Do you know what a “beta male” is? In the animal kingdom, male animals are divided between “alpha” and “beta”; alphas are the dominant males in the group, who get most of the females and resources, while betas are submissive and fight it out for the leftover women and resources that the alpha doesn’t want.
In humans, the distinctions are more complex, and some researchers don’t particularly like the whole “alpha” and “beta” distinctions in people. However, in humans there are still confident leaders and less confident followers.
In humans, this isn’t necessarily about physical dominance (size) but about social dominance (communication abilities, charm, confidence, and leadership skills).
Nonetheless, being a “beta male” is not necessarily a good thing. A beta male is a “follower” in life. He lacks confidence, and is shy and passive (meaning he goes with the flow and doesn’t stand up for himself).
He isn’t very mentally or physically tough, and is anxious a lot, because he is uncomfortable around people. Little things work him up. But, all of this comes from the fact that he lacks confidence and is insecure. His self-esteem is low, which is why he always worries what people think of him. He comes across as “nice,” but when a girl rejects him, watch and see how “nice” he is to her after that. He goes from hopeless romantic to angry creep in a matter of seconds when a girl he likes rejects him.
It goes without saying that bullying victims are insecure, but I’ll go one step further: bullies themselves are as well.
Who picks on others? It isn’t guys who are confident and feel good about themselves. People that are insecure and struggling socially feel the need to pick on others. This is why I honestly believe that bullying is a way that beta males establish a pecking order.
To put it more simply, male bullies are insecure people trying to get a little security by picking on someone who may be (or at least come across as) more insecure.
In fact a recent scientific study found just that: bullies are often guys with lower social status picking on guys with even lower social status.
If either of these describe you (an insecure bully or someone who is bullied), the solution comes in becoming a different type of male: the alpha male, the leader. Why? The study I linked to above found that people at the top of the social ladder don’t bully others because they have no need to compete for status like lower guys do.
The term “alpha male” has been applied to all sorts of guys, from the grunting jock to a company CEO. We define anybody who is a good leader as an alpha. A good leader doesn’t bully. In fact, a good leader attracts and inspires others rather than bullying them to do something. He doesn’t exclude people (except perhaps insecure bullies!) because he knows that to lead, you have to have followers. A good leader also takes care of the people he leads, so he looks out for the needs of others.
So, rather than picking on weaker guys, an alpha male or true leader leads weaker guys and takes them into his “tribe.” A real leader is never bullied, at least not for very long, because his confidence and humor prevent it. He either wins over the bullies, or else confidently stands up to them.
Unfortunately, the “solution” to bullying, at least in schools, is to often “punish the bully” and/or “protect the victim.” Neither really solves the problem, because remember the bully is just as insecure as the victim. Punishment isn’t going to teach a bully how to communicate, develop self-confidence, relate to others, use charm or logic rather than aggression, or other social and emotional skills he desperately needs. And, rescuing the victim every time he is picked on isn’t going to teach the victim how to develop those same skills.
The best way to end bullying is to teach both bullies and victims the skills that make you the type of guy who doesn’t bully but who also doesn’t get bullied, the leader. You may not become a leader overnight, but by improving your social and emotional skills (what this website and our book The Teen Popularity Handbook is all about), you’ll find that suddenly you have no need to pick on others, and that people are picking on you less and less as your reactions to them go from anxious to relaxed and funny.