You probably know a guy from your past (or present) who doesn’t seem to fit in. He’s a social outcast. He has bizarre interests, struggles to get dates, dresses differently, and probably gives a bit of a creepy vibe. Believe it or not, there is a term for this kind of guy: omega male.
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, if there is a first and second, there has to be a last. Omega is the final and 24th letter of the Greek alphabet.
The whole alpha, beta, omega thing isn’t really terribly scientific and the wolf study identifying the social hierarchies has been debunked.
But, your own power of observation and evolutionary biology show you that many higher animal groups (like apes) tend have to dominant leaders (alphas) and more submissive followers (betas). In these groups some males mate more than others. Some don’t mate at all. The omegas would be the outer fringes of these animal groups.
However, we’re not here to argue from a pure scientific perspective. Rather, while we will link to studies and other observable facts, we consider the whole alpha, beta, and omega thing to be a popular culture phenomenon. We are approaching it from that angle.
In humans, an “alpha” is 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 women.
Now is a good time to take our entertaining and utterly non-scientific “What Type of Male Are You” Quiz! Find out where you fall on the spectrum!
But, the omega men are less well-known. Many people ask when seeing the term, “what is an omega male?”
Omega Male Definition
Because it’s not a fully scientific concept, it’s not easy to define an omega male perfectly. However, a good omega male definition is guy who has checked out of the mainstream completely. The omega man is on the fringes of the community or tribe, and regarded as odd, weird, and a loner.
Consequently, omega males are often the subject of judgment. They don’t conform and usually don’t have a desire to conform. And, that has social consequences.
Omega Male Traits And 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 instead go their own way.
An omega male might not know the line between appropriate and inappropriate or ignores it. Omega males lack common social skills and have an inability to read social cues in others (or don’t care).
If the conversation turns really creepy and awkward very quickly, it’s likely an omega male. In fact, the word creepy is often used of omega males.
The omega personality 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 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.
Omega males don’t really inspire. They’re not always polite. In many cases, their personalities actually scare people (even if they don’t mean to)!
In general an omega male has fringe interests, some of which are considered highly inappropriate. He may see himself as a dashing rebel (with a neckbeard, in a trench coat, and holding a sword 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 pony tails and neckbeards (Reddit’s Just Neckbeard Things is a collection of Omega Males). Many carry swords (or wish they could). They often brag about being intellectually superior to others (even though this increases their social inferiority), resulting in even more social isolation. This unusual style can define omega males.
However, omegas are usually 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 other endeavors.
Omega males are often associated with things like video games, anime, science fiction, and cartoons like “My Little Pony.” However, that’s probably because those represent complex fantasy universes that an omega male can escape into to avoid having to confront reality. For example, he can’t get a real girlfriend, so he pretends he’s dating a cartoon horse.
It’s also why the average person can enjoy Star Wars and think the Boba Fett is cool, but an omega may actually come to believe he is similar to the Boba Fett and be shocked when a woman isn’t impressed by his collection of Boba Fett collectibles.
Keep in mind, that enjoying more “nerdy” 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. The issue is when these become obsessive and unhealthy, like when an omega male complains about real women being inferior, then sleeps with a waifu pillow every night.
There are three basic types of people with the omega male personality. The first is the “lovable loser” type. The omega is, by definition, weird and maybe a little creepy, but harmless. 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 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 is the omega-alpha type. He’s smug about his alleged intellectual superiority and loves to school “normies” in the proper ways to act. The video below is a great example of omega male characteristics manifesting in a more “alpha” way. It’s extremely cringey as he catfishes a woman only to confront her for not being attracted to him. Classic omega behavior: social cluelessness, a sense of entitlement, and inappropriate social boundaries. Yet, based on the fact he shared this monstrosity shows that he was actually proud of his behavior!
The third type of omega male is much more sinister. These guys are creepy and aggressive. They don’t just think they’re like 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 recent Capitol Hill gunman James Hodgkinson seems to be an omega, as well. Note how the women bartenders thought he was creepy long before he snapped. James Alex Fields, the guy who killed a protester at Charlottesville was also considered bizarre and weird. In fact, I would argue that a lot of guys on the far right and far left embrace those causes because they are generally social outcasts.
Helping Omega Males
Sadly, due to their awkwardness and different mentality, a lot of omega males are bullied, which can cause them to develop untreated mental health issues and lash out. Society tends to discard those with omega personalities and offers them little in the way of empathy. 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 hopeless.
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. Granted, there is a lot they do that can be smug and humorous. But, ultimately, no one should have to suffer bullying or loneliness.
In general, we can define omega males as dangerous. They can be your eccentric friend. An omega male personality doesn’t mean a guy is trouble. 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). As with all of your friends and co-workers, keep an eye out for mental health issues and try to connect them with professional help, if needed.
However, most omega males can benefit greatly 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.