat if he’s comfortable cruising as a passenger.
2. He Doesn’t Like Making Choices
The beta male is often indecisive.
He doesn’t enjoy making choices and will likely ask for outside opinions before coming to a decision. In fact, he’s happier to not come to a decision at all but to passively allow events to unfold.
If someone jumps into steer the direction, all the better!
3. He’s Conflict-Avoidant
Because he doesn’t like to lead and prefers not to be put on the spot to make choices, the beta male is often conflict-avoidant. If he can’t see a good way to work out a situation, he likely won’t bring it up at all.
He’d rather sleep on it and look for a resolution than bring up something that will only cause a problem with no solution.
For friends and partners, his avoidance can be frustrating.
After all, relationships require some conflict to get stronger and reach a deeper stage of intimacy. Just know that he’s not trying to leave issues unresolved.
He would just rather approach them either indirectly or gently rather than charging in to start an argument.
Recommended read: 19 Surprising Traits of an Omega Male
4. He Doesn’t Need to Be in the Spotlight
People often see the beta male as the resentment-filled guy in the shadows, the second-in-command to the real leader, but that’s not the truth of most beta men.
The beta male, as a general rule, doesn’t need to be in the spotlight. He’s happy enough to work quietly in the shadows without the accolades or attention.
He takes pride in his work and doesn’t need outside validation.
5. He’s Just Not Competitive
You won’t find a true beta male vying for the leadership position. He’s not in competition with the alpha or anyone else. He’s just not that competitive.
He enjoys giving his all and doing his best, but he’s not preoccupied with winning.
6. He Tends Toward Introversion
The beta male is often introverted or reserved. He’s not typically as outgoing as the alpha. He might not have as much to say, but he’s always thinking.
He’s quietly assessing, and he plays the supporting role so well that he’s often the silent backbone of any group.
He’s happy to prop everyone else up in exchange for their company. And he’s equally happy to spend time alone since he enjoys his own company.
7. He’s Friendly to a Fault
The beta male is friendly to a fault. While people sometimes take advantage of his good nature, he doesn’t let that spoil his view of the world.
He’s just a friendly, down-to-earth guy who enjoys getting to know people.
8. He’s Often Friend-Zoned
The beta man is often placed in the friend zone. Because he’s such a friendly guy and can be reserved, it can be difficult for partners to know when he’s interested.
He can sometimes find himself in the friend zone simply because the other person doesn’t think he’s interested.
9. His Ego Can Sabotage Him
If the beta male isn’t careful, his ego can sabotage him. If he’s happy being in the number two spot and focuses on his own life, he’ll be fine.
However, if he begins to resent the alpha and becomes jealous of his life, he may end up bitter. That bitterness has a trickle-down effect. It impacts his work, his relationships, and his daily attitude.
There’s a difference in acknowledging his value and taking pride in his life and having a sense of entitlement.
An out-of-control ego can be a risk of the beta male if not closely monitored.
Recommended read: 23 Traits of a Sigma Male
10. He Leans Toward Codependency
The beta male can sometimes be codependent. He prefers to lean on a partner and depend on them to lead the way.
For independent partners, this can be frustrating.
The beta male pairs well with either a strong alpha or another personality that’s happy to step up and take the reins.
11. He’s Reliable
One of the many strengths of the beta male is his reliability. You can count on him. In fact, he’s often the first one you’ll call when you need help or advice.
He’s got a good head on his shoulders, and he’s consistent about showing up for the people he cares about.
12. He Values Responsibility
You’ll notice that the beta male also values responsibility. He has a strong work ethic, and he prides himself on a job well done.
For this reason, he is entrusted with much responsibility. He may quietly climb the career ladder or take on more work in a relationship because he sees the importance in working for what you want.
Recommended read: 12 Traits of a Delta Male
13. He’s a Yes Man
The beta male is definitely a yes man. He doesn’t like to say no. In fact, because it feels like conflict, he’ll go out of his way to make excuses rather than saying no.
He much prefers to go along to get along, and he might even agree with the people around him just to avoid making waves.
14. He Likes to Talk Things Out
Because he’s invested in problem-solving and a peaceful existence, the beta man in your life probably enjoys talking things out.
He can absolutely talk a topic straight into the ground, but that’s because he’d rather clear the air and, ideally, find a solution than to let things simmer under the surface.
The good news is that he can talk, but he’s an even better listener.
15. He Values Teamwork
While he’s often written off as passive, the reality is that the beta male can be a good team player. He has a lot of respect for teams and authority.
He’s happy to do his part to contribute and to support other members of the team however he can. He doesn’t need the recognition, but he enjoys working with other people to accomplish a task.
16. He Can Be a Strong Partner
The beta man is used to coming in second. He’s often overlooked in favor of the alpha.
With that being said, the beta male can be one of the strongest partners.
He isn’t going to try to compete for attention, and he’s happy to be in a supporting role. He will hype up your successes without resentment, and he plays well with others.
You won’t mind bringing him around friends and family because he’s just one of those men that other people tend to like.
It’s more than just his innate friendliness, although that’s part of his charm. He’s a decent guy. He wants to do the right thing. And he cares about how other people feel.
He’s a hard worker. His life tends to have purpose and meaning even if you’re the one who has to pick all the time where you’ll eat or what vacation destination you’ll visit each year.
The beta male isn’t about the conquest.
He’s happy to partner people who are as loyal and consistent as he is, and he’s not going to think the grass is greener anywhere else because he’ll be too busy tending his own.
He’s often a happy partner, even if he’s a quieter one.
Tips for Getting to Know a Beta Male
If you want to get to know a beta male better, consider a few of these tips.
Initiate a Conversation
If you’re waiting for the beta male to strike up a conversation with you, you might be in for a long wait. He can do it, but that doesn’t mean he will do it.
He tends to be reserved, so it might be on you to walk up and say hello. He’s friendly. He just might need you to take the lead.
Recommended read: 12 Quality Conversation Starters That Make You Instantly Charming
Ask Him Questions
It’s not completely true to say that he’s an open book. After all, he might take a while to show you all his chapters.
Still, if you ask him a few questions, he’ll likely open up to you and share a little more about what makes him tick. Don’t think he’s going to take the lead in the conversation. He doesn’t really do that.
Recommended read: Follow-Up Questions: The Key to Have Meaningful Conversations
Ask Him Out
He might be too shy to ask you.
If you’re interested, you might have to be a little more obvious, and it’s possible you might have to ask him directly if he’s interested, too, because it’s not always easy to tell.
Text Him First
Again, the beta male isn’t the leader.
You might need to be. Send him a text. Be the one to follow up.
He’s a nice guy, but he might be overthinking text etiquette, particularly after a date.
Don’t Expect Him to Be Anyone Else
If you decide to partner a beta man, don’t expect him to magically become someone he’s not.
No matter how confident he gets, he’s unlikely to suddenly aspire to be the alpha.
He’s comfortable with who he is — are you comfortable with him, too?
If you start to try to change him, he’s going to be hurt, but he might also stop investing in the relationship.
The beta male knows he needs a partner who supports him as he is — and appreciates his many amazing traits.
The beta male stands in the shadows of the alpha male, probably sipping a drink with a smile. He’s happy to be right where he is — surrounded by friends and good times without the glare of the spotlight.
If you’re lucky, you get to be the one to slip up beside him and hold his hand, knowing that being the partner of a beta male is pretty amazing, too.
Photo by Bruce Dixon on Unsplash