In this article, we are going to talk about the sigma male and the personality traits that make him unique. We are also going to answer some of the most common questions around this fascinating archetype.
Pop culture’s understanding of masculinity leans heavily toward archetypes.
Archetypes can be seen as summaries of personality and behavior that help us better understand the world around us.
If the alpha male is the archetype in charge and the beta male is the one who would rather follow than lead, then where does the sigma male fit into the picture?
Sigma male is a term used to describe a man who is successful, confident, quiet, emotionally intelligent and highly self-reliant.
As Steve Carleton, LCSW puts it:
Sigma male is a slang term used to describe a particular type of man who is independent and self-assured. These men usually have strong personalities, strong values and don’t conform to traditional societal norms. They are typically highly intelligent and ambitious individuals who prefer to stay away from the herd mentality.
Also, as psychiatrist Harold Hong, MD explains:
The simple definition of a sigma male is an introverted alpha male.
Sigma men are the lone wolves. They possess many of the alpha characteristics — with a twist.
In fact, some may even argue that this archetype is superior to the alpha male because of its special combination of personality traits.
The Main Traits of a Sigma Male
How much do you know about this emerging style of masculinity? What follows are 24 interesting qualities of a sigma male.
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.
1. He’s Known as the Lone Wolf
The sigma male embodies a lone wolf mentality. He prefers his own company to that of others, and he tends to go his own way.
He’s not influenced by societal norms but possess a steady internal compass that guides him.
And he’s not looking for attention or societal accolades. He’s just doing his own thing — and doing it so well you can’t help but notice him anyway.
2. He’s Highly Self-Reliant
Because he’s highly independent, he is also self-reliant. This is not a man who thinks housework means only includes taking out the trash and loading the dishwasher.
The sigma male is a man capable of cooking, cleaning, and managing his myriad responsibilities — while making it look easy.
In relationships, he’s not looking for someone to mother him but an equal partner who is just as capable and self-reliant.
Recommended read: Sigma Personality: What It Is, Meaning & Main Signs
3. He’s the Adventurer
The sigma man tends to be a bit of a wanderer. While he can embrace the comforts of hearth and home, he also tends to be an adventurer.
He’s brave and faces risk calmly, and his knowledge-hungry heart is always on the lookout for new information to absorb. New perspectives, new places, and different cultures — it all arouses the sigma male’s interest and curiosity.
4. He’s an Introvert
Unlike the alpha male, the sigma is an introvert. He prefers quiet solitude over crowds of people — although he can easily fit into any social group.
He needs time and space to think his own thoughts and contemplate the meaning of life.
But don’t mistake him for a brooder — he may be the strong and silent type, but that’s not because he sits around and sulks. Instead, he’s happy to do his own thing, enjoy his own company, and not need the outside validation or stimulation from others.
Also, as Dr. Breyan Haizlip, Ph.D, LPC, puts it:
Sigma males tend to be more introspective and reserved, preferring to observe and analyze rather than actively engage in social situations to demonstrate or assert dominance. They want to understand community interactions instead of identifying who has power and influence.
5. He’s Comfortable in His Own Skin
As Steve Carleton, LCSW explains, “Sigma males tend to be confident in their own abilities and are often bold in their decisions. They have an aura of leadership around them due to their assertiveness and decisiveness.”
That’s because they are comfortable in their own skins and, unlike alphas, don’t have the need to receive outside accolades or validation.
The sigma male likes who he is and — better still — he knows who he is and what he’s about. It radiates from him.
It’s not that he doesn’t have normal human insecurities. He just doesn’t dwell on them and is quite happy with himself.
6. He Influences Others
While the sigma man doesn’t take on the alpha’s leadership roles, he still manages to influence other people. He tends to be a trendsetter without even trying.
Because he’s so easygoing and likeable, people want to be like him.
He inspires other people without even trying — or sometimes even noticing.
7. He Doesn’t Play By Anyone’s Rules But His Own
The sigma man has the reputation for being rebellious, but rebellion implies that he is reacting to other people or outside events. He’s not.
The sigma male doesn’t care about society’s rules and norms so he’s not rebelling when he makes a decision that falls outside typical behavior for his peers.
He’s just being himself and making up his own rules for life.
You may even notice he’s happier. He’s not following anyone’s timeline but his own, and his life is richer for it.
8. He Doesn’t Care What Other People Think of Him
He genuinely doesn’t care what other people think of him. The sigma male isn’t insensitive.
He just doesn’t make decisions based on what other people would do in his situation.
Instead, he trusts his intuition and is guided by his own thoughts, feelings, and experiences.
Because he’s a seeker of knowledge, he’ll do his own independent research to be well-informed rather than relying on social media or YouTube videos to inform his thinking.
9. He’s Emotionally Intelligent
Far from being insensitive, this lone wolf archetype is highly emotionally intelligent. He’s not always socially intelligent since crowds and people aren’t his thing, but he’s emotionally astute.
He can read the room like no other, and he’s quite good at helping mediate conflict since he intuitively knows just what to say and do to diffuse a situation.
While he avoids drama, he’ll stand up for other people and even help de-escalate conflict when he can.
In relationships, the sigma male is sensitive to his partner’s needs. While the alpha male may engage in relational power struggles, the sigma male has no need to do this.
He understands that all relationships require balance and has the sensitivity to figure out how best to nurture the people in his life without having to be told what they want or need.
Recommended read: The 9 Most Powerful Traits of the Sigma Empath
10. He’s Highly Self-Motivated and Driven
Sigma males may not get the societal credit that alpha males do, but don’t think they’re not as ambitious.
They may not care about climbing corporate ladders to get a corner office or reaching other key leadership positions, but that doesn’t mean they’re not working hard and reaching goals.
The sigma male is self-motivated and has an internal drive to meet his own standards.
His goals may not be typical, but you can be sure that whatever they are, he’s working toward them diligently — often quietly and behind-the-scenes.
Recommended read: 19 Surprising Traits of an Omega Male
11. He’s Successful
Because the sigma male is self-motivated and driven, it’s no real surprise that he’s also successful in all that he does.
In fact, he’s often equally as successful as the alpha male without trying to compete or elevate himself. He works hard, plays hard, and enjoys his life — and it shows.
12. He Shies Away from Commitment
While the sigma male is emotionally astute and often emotionally available, this doesn’t mean he’s looking for commitment.
In fact, the sigma male may keep things casual because he values his space and freedom.
He may not be interested in commitment, but because he’s emotionally intelligent, he’ll tell you if this is the case. It’s not something he’ll hide to manipulate you.
This doesn’t mean sigma males never commit. They’re just highly selective about the partners they choose.
If they do prefer a relationship, they’ll take their time to make sure they’re choosing someone who is compatible with their lifestyle.
13. He’s Incredibly Charming
One of the first things you may notice about the sigma male is his charm. It’s not as obvious as the more gregarious alpha male, but it’s there all the same.
The sigma male has a magnetic presence, and his emotional intelligence serves him well when he joins a social situation. He may not follow all the social norms, but he’ll charm you nonetheless.
14. He’s Somewhat Mysterious
Maybe it’s his unwillingness to commit or his lone wolf tendencies, but the sigma male seems a bit mysterious.
His desire for solitude and contemplation could lend that air of mystery and make him seem a bit off-limits and thus more desirable.
Because he doesn’t settle down quickly, or really settle at all, he can seem like a puzzle to solve. He’s not trying to be mysterious though. It’s just a side effect of his wonderful self-assurance.
15. He’s a Great Listener
While the alpha male dominates conversations and the beta male sits back and waits for his turn, the sigma male has perfected the art of listening — truly listening.
He’s not waiting for his turn to talk.
He’s actually hearing what you’re saying as well as reading between the lines.
He gives you his undivided attention while he’s doing it, and it can make you feel like the only person in the room.
Recommended read: Good Listeners: 7 Things They Do Differently
16. He’s Capable of Leadership But Doesn’t Seek It Out
The sigma male has all the qualities of a great leader, but he’s not one to seek out attention or leadership.
He’s more like the hero in the film who has responsibility thrust on him and rises to the occasion. The sigma male is more likely to lead by example — leading without even trying to do it.
He setting trends and influencing others, but he’s not interested in dominating anyone else.
He’d much rather collaborate and see everyone succeed than be the one who stands out and takes all the credit.
17. He Values Equality
This type of man is a strong believer in equality. He’s not into the social hierarchy even though he is often placed on it in an equal place to the alpha.
He doesn’t think of people in terms of who is better and who is worse. He’s just not that kind of person.
He treats other people with the respect and dignity he wants to be treated with, and you’ll never find the sigma male talking down to servers at a restaurant or the people who pick up his garbage.
18. He Adapts Easily
The sigma male can slide into any social scenario and seem comfortable. It’s not because he just loves socializing either. He just adapts that easily.
He reads the room, figures out who he can vibe with, and he makes it all look so easy.
Of course, it’s easy to adapt when you genuinely don’t care what other people think of you and trust your own inner judgment instead.
19. He’s Self-Aware
One difference between sigma males and their alpha and beta counterparts is that the sigma male tends to be self-aware.
He knows he’s not perfect, but he’s not making his flaws part of the personality that you’ll just have to deal with if you want to be around him.
And he works on them. He’s doing the deep inner work of owning his baggage, and he’s self-aware enough to admit to mistakes and apologize as needed.
It’s just one more thing that makes him so attractive to others.
20. He Keeps His Inner Circle Small
The lone wolf keeps his circle small and a bit exclusive. He carefully curates his life and that includes the people in it.
He seeks out people who vibe with him — people who add to his life. And he tends to expertly avoid energy vampires and people who are cool with using or manipulating others.
When he lets you into his inner circle, he is unfailingly loyal for life. He may love selectively, but he loves hard.
21. He’s Not Aggressive
Unlike the alpha male, the sigma male is not at all aggressive. He can defend himself when and if it becomes necessary, but he doesn’t think violence is the answer.
He’s great at de-escalating situations simply by remaining calm and talking it out, but he also has no desire to enter a pissing contest with anyone else.
While he’s happy to compete with himself to reach a new personal best, he has no desire to show up, show out, or dominate anyone else in his life. He’s just not built that way.
22. He’s Authentic
The sigma male isn’t embracing a particular persona.
He is entirely himself. His authenticity shines through what he says and who he is, and he’s not trying to impress you or make you like him.
He’s just sincere. You know you can trust him and depend on him because he’s just not a manipulator.
He will tell it like it is, and you just might love and hate this about him depending on what he says.
23. He’s Open-Minded
This type of man is incredibly open-minded. He’s not at all into judging other people.
In fact, he’s so empathetic that he can easily see other perspectives even if they differ from his own.
He won’t try to persuade you to believe like he does — although he would probably be quite good at it.
He accepts who you are because he’s paying attention and believes that if he can do his thing, you can do yours, too.
He’s a “live and let live” kind of guy, and it’s one of his many admirable traits.
And he can stay in his lane like no other and still cheer you on in yours.
Recommended read: 16 Traits of a Beta Male
24. He’s a Non-Conformist
As Steve Carleton explains, sigma males often don’t conform to traditional societal norms or expectations. They prefer to do things their own way, even if it means going against the grain.
They are often unconventional thinkers who are unafraid to challenge the status quo.
Also, “Sigma males are usually strong-minded and steadfast in their beliefs. They tend to be quite opinionated, as they don’t shy away from voicing their thoughts on certain issues. Additionally, they are not afraid to defend what they believe in and will often stand up for what is right,” adds Carleton.
Recommended read: Ever Heard of the Sigma Woman? Here Are 25 Traits
Sigma Males Fictional Characters
To give you some examples, here are some fictional characters who fall into this archetype:
- Daryl Dixon – The Walking Dead
- Sayid Jarrah – Lost
- Jonas Kahnwald – Dark
- The professor – Money Heist
- Chishiya – Alice in Borderland
A Short Summary and a Word of Caution
The sigma man defies the typical social hierarchy that tends to put the beta male below the alpha and sorts all other types of masculinity even further below that.
The lone wolf has many alpha qualities while eschewing attention, leadership, and social norms entirely and preferring solitude to the company of others.
Yet, he’s also sensitive, open-minded, charming, and able to adapt to any social situation. You may be a sigma male — or have one in your life.
Yet, take caution. The title of sigma male seems to originate from video game developer and far-right activist Vox Day who has been described as a misogynist and white supremacist.
While sorting men into archetypes may seem innocent enough, doing so continues to limit our definitions of masculinity. Are we comfortable continuing to box men into smaller and smaller categories?
While it may help us more easily categorize the people in our lives, does it give them the freedom to explore what their masculinity, or even their humanity, means to them?
If we assign someone the category of sigma male, are we saying that’s better or worse than an alpha? A beta?
The sigma is known to eschew hierarchy and yet is often sorted into a prominent one.
As we explore society’s labels, it’s important to be sure that we aren’t dehumanizing other people in the process.
The sigma male thinks for himself, enjoys his own company, and is out there living his best life. He may not own the label others give him.
He may not even know it exists. He’s staying true to himself and staying in his own lane in the process. We could all learn a thing or two from the open-minded, self-reliant sigma male.
The truth is that most of us have a natural archetype. It’s our default setting. While you can cultivate the traits of a sigma man, it’s unlikely that you can just switch categories purely because you decide you like it. Personality doesn’t change, but behaviors can be altered.
Your default personality archetype is unlikely to change over your lifespan, but that doesn’t mean you can’t nurture the behaviors of any archetype you admire.
In fact, over time, you’ll likely be seen as the archetype you emulate, even if it’s not the one that feels most natural.
Sigma men are sensitive and self-aware. When they break up with a partner, they’ll do it kindly. The sigma male doesn’t ghost the people he dates. He won’t do a slow fade either. He’ll come right out and say that it’s not working out.
Sigma males may be the epitome of the lone wolf archetype, but that doesn’t mean they don’t fall in love. They absolutely do. While they often shy away from commitment, it’s because they are comfortable on their own and don’t need a relationship for external validation.
The sigma male is also incredibly selective. His hesitance to commit is sometimes tied to his determination to choose a compatible long-term partner.
If he’s not sure the relationship has real staying power, he isn’t one to give false hope by updating the relationship status. He’s self-aware enough to realize when he’s not all-in with a relationship.
When he does go all in, the sigma male is an amazing partner.
His love is powerful and constant. If he falls in love with you and thinks you’re a good long-term fit, don’t be surprised when he fully commits after a lifetime of avoiding that very thing.
The sigma male is pretty particular when it comes to picking partners. He won’t feel a strong interest in someone who cares too much about what other people think. He’s also unlikely to be interested in someone who projects low self-esteem and has a clingy relationship style.
According to various sources, only less than 1% of men are sigma males.
Sigma males tend to be introverts, but can any of them be extroverts?
It’s unlikely but not impossible. They aren’t fueled by outside connection but by an internal one. Sigma men can be ambiverts, having equal elements of introvert and extrovert traits.
They can even be social introverts who often pass as extroverts due to their ability to socialize easily.
Yes, many women tend to feel attracted to sigma males. This is because sigma males are confident, strong, independent and they are usually great listeners. Not to mention, they are also highly emotionally intelligent, which makes them even more attractive to women.
A weakness of the sigma male is that they need more time alone than other people, so they also struggle when it comes to commit to plans with others.
Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash
Sunday 8th of January 2023
A very well written and incredibly insightful article. Well done, thank you.