Most people are at least aware of the alpha male and the beta male from popular culture. We even wrote an article about the alpha male, the beta male and the jerk.
However, there is one other type of guy in addition to the traditional two: the omega male.
If you have no idea what an omega male is, let me remind you that alpha and beta are the first two letters of the Greek alphabet; omega is the final and 24th letter!
The whole alpha, beta, omega thing isn’t really terribly scientific. But, it’s certainly grounded in evolutionary biology, since all animal groups tend have to dominant leaders (alphas) who get to mate the most and pass on their genes, and submissive followers (betas) who rarely get sex.
In humans, an “alpha” isn’t the dumb, grunting bully, but a socially successful, confident, and charismatic guy, who leads at work and gets his choice of a variety of women. A “beta” is usually a passive, boring type of guy, who ends up being a “cog in the machine” at work and socially invisible to both men and women.
The Omega may be thought of as such an extreme beta that he is on the fringes (in terms of evolutionary genetic “fitness”) of the community or tribe. Thus he gets few resources, like food and sex, and may even be the target of aggression from others within the colony during times of unrest. Men won’t befriend him and women don’t find him attractive.
A lot of what follows is based on this science and my own observations. It probably fits with your observations as well.
Omega Male Characteristics
Omega males are the last place according to the terms of society (socially, at least). They typically lack drive to succeed in mainstream ways and have few social skills. An omega male often doesn’t know the line between appropriate and inappropriate or ignores it. Basically, Omega males lack common social skills, and have an inability to read social cues in others.
If the conversation turns really creepy and awkward very quickly, it’s likely an omega male at work. In fact, the word creepy is often used of omega males. They can’t pick up when someone is getting uncomfortable with them, and they don’t know how to adjust their approach to others, so they may violate body space, stare excessively, and so forth.
I knew a classic Omega type male years ago. He spent a lot of time observing his crush’s house (yes, spying). When she refused his advances, he suggested burning her house down and rescuing her as a way to win her love. He has turned into a fairly cool guy, but definitely showed some borderline (or outright) omega behavior in his past. And, it kept him single. Now he pretty much brags on social media about the rare video games he collects.
Omega males don’t really inspire. They’re not always polite. In many cases, they actually scare people (even if they don’t mean to)!
In general an omega male has fringe interests, and even inappropriate (for polite society) fetishes. An omega male will usually dress or present in a way that isn’t mainstream, but not in a good way. He may see himself as a dashing rebel (in a trench coat for example), while others perceive him as a creepy weirdo.
Typically, he will draw attention to himself in ways that tell others he’s different. Often his “style” of dress isn’t even intentional, and may manifest itself as ratty and long hair, and dirty and frumpy clothes. Because Omegas may lack social awareness, they can ignore even basic hygiene concerns. They may wear trench coats and fedoras, or clothes from an older time period (like medieval Europe or the 1920s). They may sport ratty pony tails and neckbeards (Reddit’s Just Neckbeard Things is a collection of Omega Males). They often brag about being intellectually superior to others (even though this increases their social inferiority), resulting in even more social isolation, even as the Omega digs in his heels, asserting how great he is.
Omegas are above all socially clueless. They are totally unaware that they are so unaware, and may even argue how “great” it is being an Omega, even though in the eyes of others they are extremely unsuccessful – socially and in their jobs and other endeavors.
Omega males are often associated with things like video games, anime, and media like Star Wars (whether fairly or unfairly). However, that’s probably because those represent complex fantasy universes that an omega male can escape into to avoid having to confront reality. That’s why the average person can enjoy Star Wars and think the bounty hunter is cool, but an omega may actually come to believe he is similar to the Bounty Hunter, and even dress like him in public (and then act shocked when he gets weird looks).
Keep in mind, that enjoying more stereotypically “nerdy” interests or hobbies doesn’t make a person an omega male. Just because a guy likes Star Wars or anime doesn’t mean he’s an omega. Lots of guys get into those. The issue is when these become obsessive and unhealthy. Omegas can become this way about any topic, whether normally OK (religion, patriotism) or negative (racism, etc.).
There are typically two types of omega male. The first is the “lovable loser” type. He is weird and maybe a little creepy, but harmless. Women may not be lining up to date him, but he can still get some dates and can be a nice guy, except when he crosses a social line (which happens at times).
Not to get too scientific, but these omega males are more omega-betas. They are nice guys who are considered backward or have odd tendencies. They often contribute to society and are decent, moral people. They may just lack the social skills to move up the ladder at work or to be successful in dating or making friends. They may be so socially clueless that their fashion sense and hygiene are bad. Most omega males fit into this category.
The second type of omega male is pretty harmless, but is kind of a leader among omegas. This is the omega-alpha type. Given the chance, he may show his omeganess to the world, and the result can be an epic fail. One good example of this type of Omega is the “Aids Skrillex” guy who was screaming at Donald Trump supporters in a recent viral video. Whatever your view of Trump, this guy’s reaction was over the top and creepy.
The third type of omega male is much more sinister. He is creepy and weird, but confident and even aggressive about it. A lot of these guys don’t just think they’re the bounty hunter; they also collect an arsenal of weapons and fantasize about using it on their perceived enemies. The perpetrators of recent mass shootings were clearly overconfident omega males who took their warped fantasies and opinions to a new level. These would be omega-omega males. They include guys like Elliot Rodger, Dylann Roof, and Christopher Harper-Mercer (the most recent omega male type to snap).
Of course, there are omegas who are in between these extremes. Sadly, due to their awkwardness and different mentality, a lot of omega males are bullied, which can cause them to lash out.
Society tends to discard omega males and offers them little in the way of empathy or help. That’s a shame because younger (and even older) omegas can integrate into the social structure of society with a little help (just like anyone else). No one should have to be isolated to the point of snapping or being hopelessness. were socially isolated and lonely to the point of going crazy.
While some sites relentlessly pick on or tease Omega types, our goal is actually to help omega males become better with their social skills, not bash them.
So, hopefully you now know a little more about the omega male now, including his traits and characteristics. In general, omega males aren’t dangerous and can be your eccentric friend. However, as recent events have shown, there are a few omegas who can turn violent (but it’s unfair to hold all omega males accountable for this).
Omega Males can benefit from learning social skills. One good book to help them is The Charisma Myth, which teaches charismatic behavior. Another book that may help is Conversationally Speaking which walks the reader through the process of conversation, listening, and basic social skills.