The lone wolf: 14 characteristics of sigma males

There was a time when men were described as either being the Alpha Male or the Beta Male.

Alpha Males, with their leadership qualities, strong confidence, and no-nonsense approach to life were at the head of the pack.

Beta Males, eager to take orders and fall into line were the alternative.

But the more we learn about people, the more we have discovered that there are variations of Alpha and Beta and a new type of personality is seeming to emerge.

One that is neither Alpha nor Beta and is dancing to the beat of his own drum: Sigma Male.

The Sigma Male is currently a hot topic in psychology and people are sitting up and paying attention to what this new personality type is doing in the world.

Sigma Males have always been around, doing their own thing on the fringe of society. These are the rule breakers and makers.

They get a lot of attention for good and bad things, but it’s what we don’t yet know about these personality types that keep people coming back for more.

First, What is a Sigma Male?

What is a sigma male? Here are 12 traits of a sigma male

A Sigma Male is a man who chooses to live his life outside of the normal social dominance hierarchy of society.

Sigma males have similar traits to alpha males but prefer to walk to the beat of their own drum, and don’t often take orders from people or conform to society’s labels or systems.

Sigma Males are the men who are riding off into the sunset on their horses without much more to their name than the pack on their back.

They don’t need things from society the way other men do. They are often self-employed, travelling nomads who seek adventure and knowledge, rather than material goods and possessions.

Sigma Males were once thought to be a rare breed of man, but these days, with the rise of the internet and the ability to work and live anywhere, Sigma Males are coming out of their shells and becoming more mainstream.

They are extremely attractive to women because they appear to be self-sufficient and capable of making their own way in life, not relying on anyone or anything to meet their needs.

Sigma Males are not as far removed from society’s hierarchy as they would have you believe though, and many of them don’t realize that they have an important role to play in the traditional hierarchical societies around the world.

Sigma Males are often the ones who step outside their comfort zones, create amazing things, start businesses, are quiet and confidence partners, and hard workers.

While some people may think that Sigma Males retreat from society because they are lazy or don’t want to work, the opposite is true.

They need time and space to craft their ideas and bring their dreams to life.

Their role, whether they realize it or not, is to pave the way for many others, including Alpha Males who aren’t as creative or as willing to buck the trend to allow society to progress.

They fall neatly into a part of society that people idolize, yet don’t fully understand.

If you’re wondering how to identify a sigma, here are 14 characteristics that define a sigma male, and separate them from their beta and alpha male counterparts.

1) He loves being alone, but he values other people

One of the first things anyone will notice about a sigma man is how much they value their own solitude.

Despite having the ability to turn on their charisma and charm whenever necessary, sigma males are never more comfortable than when they’re on their own.

They’re introverts who love having the time and space to think and decompress, because other people act like energy vampires around them, no matter how much those people may mean to them.

With that said, sigma males still understand the importance of having valuable people around them, because they know that they won’t be able to accomplish all their goals on their own.

This means it can be difficult to be in a relationship with a sigma male, especially for women who are used to men who obsess and dote over them.

Sigma men are best partnered with women who don’t need to be around their partners at all times, because those kinds of relationships can end up feeling too emotionally and mentally draining for a sigma man.

2) He is a silent leader

What comes to mind when you picture the traditional leader?

Someone on the front lines, with an entourage of officials or subordinates around him at all times; someone who is always on the highest floor, making executive decisions.

An alpha male who speaks loud, always looks big and intimidating and doesn’t look like someone you would ever mess with.

But sigma males are just as capable as alpha males as being leaders, except they have their own approach to it.

Sigma men can be counted on to do what needs to be done.

They have the perfect mix of self-reliance, introspectiveness, and intelligence to figure out any problem and turn something inefficient into something efficient.

You would always want a sigma male on your team. You get the confidence and leadership of an alpha male with none of the downsides of someone with a large and fragile ego that needs constant validation.

A sigma male will never quit regardless of the obstacle or inconvenience; instead, he will keep working at something until he finds a way around it.

They are the types who aren’t afraid to go do what needs to be done, even if it’s “unbecoming” of a leader, because their utmost priority is the goal, not their image.

3) He knows how to adapt to different situations

Alpha males can grab a social group or a situation by the neck and make themselves the leader, but there are times when imposing your own leadership isn’t always possible (or recommended).

When alpha males aren’t given the respect or authority they think they deserve, they have a tendency to become a lesser version of themselves.

And that’s where a sigma male has the advantage.

While a sigma male can be in charge if they need to be, they don’t require the validation of being “the leader” in various social situations and power dynamics.

They are happy to fit whatever role is needed for them at any given moment, meaning they are more fluid and flexible than alpha males, and thus more commonly successful in any situation.

With no self-imposed expectations or pressures, a sigma male can be either a follower, a leader, or any position in between, as long as they know that they are being used efficiently and productively.

The problem with this, however, is that this can sometimes rub other people the wrong way.

The unabashed confidence and freedom to play any part can come off as arrogance, intimidating those around the sigma male.

4) He treats everyone around him the same way

So much of our daily life is built off social hierarchies, and it’s something that we’re first exposed to as early as school.

Most of us end up knowing who the popular kids are, how you should act around them (and how you should act around the non-popular kids), and those habits, behaviors, and social structures follow us all the way to adulthood.

Sigma males can’t stand these invisible and meaningless power dynamics built off nothing but an unearned social status.

They totally reject the notion that you need to treat one person one way and another person another way, simply because there are some invisible rules dictating what kind of person he or she may be.

So unlike most of us, a sigma male is more than happy to treat everyone around them the same way.

This is one of the reasons they make amazing leaders — they don’t limit the voices in the room to just the people who’ve “Yes Man’d” their way to the top.

They see value and intelligence wherever it may be, and other people don’t intimidate them because they aren’t competing with them.

5) He doesn’t need a social circle to be himself

Alpha males tend to need structure because their personality revolves around the reflection of themselves off other people; they like knowing that they have control over others and they’re manipulating others (for good or for bad).

Their personality is so often built off the validation of the people around them. They have difficulty imagining who they truly are without the social circles they’re a part of.

Sigma males are made differently.

While they aren’t afraid of being a part of social circles, they don’t drown themselves in social obligations and commitments the way alpha males do.

They have the security of knowing that their personality exists fully outside of the bonds of other people.

They don’t follow trends, they often don’t know what’s going on in the world of celebrity gossip, and they can’t stand the idea of being popular, let alone a social media influencer.

He is the same person no matter what social context he may be in, and that actually makes him easier to deal with than most people.

If you understand who he is, then you never need to “relearn” his personality again. He’ll never let anyone or anything around him change him.

6) He understands the importance of silence

Sigma males are men of few words.

You will almost never find them going on and on and on, chatting and gossiping about the little things going on in their lives.

And this is because they firstly don’t care about small, meaningless things that may no longer matter in a day, but also because they understand the value of protecting their own energy, and there are few things more important to a sigma man than their own energy.

But just because they tend to be quiet types doesn’t mean they let themselves get pushed around.

While alpha males can be described as dominant extroverts, sigma males are best described as dominant introverts.

They command the room by simply walking into it, with their presence and their aura, whereas an alpha male might command the room with their voice or actions.

When dealing with a sigma male, it’s crucial to give him the quiet time he needs.

Most people don’t understand that silence between two people doesn’t necessarily mean there’s no vibe or connection, and being the person who can give a sigma man the silence they need without being awkward about it is an easy way to make yourself a pillar in their life.

7) He’s morally grey, or worse

Sigma males aren’t always the best people out there, but as they would say, it’s always a matter of perspective.

Sigma males can be righteous protectors of what they believe is right or wrong, or they can be cynical and jaded; either way, their capability makes them a force to be reckoned with in regards to the status quo.

Most sigma males end up falling somewhere around the grey area of morality.

They are generally introspective and smart enough to see that there are certain parts of “the system” that just don’t make sense, and therefore they don’t demand the true respect that society tends to give them.

They can see the flaws in social systems and don’t always understand why we need to look up to them, so they’re more likely to use their powers for disrupting the status quo.

While that doesn’t mean that sigma males are bad people, it does mean that they need to understand the logic behind everything they do and support.

If they don’t, they’ll be hard-pressed to actually put their effort into doing something that seems stupid to them.

8) He hates living life safely

The Sigma male is unafraid of risks. That’s not to say he’s constantly imposing on authority or acting recklessly.

Unlike full-on rebels, sigma males don’t have a problem breaking a few rules or taking some well-calculated risks if it serves their person.

He doesn’t do this to flaunt his authority or command respect from others (unless that’s part of his plan), but to drive his projects forward. Every risk has a purpose.

The sweet balance between pragmatism and idealism is exactly what makes sigma males incredibly efficient leaders and partners.

They understand the best possible scenario and produce situations that may not be as perfect but are better suited and more probable for a given situation.

You’ll often find sigma males on top of the food chain in whichever situation they’re in.

They have complex personalities and hate being fitted into one box.

As a result, you’ll find that the sigma male in your life is rarely an archetype.

They excel as athletes, entrepreneurs, intellectuals, and creatives just because they’re capable of broadening their horizons and adapt to excel in any environment.

Justin Brown explains the psychology of lone wolves in his video below.

9) His social skills could use some work

Formalities are a waste of time to a sigma male.

He’s not really concerned with fitting into society and winning some popularity contest, the sigma male is often misunderstood for being a snob.

Pleasantries are simply not his strong suit and it’s either because he hasn’t had the time to deal with it or simply isn’t interested in honing them.

Compared to alpha males that want to dominate every conversation, sigma males are happy to sit in the background and contribute in their own way without hogging the spotlight.

Small talk, which is a foundational skill for a lot of people, is boring to a sigma male.

He doesn’t feel the need to talk himself up to other people or please a stranger he’d never talk to again.

You won’t find the sigma male standing in front of everybody cracking jokes or revving up everyone’s mood.

He’ll often be at a corner speaking to someone he finds worthy of his time and intelligence. Or to no one at all.

This nonchalance for social formalities manifests in different ways.

Simple things like showing up in the proper dress code, replying to texts promptly, or participating in the meaningless niceties and other “faux pas” might be unknowingly committed by the sigma male in your life because he’s just not interested in empty socialization and unnecessary structures.

10) He’s incredibly self-aware

Introspection is one of the primary traits of a sigma male.

As opposed to an alpha male who projects himself outward for everyone to see, the sigma male focuses on himself and how his actions impact his entire being.

Sigma males know themselves extremely well.

They know their strengths and are actively working towards improving the weaknesses they think matter.

Instead of spending his time surrounding himself with people, you’ll often find the sigma male in his bubble analyzing what he could have done better.

Even without the best social graces, they still manage to avoid drama because they know how to handle social situations and understand how to come across likable.

As someone who lives their entire lives in their heads and doesn’t really seek out validation, they’ll surely appreciate it when someone finally notices the very special things about them.

As introspective as they may be, sigma males are still human like the rest of us and may get into trouble from time to time.

However, they’ll be able to patch up whatever lapses in judgment they had in no time and turn failures into opportunities for self-development.

11) He is the master of his own fate

Sigma males are independent self-starters. You’ll very rarely find them in anything other than executive-level and managerial positions.

As deeply introspective individuals, they have a sixth sense for inefficiency and have a knack for breaking down processes into actually actionable steps.

It goes without saying that the sigma male is deeply ambitious. He may not always be the loudest voice in the room but his convictions and morals remain strong even when no one’s listening.

As such, the sigma male doesn’t really conform to structure and tries to create a lifestyle that best suits his personality.

His rebellious proclivity shines through here: whether it’s in his work, his creativity, or his relationships — he pursues all these things without adhering to rigid structures and establishes systems that are more complimentary of his goals and skills.

The majority of entrepreneurs are sigma male personalities. This recurring dominant trait from sigma males pushes them to assert their position, take a stand, and build something for themselves instead of working for someone else.

Sigma males are fiercely confident individuals who will stop at nothing to get what they want and transform their reality into what they want it to be.

12) It’s hard to understand him

The sigma male personality may be one of the hardest personality types to understand.

Because he is neither beta nor alpha but unique in his own way, it’s difficult to characterize his choices and his behavior because they don’t really fit in our binary understanding of what it means to be dominant or submissive.

If you’re dating a sigma male, one of the most difficult things about dating him is that he’s not very vocal.

His knack for problem-solving tends to come first, which may not always be what you need emotionally.

Combine this with their disinterest in playing by traditional societal expectations, sigma males can come across as robotic, unfeeling partners.

This could not be farther from the truth. Sigma males are among the best partners out there precisely because they’re highly self-aware.

They may not always communicate what they’re thinking or planning because they live in their own heads, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t take you into consideration.

Sigma males are primarily solution-driven. They want to keep moving forward and help those he cares about become the best version of themselves too.

This fascination for efficiency can come across a little unempathetic at times, but it’s his way of showing you he cares.

No one else lives by the motto action speaks louder than words better than a sigma male.

13) He could be an alpha if he wanted

By their very nature, alpha males want you to know that they’re alpha males. They live by structures and fall into the archetype of what it means to be a strong man with leadership qualities.

The sigma male couldn’t care less. He possesses the same relentlessness, ruthlessness, and cunning of an alpha male but isn’t really interested in projecting that onto his peers.

Sigma males believe in showcasing their talents and abilities through actions; awards and acknowledgements are secondary to them.

He doesn’t need titles or to be the center of attention to feel important — he just knows that he is.

This self-confidence and security allows sigma males to work quietly in the background without the need to constantly declare themselves as the leader.

They’re often happy wearing many different hats in a team and no job ever feels “too small” for them.

When it comes to projects, their ego comes last. The most important thing is that the job gets done.

If you ever come across an unassuming, intelligent man don’t make the mistake of thinking he’s a beta. He might just be a dominant introvert in disguise, happily waiting for the right time to shine.

14) He can’t be told what to do when it comes to anything

With a certain security and fixation on who you are comes some stubbornness too.

Because sigma males are confident with who they are as a person, they have a very clear picture of the things they like and don’t like.

As a result, it might be hard to get a sigma male to see the different side of things.

This might frustrate partners of sigma males who only wish to enrich his life.

Instead of pushing him to do things your way, appeal to his pragmatic side and talk about the benefits of doing things a certain way.

Sigma males can be dead set on who they are as people but are at the same time open to adopting when proven wrong.

Take him to a restaurant he’d never go to.

Present an argument about an opinion he never would have considered. Introduce a new shirt that he wouldn’t have picked for himself.

Sigma males may be stuck in their own ways but will be more than happy to enrich their lives and their personality, as long as you help them ease into it.

The secret to keeping a sigma male happy

Sigma males may be complex but they’re not as complicated as they seem. They may be incredibly smart but dealing with them isn’t rocket science.

Their fundamental needs are independence, intelligence, and genuineness.

As long as you give them the space they need to think, feel, and be themselves, you’re already doing what you need to do to support the sigma male in your life.

New world hierarchy

There’s no shortage of opportunities for Sigma Males to make a difference in the world, but alone they don’t amount to much.

They are starting to realize that the hierarchies that exist might be broken, but new ones can be created.

They’ll create them and are strong enough to yield the backlash that might arise from such change.

So the next time you find yourself in the presence of a Sigma Male, don’t ostracize him for his choices.

Be curious about what his plans are to make the world a better place. Find out what kind of tribe he hopes to build and belong to if the one he left didn’t serve him.

Sigma Males will rise to the top of a new hierarchy, but it will be of their own making and design.

The rest of us will have to get on board or miss out on the opportunities such collaboration will create.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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