“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” ~Maya Angelou
Many of us may hold certain ideologies about what an Alpha Females is, or what she ‘supposedly” represents. The term Alpha Female is often tossed around in casual conversations yet, the more we hear it, the more abstract or undefined it seems to get.
For those who aren’t familiar with who she is, what she represents, what she values in her life or in a partner, hearing “Alpha Female” may stir up stereotypes of a loud, brash, or overbearing man-eater of a woman.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
But, let’s be real here.
Because Alpha Females are often successful overachievers who exude confidence, have firm personal boundaries in place, are comfortable in their own skin and have no problem walking away from an unfulfilling relationship— she can seem intimidating.
Further complicating things can be the labels many men receive — such as Alpha males; a term originating from the animal kingdom for males who led other members of a pack, or group. In human terms, Alpha males are sometimes identified as the leaders of a group, who are the attractive, aggressive CEO, polygamous and/or “game player” overt narcissistic type; Beta males who are a genuine “nice guy”; Delta males who are identified as the family-man type who are not overachievers or hugely successful, but are often emotionally stable; and Gamma males who are often identified as rebels, a covert narcissistic type, and may teeter back and forth between pedestalizing and devaluing the women with which they engage.
Research based on status hypotheses suggest many key traits can help separate and identify the characteristics of the hierarchies — the more representative the traits, the more they may be affiliated with a specific hierarchy, or “type”, which may include: intellectualism, introversion/extroversion, altruism, the desire for admiration, a high need for belongingness, well-being, power, conformity/nonconformity, socialization/no need for socialization, wisdom/values, and financial success.
This is not to suggest that ‘all’ men fit neatly into these categories. No person can be compartmentalized into a neat labeled box because of individual differences, regardless of whether they identify as male or female.
What Is An Alpha Female?
She is a highly confident and ambitious female who doesn’t identity with male or female prescribed gender ‘roles’. She is talented, often highly educated and no-nonsense. Recent research has identified several traits that are specific to Alpha Females versus Beta (non-alpha) Females, which include having more predominately “masculine” traits such as playing a dominant role in initiating sex, lower levels of introversion, higher motivation, exceptional goal-setting skills, high self-esteem, high overall life satisfaction, high leadership skills, outspoken, and with more sexual experience (Sumra, 2019).
Similarly, she is often labeled as inspiring to others, a natural born leader, a realist, and has a low threshold for drama. Alpha Females are loyal to those who’ve earned her trust, passionate about her values and is consistently bettering herself whether it’s through continuing education, emotional/personal growth or physical ability. What can make her intimidating to others is her high resiliency to push forward in achieving her goals, her lack of fear of being alone, and in remaining true to herself.
While these are healthy traits and attributes to have, they can make having a relationship with an Alpha Woman more of a challenge because of her non-conformist ideals and the gendered-type role reversal. Alpha Females don’t require a more dominant male to care for her, she’s more invested in egalitarianism.
While most of us may have a long list of qualities and attributes that define our ‘ideal’ partner, the Alpha Female’s list is often quite short and direct.
The Alpha Female’s Partner
Integrity. Alpha Females are forward-focused and think of others. Their integrity is seen in their work ethic, their ability to multi-task and their passion and fierce loyalty to their loved ones. In a partner, she looks for the same — someone whose ideals are in sync with hers, who isn’t afraid to take risks to achieve their emotional and personal growth, and who values authenticity.
Time management. Because Alpha Females are career-driven, her time is often limited. She is usually juggling work, education and personal time on a daily basis. In a partner, she looks at how adaptable they are, how career-driven they are, and their ability to work hard and play hard, often simultaneously. It is not uncommon for an Alpha Female to take her work with her on vacation or on her down-time. An ideal partner is seen as someone who is understanding of her goals, but who can also help her unwind while remembering the importance of balance, when necessary.
Confidence. In a partner, confidence (not to be confused with arrogance or superficiality) is important. She often values a partner who is equally confident in their own skin, their own abilities, who allows her freedom to make her own choices, and supports her unconditionally, but is not seen as clingy or overprotective. To an Alpha Female, confidence is when a partner complements her drive, her motivation and her abilities, but doesn’t feel the need to compete with her.
Loyalty and Trust. Alpha Females don’t have time for games or the b.s. that some partners can play such as cheating, “discards”, ghosting, a push-pull relationship dynamic, emotional unavailability, or superficial and shallow relationships. When these red flags are seen once, there usually isn’t a second time. Loyalty is gauged by how unmoved or un-intimidated a partner is by her goals or desire for growth, but also someone who doesn’t bore her into complacency.
When an Alpha Female is invested in a partner, she is fiercely loyal and expects the same from her partner. Mutual understandings that business meetings or other obligations may create missed calls, or being late to dinner, but at the forefront should be loyalty that her goals are equally as important as her partner’s.
Positively Challenge Her. Alpha Females embrace positive challenge — self-improvement, personal growth, business and education. They want to evolve and better themselves and seek similar in a partner. She often enjoys positively challenging her partner by pushing them to become self-aware, to break through emotional or mental plateaus, and to engage in self-improvement with her. Balance is key here — enough challenge to motivate, but not too much as to distract or to become unmotivated.
To Listen and Be Heard. Communication is essential with an Alpha Female, because her life is usually going a thousand-miles-an-hour. Miscommunication can lead to unnecessary problems, which she likely doesn’t have time to deal with. Thus, active listening is a skill that many Alpha Females posses, and they also have expectations to be equally heard. When miscommunication arises, they are solution-driven.
At the end of the day, the roles may have reversed, but the rules for a happy and fulfilling relationship haven’t.
Anderson, C., Hildreth, J.A., Howland, L. (2015). Is the desire for status a fundamental human motive? A review of the empirical literature. Psychological Bulletin, 141, 574–601.
Sumra, M. (2019). Masculinity, femininity, and leadership: Taking a closer look at the alpha female. PLoS ONE, 14(4), 1–32.
Sumra, M. K., & Schillaci, M. A. (2015). Stress and the Multiple-Role Woman: Taking a Closer Look at the “Superwoman.” PLoS ONE, 10(3), 1–24.
This post was previously published on Medium.com.
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