How to Spot a Gamma Male

What is a gamma male personality?
on April 08, 2024
Read time: 15 mins
by Moraya Seeger DeGeare

Falling below the alpha and beta men in the socio-sexual hierarchy, the gamma male is like the third in line to the throne, finding himself between the cooperative beta and the independent delta. 

As the middle child, the gamma male is stubbornly delusion about their social standing, harboring feelings of jealousy and entitlement that can stall their otherwise romantic ideals. In simpler terms, the gamma male is usually a complex and controversial character, especially when it comes to dating. 

So, what does a gamma male mean? And, if you emulate these traits, is it a bad thing? Remember, while these labels can help us understand some personalities, this article aims to understand rather than stereotype. 

Disclaimer: While it’s interesting to explore the concepts of the socio-sexual hierarchy, it’s vital to approach these theories with a critical mind, understanding that these categories oversimplify human behavior and social interactions. 

People are complex and cannot be fully understood through broad stereotypes. These classifications can offer a lens for discussing certain social dynamics but should not be used to pigeonhole individuals or limit their potential.

Key Takeaways
  • The gamma male definition places these males in a unique position in the socio-sexual hierarchy, situated between the cooperative beta and the independent delta.
  • Characterized by a blend of intelligence, creativity, and emotional awareness, gamma males defy the traditional male archetypes, often leading to complex social and romantic dynamics.
  • Despite possessing many positive traits, gamma males can struggle with issues like 'nice guy syndrome,' which limits their romantic prospects. Their non-conformity and sensitivity, while admirable, can sometimes manifest as jealousy, entitlement, and a reluctance to take risks, complicating their relationships.
  • Gamma males often find themselves comparing unfavorably to other male types, such as alphas or deltas, which can fuel feelings of insecurity and jealousy.
  • Despite the challenges, gamma males have significant potential for personal development. By focusing on their strengths, such as intelligence and empathy, and working on their areas of improvement, gamma males can foster healthier relationships and achieve personal fulfillment.

What is a Gamma male? 

A gamma male is a male personality type that originates from the socio-sexual hierarchy theory, which characterizes men based on a number of particular character traits. Unlike the archetypal alpha male, the gamma male has a more nuanced role within this theory — often described as possessing qualities that do not fit neatly into the dominant (alpha) or submissive (beta) categories.

While they don’t conform to the usual male archetypes, gamma males are generally considered to be intelligent, creative, and emotionally aware. Even though these are considered positive traits, their non-conformity to male norms can lead to their branding as the ‘nice guy’. 

If they suffer from ‘nice guy syndrome’ it can limit their access to real romantic relationships, as they find themselves stuck in the friend zone. This can foster several negative traits, as they foster a certain resentment toward women, as they feel like they can’t compete with stronger personality types such as alphas. 

These insecurities can make gamma males quite hard work, as these types of men can harbor a kind of bitterness that’s hard to overcome. 

“The best thing a Gamma Male can do to have a happy relationship is do the inner work around their insecurities and notice when they get defensive with their partners,” says Moraya Seeger DeGeare, a licensed marriage and family therapist and In-House Expert at Paired.

Gamma males commonly have an inaccurate conception of where they fall on the socio-sexual hierarchy. According to research, this is known as the ‘secret king delusion trait’, whereby they think they’re an alpha male even though their personality traits class them as much lower on the social hierarchy than they might think.

What is the opposite of gamma male?

According to Vox Day’s Social Sexual Hierarchy, men can be divided into certain status groups based on their behavior and where they stand in relation to other men. 

When considering the gamma male, it can be helpful to know where he sits in the hierarchy and to understand what he compares himself to or sees himself in competition with. The gamma male sits right in the middle, usually considered to be under the beta and delta figures, or squashed right between them. 

Gamma male vs other types 

  1. Alpha male: Alpha men are commonly known as the bad boys on the socio-sexual scale, with typical alpha male traits that are traditionally associated with leadership, dominance, and high social status within human social hierarchies. This concept has been popularized by various media and self-help literature, projecting an image of an alpha male as the quintessential leader, exuding confidence, assertiveness, and often physical prowess.

  2. Beta male: In direct contrast to the alpha male is the beta male. Instead of dominance and leadership, the beta male is often portrayed with attributes that are seen as more accommodating, cooperative, and less aggressive.

  3. Delta male: The delta male, less commonly discussed than the alpha or beta male archetypes, is often considered to be the ‘average man’ and is seen as introverted and while they are hardworking, they don’t seek leadership roles. They are often considered to be resigned to their role in society, with past fear of failure contributing to an overall sense of disillusionment. 

  4. Omega male: Unlike the alpha or beta males, the omega male is often characterized by traits that set them apart from the conventional hierarchy, with a focus on their detachment from traditional social standings and roles. Regarded as social outsiders or loners, they are focused on independence, non-conformity, and quiet creativity. 

  5. Sigma male: Sigma males are characterized by their independence, self-sufficiency, and often, their disregard for hierarchical social structures. They are seen as lone wolves who do not conform to or participate in social dominance games, yet still possess qualities that could place them in positions of leadership or influence if they chose to engage.

What are Gamma male characteristics? 

According to the social hierarchy under which he falls, gamma males have a number of recognized traits, particularly highlighted within a romantic relationship. 

The gamma male may have many faults, but he also has many redeeming qualities that make him valuable. Unfortunately, he can often undermine these positives with toxic traits — getting in his own way when it comes to romantic love. 

1. Intelligent

While gamma males may not be on top of the social hierarchy, no one denies the intelligence of gamma men. 

Even though they aren’t leaders like the alphas, their innate intelligence can be quite attractive when it comes to romantic relationships. 

2. Romantic

Gamma males are often focused on their more negative traits, but they are true hopeless romantics at heart. 

Incredibly empathetic, they unashamedly love the idea of love and are very fond of a grand romantic gesture for their chosen partner. 

3. Entitlement 

With a lot of positive attributes, the gamma male can often get swept away with his own good reviews. He might expect the kind of relationship that he feels he deserves, often getting in his own way when it comes to achieving it. 

While not inherently a narcissist, he can come across as quite spoiled and can react very adversely in the face of rejection. 

4. Avoid conflict

Unlike an alpha male, who is known to resort to aggressive behaviors in the name of getting what they want, gamma males are conflict-avoidant. 

Instead of facing things head-on, he can resort to passive-aggressive behaviors with romantic partners as he can’t deal with adult confrontation. While his high level of emotional intelligence will go against these traits, he can’t help it. 

5. Not risk-takers 

While a lot of gamma males have a desire for adventure, they are not risk-takers and do not wish to go outside of their comfort zone. 

Even though they can take calculated risks, they refrain from spontaneity or situations which they have no control over. 

6. Insecure

Even though matters of delusion can come into it, gamma males are generally quite self-aware — meaning they stubbornly understand their place in the hierarchy. This can feed into a lot of insecurities, due to their place lower on the pecking order. 

Therefore, they thrive when praised but can spiral in the face of extreme criticism, with small things having a big impact on their self-esteem. This could be due to a constant comparison to those higher in the social order than himself, chipping away at his own self-confidence.

7. Jealousy 

Due to these insecurities, they are often considered to be a jealous partner. Since they are comparing themselves to other ‘stronger’ males, they might have doubts about why you’re with them. 

This can make them into an incredibly clingy partner, with their jealous tendencies often undermining the strength of the relationship. These traits can undermine their naturally romantic disposition, as the lack of boundaries corrupts their own ideals. 

8. Bitterness

These traits all naturally drive away partners, making gamma males quite ‘bad’ at dating overall. 

This all feeds into an inherent bitterness, as while they want a romantic ending, they keep getting in their own way.

9. Delusional

While some gamma males are self-aware, they can also have an inaccurate conception of their lower-status position in the social dominance hierarchy, with their delusions of grandeur fostering a misplaced sense of power. 

According to research, this is known as the ‘secret king delusion trait’, whereby they consider themselves as more of an alpha male — even though not many others would agree. 

10. Inability to compromise 

Gamma males have one trait that will drive a lot of partners crazy — they simply can’t admit when they’re in the wrong. 

This makes it almost impossible to foster a healthy relationship, as he refuses to admit that he’s in the wrong or apologize for his behaviors. Instead of making sacrifices for the sake of the relationship, he stubbornly refuses to address his own failings. 

How to stop being a gamma male

With all these things considered, the traits of a gamma male can leave much to be desired.

However, it’s once again important to remember that the gamma male label isn’t always fairly applied. 

While you or your partner might exemplify some of these traits, these theories can be simplifications and not reflective of the full complexity of human behaviors and personalities. Everyone has a unique blend of qualities, and personal growth is not about becoming a different "type" but rather evolving into your best self.

Rather than trying to escape from a certain stereotype, or evolving to become the much desired ‘alpha male’, it’s about fostering self-awareness and actively working towards the traits or roles you aspire to embody. 

This kind of positive evolution can be achieved with the help of a mental health professional or counselor, who can help you set goals designed to build your confidence and social skills. It’s not about becoming the ‘perfect’ man or partner (as that doesn’t exist), but having the tools you need to foster healthy and nurturing relationships. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is alpha and gamma male?

    The terms "alpha male" and "gamma male" originate from socio-sexual hierarchy theory, a framework used by some to categorize men based on certain personality traits, behaviors, and social standings. The true alpha male is represented by leadership, dominance, and often, good looks. On the other hand, a gamma male sits lower on the totem pole, and while he is highly intelligent and romantic, this is often undermined by jealousy and insecurity.
  • What is the difference between an alpha and a beta?

    Alpha males are the leader of the pack, while beta males are like the second in command or side-kick. They provide a strong contrast to alpha males, focusing on being more accommodating, cooperative, and less aggressive.
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