Let us say this first:
Many people get it wrong.
And, often, being too intransigent on “being alpha” or “as high power as possible”, will cost you.
This article explains the limitations of the “alpha male game” and more effective alternatives and mindsets.
- What’s The “Alpha Male Game”
- Example 1: She Cancels, I Change Plans Just For Her… And Then Everything Changed
- Example 2: Alpha-Behaving Man Stays “High Power” But Loses, Beta-Behaving Man Gets The Girl
- Example 3: Alpha Male Loses to Non-Alpha Player
- When Alpha Game Works
What’s The “Alpha Male Game”
First off, it’s important to separate the two:
Alpha male traits and game are two different things.
It’s the approach to “game” as in the sense of “courtship and dating” that is not always the most universally effective -at least as some pundits in the red pill and dating advice community promote it-.
There is no definition for “alpha male game”, but it often entails:
- Focus on yourself first and women will come: women are hypergamous and chase higher SMV men
- Put “your mission” above women and dating
- Date high-power and dominant, generally great advice, but sometimes taken to self-defeating extremes including:
- Put yourself first, asshole dating style
- Men come first, women must submit and be feminine (slightly male-chauvinist approach)
- Be stoic
- Don’t show feelings, don’t catch feelings
- Use “dread game”, make her fear losing you, which can be effective, but rarely leads to strong win-win partnership and can also lead to toxic relationships and vicious cycles of “I hurt you, you hurt me, I… ”
- Keep her chasing your validation
- Respect yourself and your values first and foremost, a generally solid advice
- Never accept direspect
- Invest as little as possible, especially before sex, also see “alpha fucks, beta bucks”
- Do cheap dates so you don’t become a provider
- Always “next her” after X amount of days/dates
- Avoid committed relationships
- Alphas sleep around and/or maintain a harem
- Don’t get married (sensible advice, often)
Generally speaking, for many guys, some of those entries are great advice.
If you’re one of those “too nice guys” and follow the “alpha male approach to dating” and you have some basic social skills and game, you probably will do OK.
However, this approach hits a ceiling at a certain point, and it’s not the highest form of game, and neither the most effective.
The Limitations of “Alpha Male Game”: Strategic Beats “Iron Rules”
“Be Like Water”, says Greene in The 48 Laws of Power.
That’s his last rule.
And, Robert Greene being the smart strategist he is, knows that the “laws” were for marketing mostly.
So, with his last “law”, he puts a huge caveat on all previous “laws” and he basically says: everything is contextual and there are no “law”.
So, to get to the next level, you truly need to move beyond these “laws”, find your own way to win, and change strategy and approach as you go.
And the same applies to the alpha male game.
Most limitations become apparent when the model becomes too intransigent or black and white (as it’s often the case with its proponents).
Such as, when it:
- Fails to carve exceptions
- Fails to adapt to context and personalities
- Fails to adapt to life phases -for example, phases when you need to prioritize dating-
- Becomes a caricature of an alpha male, instead of a high-quality, great all-around “catch”
- Seeks power over results (the two overlap but are far from the same)
For example, the “alpha male approach” doesn’t work if:
- Your goal is to sleep with as many women as possible. Albeit some men deep down seek the “alpha male game” to sleep with more women -and while some others deny so to themselves-, this approach isn’t effective for that because if your goal is to sleep around, then women are a priority of yours (and there is nothing inherently wrong with that)
- Your goal is to get into a relationship with a high-quality woman, same as above, in that case, dating is your priority
- Your goal is to get a specific woman, and albeit we may argue on whether that’s a good goal or not -and yes, often it’s not-, exceptions always apply. And if you seek a specific woman, that may require bending those rules (see examples below)
- Your goal is to get the best woman you can get, even if that means being (temporarily) low power with dating strategies that include, for example, using your money, pursuing her hard, or starting out as a friend while her main relationship is on the rocks (of course, this requires some skills and game, so you can’t just be a platonic friend, but it’s certainly possible to be the “cool friend” the girl falls in love with)
The point above is what some men don’t get: if you prioritize goal achievement, it doesn’t matter how you achieve that goal.
Of course, ideally, it would be better if she chased you, if she pined after you, if she paid for you, etc. etc. but “ideally” is not how you win in the real world.
Let’s now review some real-life case studies:
Example 1: She Cancels, I Change Plans Just For Her… And Then Everything Changed
In this example:
- She cancels on me
- I agree with her new day right away (on a Saturday, no less)
- I make other plans on Saturday because I don’t think it’ll happen anyway
- I change my plans just to meet her
Her: so sorry (cancels the date), can we don on Saturday?
Her: I arrived, we will meet today at 6:30, right? (<—- takes half for granted that we’re still on)
Me: (forgot about it because I gave it low odds and made other plans, but canceled them to accommodate her)
You’ll notice this isn’t that bad because she’s apologetic and investing.
And that’s part of the issue with any “rule” and with the black-and-white thinking of some coaches: the effective way of dating looks at shades of grey and the nuances of communication and power dynamics.
Yes, I still lost some power and leverage with her canceling, but not too much. Nothing that a good date couldn’t fix -and turn around-.
I was still in the game with solid chances.
And that’s the whole point: I date to achieve my objectives, not to be “high power”, and albeit there’s most certainly a good overlap between the two, the two aren’t always and exactly the same.
And there’s more “non-alphaness” in this story:
I was very happy to meet her because I liked her, I was quite sad when she canceled, and I was elated when she reapparead.
This breaks so many rules of alpha male dating: prioritizing the girl, canceling plans to accommodate the girl, and high emotional investment.
But then, guess what…
The Tables Turn With One Single, Well-Executed Date
Guess what happened after?
I met her, ran the perfect date (as per Seduction University model), and got together with her.
She was one of those girls that can’t touch alcohol and on our second date, with just two glasses, she was too drunk to be of any good company.
So I sent her home (if I ensure her safety and safe return, it’s fair for me to not want to spend more time with someone).
But she forgot something and look what she writes:
Her: don’t worry, I’ll go home
Think about the sub-communication of that.
The dynamic is her seeking prolonged interactions, me not wanting, and her worried to bother me.
The sub-communication is that I’m so much higher value, that her presence may be a nuisance to me.
Look at that how the power dynamics inverted.
Now I’m the prize.
Guess who’s never going to cancel a date going forward because I’ll be her top priority.
The general principle here is: just because you start dating lower power or more “beta” doesn’t mean you stay low-power or beta.
And the same can be said of some transitions and phases during courtship, dating, and even relationships: phases of lower power during courtship mean little when you can correct the dynamics going forward.
As a matter of fact, the higher your value and better your game, the more you can break the “alpha rules” and win.
As a general rule, unless you’re famous you will hardly be top-priority for an-indemand woman until you meet in person, date, and gain some leverage with in-person exposure.
This is only one example, but it’s no major exception.
I have a ton of stories and real-life experiences similar to this one.
As a matter of fact, breaking another “alpha rule”, for a good chunk of my dating life I prioritized women above almost anything else.
Example 2: Alpha-Behaving Man Stays “High Power” But Loses, Beta-Behaving Man Gets The Girl
- I cold-approached her
- Quick instant date before we proceed with our own plans
- Good first “real” date in the first part
- Brought her back, but no intimacy -a major strike, but it isn’t my first rodeo and when I realized the chances of immediate intimacy were low but future intimacy possible, I followed SU’s model for these cases and maximized whatever you can get without intimacy. She explains she’s in a long-distance relationship, but not going well.
- Went out again for a drink with a “BF/GF frame”, she grabbed my arm, we kissed, I made it romantic, and she was all over me. Still not the best scenario that she then went home, but no early intimacy is less of an issue when women are considering branch-switching. Plus:
- Day after she chases hard to spend more time together:
- Day after we meet for a second date and I plan to use the groceries to bring her back again and get intimate
- She doesn’t follow me into my room and in the elevator she presses her own floor number
- She reaches out again, but...
- I don’t reply and decide not to make myself available for the day:
I didn’t want to be at her beck and call and, on paper, that followed the “alpha male dating” approach.
She didn’t put out, and I stopped giving her my time.
Problem is, this was a very high-in-demand girl.
Plus, power-aware, and quite high-power (she knew the game, and she felt slighted for being ignored).
And, funny enough, alpha female she wants to be, she did the same mistake as her alpha male counterparts: she prioritized power over her (original) preference.
IF you wanted to get this woman, the alpha male approach fails more often than it works.
One of you has to compromise, at least a little bit.
But since this is an article for men, let’s focus on the male side.
When you’re meeting very high-in demand girls and you’re not a celebrity, or when you meet a girl who may be a bit above your sexual market value, it’s often best to take your chances, even if means a little loss of power, and then do your best to capitalize on them (as long as you’re not too low power, and/or still have some chances, of course: as for everything, balance).
By this point, I still did have some chances.
After I bought her back but didn’t get intimate I was more in “possible boyfriend” category rather than a lover, and in a competition against the current boyfriend for possible replacement (see here to understand the different dating roles).
That would have made early intimacy a bit more challenging, but she was still into me, still highly invested, still initiating contact herself, so… Doable.
For me, at least…
Beta Male & “Plan B Guy” Swoops In
Now, enter the “plan B guy”:
Alpha Male Strategies says “never be the plan B guy”, and it’s actually a good video.
And, again, that general principle can make sense (if you’re clueless or if you’re being a sucker).
But “never be the plan B guy” only makes sense as long as you can be the plan A, got plenty of other equally good options, and/or don’t care much about this specific woman.
Otherwise, being the plan B guy is only a problem if you have an ego and if you prioritize defending that ego.
If you prioritize achieving your goal instead of feeling good about “being alpha”, then it’s all a matter of odds, and the “plan B guy” can have respectable odds of success.
Or, at least, enough odds to make sense and “stay in the game” as the plan B guy (or, more rarely, even plan C or D).
Chances aren’t that bad that the plan A guy turns out not to be that great, on the way out, or not interested.
Plus, if you get some face time, you always have the chance of “growing” on the girl with confidence, skills, game, and personality.
So, again, the more skilled and confident that “plan B” guy is, the better his odds of becoming “plan A” guy.
The (Major) Limitations of “Only Accepting Plan A”
- Severely limiting for less physically attractive guys because you’ll rarely be the #1 option at first sight.
Example: my first taller girlfriend plainly told me that, dating-wise, the first time she saw it was like I didn’t exist to her. Fast forward a few months, I was picking up calls of a crying woman pleading to get back together (not saying this for some weak bragging, but to show you a real life examples of how dynamics can change)
- A skilled “plan B” guy can easily become “plan AAA”. Similar as above and just like our example showed.
Display your qualities in a social circle (as with my ex) or aave a great date as a “plan B guy” (as the example above), get intimate, have great post-date conversation and bonding, meet again… And now you’re top of the list, one of the best she’s ever met, even
- To date high(er) quality girls you need to put ego aside, focus on efficiency, and sometimes make the most with “plan B” odds. It’s just simple social as well as sexual exchange dynamics dating more attractive women, when they don’t how awesome you are. If you don’t, you can maximize power, but not returns.
Yes, you may get laid if you’re a high-value man, but you can only consistently be “plan A” when you’re getting lower SMV women
- To always only be “plan A” means you’re playing it easy and dating below your potential just to pamper your own ego: you’re not challenging yourself, you’re dating lower-value women, and you’re truly missing out on the higher-value women.
If I had only and stubbornly be “plan A” I wouldn’t have dated half of the women I did. And missed out on some of the best ones
- You have your own plan A/B/C… you may have your own different women and goals you’re juggling, each one with a different level of priority.
It’s just how life goes.
Our “Plan C” Guy… Got The Girl
As a matter of fact, let’s go back to our example.
The guy in this example wasn’t even a plan B.
I was more like a plan B -maybe for a few hours of infatuation even the top option, albeit of course that means little unless you capitalize on it-.
This other guy was more like a plan C, taken over when I ignored her.
Plan C guy wasn’t exactly dating like an alpha male.
I saw him in the lobby looking worried and nervous, going from the check-in desk to security looking for an umbrella.
It was barely drizzling when I saw him outside walking super slow and holding the umbrella for missy branch switch. The two looked out of a scene from a 19th-century romantic movie, with him as the white knight.
Later in the evening as I sat with another date outside I saw the two again coming back, probably from dinner, and they sat outside and talked the whole time.
Overall, he looked like over-investing, and obviously didn’t mind spending a lot of time with her.
You Only Need Enough Power & Value, Not “As Much As Possible”
But Plan C probably wasn’t a total loser.
He had enough value, and was available (contrary to me).
That matters to women who are looking for a relationship -including switching to a new relationship-.
And guess what, in the end, I think he got more than his foot in the door.
Here they are going up together:
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, lucky me, they were both in my hotel (and I was in the lobby waiting for another date).
Now one may say this was all great, that I don’t need that game-playing, fast-switching “hoe”, and that I dated effectively.
And that’d be a great point.
I even (in good part) agree with that.
But when it comes to effectiveness, it truly really depends on your goals.
And when it comes to romance and seduction, then the rules change.
For example, if you seek:
- Challenge of getting the “hard to get woman” (even if it’s only hard for you, at this point in your life)
- Challenge of turning around the “difficult situation”
- Learning experience
- A specific woman, for whatever reason…
- Seduction and romance
Then it often makes sense to trade off some power in exchange for meeting in person, “staying in the game”, and doing your best to make good things happen.
Seducers Break The (“Alpha”) Rules
Casanova, for example, chased women and lavished them with gifts.
And even in this case study, if I had kept seeing her, I would have probably gotten together with her -and deeply seduced her, too-.
That type of “fast dating” she was pursuing indeed often leads to swooning and deep romance. As a matter of fact, it would have been the perfect way of keeping up our romance from the day before fresh, alive… And growing.
That’s the other issue of “alpha male dating”: to sweep women off their feet and to truly seduce hearts and minds you often need to break the rules (Prioleau, 2014).
Chasing Is Low-ish Odds, But Higher Than Zero (& Sometimes, It Makes Sense)
Chasing and “heavy courtship” overlap.
However, if you can “chase smart”, then your odds go up by a lot.
Let’s see now a separate example, but very much related.
When I was green and inexperienced, a girl I was seeing moved out of the city.
And, as it’s often the case for inexperienced guys with not so many options, it was only then I realized how much I needed and wanted her.
Problem is, she had started dating a new guy in the new city.
I fell apart, but resolved to do all I could to “get her back”.
And… I chased like a b*tch.
Texting, sending songs, pictures, reminding her how well we got along… The whole spiel, and more.
If she had been dating a super cool guy, probably it wouldn’t have worked.
But since the new guy wasn’t so cool and my ex was the type of girl who very much prefers relationships, the “heavy courtship type” -the smarter version of “chasing guy”- isn’t as damaging because it sub-communicates “relationship and high-investment” -yes, betas fuck too, sometimes-.
Of course this isn’t the best position you can find yourself in, we all know that -albeit you can improve the odds if you chase smart, of course-.
And I may even discourage guys today from going for it.
HOWEVER, for me back in the day, with few options, facing huge hurdles in dating, and a still fresh ex I liked and wanted, it was the best possible course of action.
What should have I done, “maintain my dignity” and protect my ego but remain single and celibate, when I didn’t want to stay single?
I’m so glad I didn’t do that and it was all a great learning experience.
So… It made sense to chase.
Result: we got back together.
And, with time, I also re-acquired lots of power -till one day she even said “you’re the leader in the relationship, albeit I didn’t necessarily thought so-.
Example 3: Alpha Male Loses to Non-Alpha Player
AMS is actually a solid coach, but that “alpha male way of dating” does NOT maximize your odds of success.
So, for this example… Storytime!
I was at a social event.
Upstairs there was only me and another guy left.
He was one of the most stereotypical “alpha male types” I’d ever met. A former marine with combat experience in Iraq, he seemed to follow the “alpha male strategy” to a T.
He’d mostly wait for people to talk to him first or bring him into the conversation.
When he spoke, he spoke slowly and deeply. He’d flout social conventions and live by his own rules when he’d pour his own wine from his bag because the house wine was bad -on that one, he was right-.
And heaped a ton of social pressure on others when he’d stare without talking or blinking, and put pressure on them to speak first.
Well, that night there was me and he left.
I liked the guy and we got to talk quite a bit -we even exchanged some Facebook comments from time to time-.
There was also a group of three women downstairs though.
They were all by themselves.
So when I went to the bathroom downstairs I approached their table socially, talked a bit, teased them lightly, laughed with them… And then invited them upstairs.
They gladly followed me and joined me and the alpha type.
Notice already that the “alpha type” would have walked by and minded his own business -and yes, that may have been higher power, in a way, but it was also not very effective if one seeks dating opportunities-.
Once upstairs, the girl I was interested in sat next to me and we talked to each other.
The two of us got so engaged in our conversation that I almost felt it was weird -I had meant it to make it more “social”, but us two just got so deep that we ignored everyone else-.
But what made it really weirder was that the alpha male type wasn’t doing anything to converse with the other two.
So it was me and the girl next to me engaged in deep conversation, and these other three across the table who sat with long and endless silences.
By the time the girls left, I had agreed on a date with the girl next to me and we exchanged contacts -and we met some days later-.
The alpha type asked to exchange contact with another girl in the group right before they left -poor timing-.
Notice how different the dynamics: me and the girl next to me exchanged contacts within the frame that we liked each other and we will meet again -the contact was to arrange the logistics-. She had also invested a lot in the interaction and opened up about herself.
The alpha male type exchanged contact within the frame that the two of them had no affinity for each other.
Funny enough, ultimately, he chased.
He chased because the girl never invested, and he never qualified the girl.
Sure, she may be interested in him anyway if she found him attractive -or if she’s into the silent and dominant types-. But that’s not how you should think, because if he was attractive PLUS made it a nice experience, he’d be dating far more effectively.
And of course, he wouldn’t have even had that slim chance if there wasn’t someone -me- who made the approach first.
In brief, the high-power alpha type is best at gaining respect from men but it’s not nearly as effective for your dating life.
In fresh and transitory group socialization, a mixture of higher-energy (without overdoing it!), higher investment, and higher warmth will do a lot better.
When Alpha Game Works
The alpha male game works best in:
- Stable and longer-term social groups
- Groups with lots of men and fewer men
That’s because, in stable social groups, alpha males gain high status and become some of the highest prized men -plus, they become a “known entity”, and don’t even need to be warmer in the beginning-.
Women are then far more likely to take the initiative -even if the alpha male broods, talk little, or seems mostly interested in his own life or mission-.
It’s also effective against other men within the same group since lower-status men tend to consider the most attractive women as “for the alphas” (men who focus on fighting and size to get girls get it wrong because they focus on intimidating men, rather than getting girls).
These environments include anything that resembles social-circle dynamics, including:
- High school
- Small colleges -NOT big ones!-
- Periodically meeting clubs / gatherings (at least once a week)
- Gangs (but remember: there are few if any attractive women in violent groups)
For example, in high school, I carved a reputation as a rebel-type.
Not an alpha by any means, but still “cool enough” to earn some status, reputation, and a “cool factor vibe”.
Even without approaching, I had enough status and attention to receive several bids and advances from women.
That actually ill-prepared me for life after high school.
When I moved to a big city and huge college, even though at first I was even more rebel, that didn’t work anymore -not one bit-.
The alpha male game is much similar.
Nobody will chase you in a big, transient, and anonymous city just because you’re “chasing your mission”, spreading out when you sit, or thinking of yourself as an “alpha”.
The alpha male approach to dating is 100x better than low-power, “too nice guys” and “beta males“.
So if you still need to get your power, charisma, personality, and self-confidence in order, then, by all means, do work on that first -and this article may not be for you just yet-.
However, at a certain point, the alpha male approach hits a ceiling, and to do better, you need to bend it, refine it, and sometimes even ditch it.
In the end, the alpha male approach is good.
But the strategic, “maximize your odds” approach always beats any other system and “rule”.
And the strategic approach has no rules and no labels to uphold.
It does what’s best to achieve your goals, no matter whether it’s “alpha”, “beta”, or anything in between.