If you’re like me and you spend way too much time online, then chances are you’ve come across the term: ‘alpha female’.
The idea has attracted its fair share of criticism. Some say it’s not real, it’s a myth. Others will tell you that it’s a bad thing. That it’s toxic, it’s backward. That she is lonely. She’s cold, cruel, and undesirable.
Or maybe it comes down to biology. She is the yardstick for menstrual synchrony. We mark our calendars according to her cycles. She is the Wellesley effect.
In this article, I want to explore how the term really means none of these things. The alpha female is strong, confident, a great leader but an even better friend and partner. I want to share how anyone can become one and why you should want to!
What is an alpha female?
You might have heard someone say ‘it takes an alpha to know an alpha’. If that’s true, then by the end of this article, you’ll be a certified alpha. Congratulations.
Sifting through all the use and misuse of the term to figure out what it really means can be difficult and timely, but fortunately, I’ve done that for you.
Firstly, there’s the stuff you’re familiar with. She’s strong, she’s independent, and highly-motivated. She doesn’t suffer fools and she’s true to herself and her values.
But then there’s the less obvious stuff. It’s these things that are often left out of the conversation and it’s these things that really make her worth aspiring to.
She is compassionate. She’s empathetic, she’s comfortable taking the backseat and listening in conversation and she is open with her weaknesses and vulnerabilities.
The true alpha female is loyal to her friends and her partner, she is firm in her boundaries but she will always respect yours. She holds you to a high standard because she wants the best out of you and, in return, she expects you to do the same. She’s loyal and she is selective with who she lets into her life. Once you’re in, you’re in.
Being an alpha isn’t so much about doing. It’s more about stripping back, it’s about the things she doesn’t do. It’s about living naturally. It’s about being yourself, wholly and completely.
So with that said, let’s start with things the alpha female doesn’t do.
1. Let other people or things determine her future;
The alpha isn’t easily swayed by what others want. She has clear, realistic goals geared toward her needs and wants. She has taken the time to get to know herself and armed with this knowledge, she knows what she wants to achieve, how she’s going to get there, and what/who to avoid on her way there.
This doesn’t mean that, as an alpha, you can’t listen to the advice of others. In fact, by being selective with who you let into your inner circle, and by having honest conversations, you can trust more deeply that their advice is designed with your best interests in mind.
The true alpha is strong enough to really consider outside advice and opinions but in the end, she knows what is best for herself and she holds herself responsible for her own actions.
2. Settle for toxic partners;
A person is toxic when they tend to act with inauthenticity to better their image at the expense of another. It might take the form of false bravado, passive aggression, or emotional insecurity. The toxic person wears different hats depending on the circumstances and is out of touch with his or her true self.
By knowing herself, the alpha female can spot these types. She knows what it looks like to live truthfully because she, herself, lives by her own values. She can identify toxic patterns of behavior. She won’t accept the silent treatment. She won’t let in someone who refuses to take accountability.
She knows that growth requires honesty. It means accepting her shortcomings and making an effort to work on them. She wants a partner who she can inspire and challenge, but she won’t give her time and energy away to a hopeless ‘fixer-upper’.
3. Unconditionally approve of her friend’s actions;
The alpha’s approval isn’t unconditional. She is fiercely loyal, but she won’t give herself away to someone whose heart isn’t in the right place. If she feels a friend isn’t being true to him or herself, she will tell you and she expects you to be able to receive it because she has your interests at heart.
She is never unnecessarily harsh and she is never cruel. She doesn’t enjoy being tough on her friends but she will do it when it’s necessary because the alternative (i.e. watching you fall short of your potential) is more painful.
She understands that loyalty is not blind faith in your every action. It’s taking the time to understand your needs and wants and holding you accountable to those aims when the path forward seems unclear.
4. Try to appear invincible;
‘Big girls don’t cry’. That might be the most toxic arrangement of four words ever spoken.
Being vulnerable and speaking openly about your sensitivities, your weaknesses and past failures are incredibly difficult for a reason: it takes a truly strong person to do it well.
There’s a difference between wallowing in your shortcomings and acknowledging them to improve. The alpha doesn’t share her vulnerabilities to evoke pity or to indulge in self-defeat. She does it because she knows that understanding her weaknesses is essential to improving upon them.
The desire to appear invincible is a red flag in the eyes of the alpha female. It is human and it is OK, but it comes from insecurity. We try to appear perfect when we simply can’t tolerate the idea of others acknowledging our vulnerabilities.
It takes confidence and self-esteem to handle that kind of criticism.
5. Cheat or tolerate cheating.
Disloyalty, to the alpha female, is the biggest sin. It’s the hardest quality to forgive and the easiest one to condemn. We’ve mentioned that the alpha female is selective with who she invites into her life. This isn’t because she is overly judgmental or exclusive, but because she understands the cost of disloyalty.
For her, every strong relationship is based on trust and a blow to that foundation risks destroying it altogether.
Cheating can take many forms. It can be emotional or it can be physical. To the alpha female, though they might appear more or less flagrant, it all comes from the same place. It’s a weakness of character that makes any relationship a potential liability.
If she finds herself increasingly tempted towards cheating, she knows the relationship is under stress and would sooner have the tough conversation than act disloyally.
So what does all that mean for the alpha female? What does not doing the above allow the her to do?
1. Love her life by living authentically;
By living by your own values and desires, you’ll naturally achieve things that really matter to you. As an alpha, you will self-author and, with clearly defined goals, you will maximize your potential.
Admittedly, that might sound a bit airy-fairy. A bit self-help guru 101. To be clear, it’s not that life for the alpha is free from challenge and doubt, but if you act in accordance with your own interests, at least you will be able to say that your failures are your own. You fell down in the pursuit of something that really matters to you.
It really is more than most can say.
2. Have stronger and more honest relationships.
How many times have you, or someone you know, pretended to be cool with ‘keeping it casual’ to please a guy, wanting to believe he would change his mind at some point down the road? Did he?
Now, what if you’d been honest? Sure, it might not have worked out but at least you’d know it simply wasn’t meant to be. Instead, maybe you felt ashamed for not being honest at the outset. Or maybe it made you resent him a little for not coming around. Maybe you even started feeling like you were lying to yourself.
You knew he wasn’t going to change, but you went along with the ride just in case.
This is totally natural and even the most seasoned alphas fall down occasionally, but the important thing is realizing that the cost of being honest from the start is a lot cheaper than doing it in a month, or two months. Of course, there’s the risk that the guy will say whatever you need to hear just to win you, but at least that way you both know he was in the wrong!
The alpha doesn’t people-please. She can change her energy to match the situation but she won’t tell a guy what he wants to hear just so he might like her more. She doesn’t ignore red flags in the hope that they will go away and she doesn’t doubt her ability to detect a trickster.
When she sets a boundary, she makes it clear so that if it’s overstepped she doesn’t have to wonder if she should have made herself clearer!
She can be forgiving and empathetic, but she won’t let herself be degraded by someone who doesn’t value her. She knows that a high-value man is someone who listens and who knows when a rule is a rule, and a boundary is a boundary.
This doesn’t mean she doesn’t feel deeply. It doesn’t mean she won’t make herself vulnerable for the right person. It doesn’t mean she won’t attach herself to her partner. She is comfortable expressing her femininity and she will nurture and be nurtured, but it must be earned. It is painful for her to end a relationship but she knows that staying in a bad situation will hurt her even more.
If the above doesn’t feel like you, then take courage from the fact that anyone can become an alpha female. It isn’t easy and it might feel awkward or scary but you deserve it.
You deserve to live authentically. To be wholly yourself. To expect people to honor who you really are and to enjoy relationships which bring out the very best in you and in them!