In this article we are going to talk about the gamma male, the definition of this interesting term and some typical traits of this type of man.
Social hierarchies can make it easier to describe yourself and other people — but they can also box you in like any other label.
In popular psychology, the social pecking order tends to start with alpha and beta, move to gamma, and then proceed from delta all the way to omega. For today’s purposes, let’s take a look at how these impact men in particular.
Why make this specific to men? It seems like social hierarchies tend to be more prevalent in male relationships and male-dominated environments.
Even though I’ve met plenty of strong, competent female leaders, I’ve never once heard them refer to themselves as an alpha female — even when that is likely the most accurate descriptor.
Since it seems to matter more to men, let’s leave the more commonly understood alpha and beta descriptors and talk about the role and characteristics of the gamma male.
Gamma Male Definition
If we were discussing royalty, the gamma male would be third in line to the throne. In corporate terms, he’s more like middle management — neither at the top nor the bottom of the power structure. The gamma man finds himself in between the alpha’s sidekick beta and the independent delta male.
If this seems unclear, let’s take a closer look at the traits of the gamma male that distinguish him from the other social labels.
In the interest of full disclosure, the gamma male often is seen to have more negative characteristics than positive ones, but this could be because of the challenging nature of the position he finds himself in on the social structure.
21 Traits of a Gamma Male
1. He’s Incredibly Intelligent
First of all, the gamma male is known for his intelligence. He’s smart and has already realized just how sexy that can be when it comes to love and romance.
In fact, his partners may fall for his mind first and foremost because he has so much charisma when discussing his thoughts and interests. He might not be at the top of the social hierarchy, but no one can ever doubt his intelligence.
2. He Possess Strong Empathy
He’s not just book smart either. He also has a great deal of emotional intelligence. He’s sensitive and tends to be strongly empathic, or able to feel and experience the feelings of others.
He won’t just consider what it would be like to walk a mile in your shoes. He’ll deeply feel it even if it’s outside of his life experience. Although he’s said to have many faults, this certainly isn’t one of them.
Recommended read: Signs You’re an Empath
3. He Has a Sense of Adventure
The gamma male possesses a keen sense of adventure. He was born with the travel bug, and even if he’s never left his hometown, he likely brings that sense of a traveler’s novelty with him wherever he goes.
He can make the most boring errands fun, and he’s constantly willing to be amused or entertained by life and the people around him.
4. He’s Often Entitled
The gamma male has much to recommend him, but he tends to be entitled. The patriarchy has its claws deep in his psyche when it comes to privilege. He has an expectation of what he deserves, and he feels entitled to get it.
In a way, it’s a very childlike mentality because he keeps expecting life to be fair, but he’s the one who’s defining what’s fair and what’s not for himself.
This can skew his perspective and make him sometimes come across like a spoiled brat.
Woe to the potential partner who rejects the entitled gamma male because he will certainly have feelings on feelings about this and may not handle it well.
5. He’s the Jealous Type
You’ll also notice that the gamma male tends to be the jealous type. He’s jealous of past partners, current friends, and future partners.
Because he often compares himself to others in the hierarchy, he’s never quite sure that the ones he chooses will stay with him when they could be going after one of the reputedly stronger personality types.
6. He’s Highly Romantic
Even though he can be jealous and entitled, a high-vibing gamma male is an incurable romantic. He loves love, and he’s a big fan of the grand romantic gesture.
He’s unlikely to forget those special occasions or ignore Valentine’s Day or related romantic holidays. He lavishes attention, affection, and gifts on the ones he loves.
7. He Can Be Clingy
While he’s a big softie and romantic, he can tend to be a bit clingy, too. He just might smother you with his attentions if you don’t set clear boundaries.
He prefers being with others to being alone so you might feel like a relationship with the gamma male simply doesn’t have enough room or space to breathe.
Sadly, his worries about relationships then become justified. His anxiety and clingy behavior often drives away partners, but he doesn’t know how else to manage his relationships.
8. He Doesn’t Like Risk
What’s interesting about the gamma male is that he loves adventure but not risk. His adventures tend toward the planned and the practical. He might jump out of a plane but not without tons of research and reading to make sure he’s taking a calculated risk.
In fact, he’s more likely to take on a physical risk than an emotional one and might be considered emotionally unavailable in relationships when he shies away from feelings that feel threatening to his well-being and mental health.
Recommended read: 19 Surprising Traits of an Omega Male
9. He’s Insecure
One problem with being further down the social hierarchy is that the gamma male often feels insecure. Because he compares himself to others, he’s constantly measuring his progress with those above and below him on the social spectrum.
Sometimes, he may make himself feel better by looking down on people he sees as having less power on the social hierarchy.
Conversely, he’ll compare himself to the alpha and sigma males at the same time and feel worse about himself. This keeps him constantly feeling off balance.
10. He Thinks Really Highly of Himself
Strangely, even though he’s insecure, he also has an inflated ego. That’s a worrying combination. On the one hand, he doesn’t tend to be self-loving, but on the other, he acts as though he is.
He projects a confidence he doesn’t have, and it can make him seem narcissistic when the reverse is true. He tends to pair his insecurities with an overblown sense of self-importance, which can make relationships challenging for him.
11. He’s Conflict-Avoidant
The gamma male avoids conflict. He avoids it at work. He avoids it at home. He even avoids it with his closest friends. Part of the problem is his tendency to avoid risk, but the other issue is that he doesn’t always have the emotional maturity to handle confrontation.
He’s emotionally intelligent enough to understand that he probably needs it, but he’s too insecure to actually seek it out even if it would help him in the long run.
Recommended read: Sigma Personality: What It Is, Meaning & Main Signs
12. He’s Self-Aware
The gamma man is self-aware. He knows about all these issues that other people have with him. He takes issue with these things himself.
He knows he’s not perfect, but he also understands that he has plenty of good qualities, too. He balances his sense of self-awareness with a matter-of-fact approach to his flaws and failings.
13. He Can Be Bitter
Because the gamma male can be entitled and insecure, he’s sometimes bitter, too. He resents his perceived lack of power and his place on the social hierarchy.
He doesn’t often understand that it doesn’t matter where other people sort him. It matters more how he feels about himself. Unfortunately, the thing he often feels is bitterness and resentment.
14. He’s Not Great at Dating
The gamma male is a romantic with a big heart and the ability to have wonderful conversations. But he’s not that great at dating. There are reasons for this, of course.
He’s insecure. He gets jealous. He feels entitled. He avoids conflict. These challenges make dating hard. When he and a potential partner hit a bump in the road, the gamma man has a hard time staying to work it out.
Sometimes, he’d rather cut his losses than figure out how to behave in new ways. This doesn’t mean he can’t be an excellent partner. It just means it takes a lot of work for him to manage it.
15. He Thinks He’s Always Right
The gamma male has a problem that will drive many people crazy. He thinks he’s always right. The problem with this mentality is that he rarely admits he’s wrong, and it’s even more rare for him to apologize.
He sure can get in his own way when it comes to resolving problems because his opinion is that his opinion is always right and the only one that matters.
Recommended read: 15 Signs of a Condescending Person and How to Deal With Them
16. He’s Sensitive to Injustice
The gamma man is also truly sensitive to injustice. While this makes him an ideal candidate to stand up for others, he often uses it in service to himself.
He thinks the world should be fair even though he knows it isn’t. This can create more frustration for the gamma male than if he would accept some natural unfairness to life.
17. He Wants Rewards Without the Work
The gamma male often wants much from life, but he doesn’t really think he should have to work for it. He might look at someone else’s success and feel entitled to their level of reward without realizing the time, energy, and resources that went into earning that status.
He’s got just enough ambition to want more but not enough to do more, which can create frustration for himself and for anyone he partners.
18. He’s Competitive with Other Men
The gamma man would be better served to look more in the mirror than at other men, but that’s not how he works. He’s very competitive with other men. He’s constantly comparing his performance and progress with his perception of how other people are doing.
In fact, the gamma male is likely to show off his successes on social media and hide his failures in order to appear as good as if not better than other men.
19. He’s Got a Great Sense of Humor
Even though the gamma man has problems (who doesn’t, really?), he does have a great sense of humor. He can make you laugh even when he’s driving you crazy.
He can see the humor in life as long as he can put any resentment on hold long enough to laugh about a situation.
20. He’s Always Curious and Learning
The gamma male doesn’t just have a sense of humor. His intelligence extends to having an agile mind that’s always curious and always learning. So, he has a flaw or two.
Don’t we all! He also thinks outside the box and considers different points of view. While he might sometimes play devil’s advocate just to see what you’ll say, he’s surprisingly open-minded.
Recommended read: 6 Telltale Signs of Intelligence
21. He’s More of a Follower Than a Leader
On the social spectrum, the gamma man tends to be more of a follower than a leader, but he often falls somewhere in the middle. He can lead but doesn’t enjoy it.
He will follow but won’t always be happy with where he’s lead. Because he thinks for himself, he’s less likely to just follow the crowd and instead trusts his own judgement.
The Gamma Male — In Summary
The gamma male is often faulted for many things, but he adds a lot of value to social structures. He knows everyone can’t lead, and he’s glad it’s someone else’s responsibility to do so.
He’s smart, funny, and sensitive, and even if he can sometimes get in his own head and become his own worst enemy, at his heart, he tends to be a kind, compassionate person.
The social structure is largely reliant on self-report. Yet, you may have noticed some of these traits in yourself or in someone you love.
The gamma male may be third in line for power, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be number one in your heart.