Thursday, March 6, 2008

Being the Alpha Male

If you’ve ever really analyzed your interactions with you guy friends, you’ll notice that, quite often, there’s a power struggle. There’s always a competition who can be the alpha male. Some guys are better at hiding their fight to the top than others, but the fight to the top is always there. This struggle can take the form of a drinking competition, videogames, sports, table seating, etc. Being the alpha of the group means that others will be motivated by you and constantly seek your approval. When it comes to making plans, others will want to go where you’re going and will put confidence in your decision making. If this sounds like something you’d like, this just may be the article for you.

There’s a very fine line between being the dominant member of the group and making a total jackass of yourself. The same principles of the wolf pack apply but, since we’re dealing with humans, we have to tone everything down and reduce every action to the subconscious. 

Head seat 
When possible, take the head seat of the table. The fact that you can see everyone else while have to turn their head to others in order to see you is a subtle sign that you are the main attraction and feature of the table. When in another’s house, always remember to allow the host to have the head. In this situation, sit either on the right of the host or at the seat opposite to the head. These are the spots that will most likely put you in the direct attention of the pack. When you’re at a restaurant and sitting at a large table, take the middle seat. The end seats are usually left out of the big conversations while the middle seats get the most face time and are where both ends look. 

Unfortunately, when a bunch of guys get together for some hearty drinking at a bar, they revert to a Neanderthal state. Your ability to drink and keep your cool is how you are gauged as a man. In a situation like this, remember to have your chasers and not be drinking on an empty stomach. To further your sobriety training, check out my previous post about “Building A Tolerance.” If you don’t feel yourself able to drink more than your chums, don’t try. You’ll only make yourself look stupid. Instead, focus on staying charismatic. Let your friends become drunken idiots as you egg them on to drink more while you nurse your beer.

Body Language
Most of what you’re saying to your friends isn’t coming out of your mouth. Your body language is letting out more information about your feelings than you’ll ever discuss. Here are some crucial points to remember:

-Never slouch You want to show your full height. In our primitive history, the leader of the pack was the strongest, biggest and, therefore, tallest. People have a natural respect and generally expect better leadership from a taller individual.

-Keep your hands away from your mouth This shows others that you’re trying to hide yourself and aren’t truly confident. Your hands should either be at your sides, resting on your hips or simply in the crossed arm position.

-Avoid holding objects in front of you Any object held in front of you is seen as a barrier behind which you're hiding. A truely fearless alpha doesn't need to create symbolic shields. 

-Keep at least 1 hand free When you're in a situation where you're leading a conversation yet you still welcome the input of others, the best possible position is one hand in the pocket with the thumb sticking out. The fact that you chose to withdraw a hand from visibility implies that you welcome another hand in the game. The reason for showing your thumb is so, firstly, you don't look like you're nervously fidgeting with something. Secondly, a hand too far into a pocket means that you're hiding something.

When guys get rowdy, we tend to get pretty clear about our masculinity and we have little wrestling match to try and pin one another. Avoid any temptation to wrestle any of your friends when rough housing. Pinning someone won’t make you dominant; you’ll just be creating yourself a passive-aggressive enemy within the group that will annoy you later. Even the dominant male in the wolf pack has an enforcer to do his thug work. When you’re dealing with a group of friends, you want them to respect you, not fear you. Leading by fear means people just won’t want you around. Leading by respect means people feel that they need you around. 

When talking to someone, never be afraid to look at them in the eye. This shows that you’re superior to them since you aren’t scared of eye contact with. This also shows that you can focus on your speech while also taking in their gaze. When listening to someone, try to avoid direct gaze. This will give off the impression that you’re incorporating other ideas into what’s being said and you’re not so focused on how the speaker feels. Try not to stray your gaze too far. This will make you seem like a cocky douche and, from my experience; people generally don’t like cocky douches.

Whenever you hear someone talk about themselves, that isn’t your opportunity to rush in and relate the conversation to you and how much better you are in the field of whatever’s being spoken. Let’s say, for example, your buddy just took up martial arts and you’ve been practicing it for 5 years now. When he tells you “Hey, I’ve been taking karate classes this past month” that’s not your cue to shove your gloated ass into the conversation by telling him about your background. Instead, ask him how he likes it. Ask him which techniques he’s learned and encourage him to continue. The dominant male isn’t always the center of attention. People will listen to you much more when you’re a character that makes them feel good about themselves. Afterwards, IF he asks if you’ve had any experience in the field, then you have my permission to tell him about your history. Letting him discover it on his own will make it 10x more impressive. Guaranteed. 

In all this, it’s extremely important to remember that these techniques are meant to be directed towards the subconscious. All the guidelines are meant to be acted out in a very subtle and indirect fashion. Exaggerating any of these aspects will make you incredibly annoying and a bigger pompous asshole than anyone could ever imagine. If, however, you manage to play this unspoken power struggle just right; people, though they may not understand why, will see you as the alpha male, look to you for guidance, social cues and mimic your behaviours. Mission accomplished.