Be the most memorable person
in the room.

I'll show you how.

I'm Ready

Get FREE tools to increase your social influence

The Female Alpha

When most people hear the phrase ‘female alpha’ they think of the most attractive, powerful or domineering woman they know. However, female alphas are not so easily recognizable. They might be beautiful or bossy or authoritative, but this is not what defines them.

Female Alpha

The easiest way to spot a female alpha is in a room or group of females. You can easily figure out who the alpha is by observing the following female alpha phenomena:

1. Alpha females are social conductors; non-alpha females are her orchestra.

Next time you are at a party or networking event, try this fascinating experiment: Find a group of three or more females —you do not need to be close enough to hear them, they should just be in your line of sight. Put a five-minute timer on your phone or watch and take note of the direction of the women’s feet. Almost always women point their toes towards the person they are most interested in or who they feel is leading the group’s tempo.  In only five minutes you will be able to see where the majority of the women are pointing their feet. Amazingly, you will notice that most of the women in the group will be pointing towards the same woman–even if they are in a circle and even if that woman is not talking.

2. All females follow the alpha’s social cues.

Once you have an inkling of who the female alpha is of the group, move closer (or, if you are a woman, you can even join the circle). You will notice that the entire group is taking ‘social cues’ from the alpha. Women will hold their body like her, they will talk in the same voice tone and other females will even laugh for the same amount of time as the alpha does. By the way female alpha behavior is harder to spot in a group of mixed sexes—males confuse the female attention spans.

3. When the female alpha leaves, a social vacuum is created.

Another way you can spot the female alpha of a group is by watching how each group member exits. When non-alpha’s leave the group nothing much happens—conversation continues, the gap closes and group members move-on. However, when THE female alpha (and there can only be one, see below for details) you will see something odd happen. Either conversation stops completely and female members look around expectantly for a new alpha, or the group disperses.

4. There are different degrees of female alpha-ness.

Female alpha-hood is not like pregnancy (you are or you aren’t). It is more of a spectrum. Some women have a high tendency to be alpha. They enjoy social conducting, being the leader and/or the center of attention. Some women only like being female alpha’s in their home, but not in the business environment. Some women are only social alphas around certain groups of friends. If you explain the female alpha phenomenon to a woman, she will most likely be able to tell you her ‘degree’ of social alpha-ness. On a ten point scale she might be a seven or a four, for example.

5. There can only be one female alpha per cluster.

What happens when there are two female alphas in an office? One word: Disaster. Or, maybe two words: Disaster and Drama. The female alpha with the higher degree of alpha-ness usually takes charge and the second alpha female backs down–well, seethes, plots revenge and then backs down. In social groups most of the female drama comes when there are two alpha females competing to be the social conductor and non-alpha females (or alpha females to a lesser degree) are not sure who to follow.

6. There must be at least one alpha female.

Oddly, there must only be one alpha female, but there also has to be AT LEAST one. We have all experienced (whether we knew it or not) a group without an alpha female. Men would describe it as ‘awkward,’ ‘weird,’ or ‘boring.’ This is because in a group of women with very low female alpha tendencies no one is sure how to act, what to talk about or the social pace. Female alphas actually have the very important role of social lubrication.

7. Alpha females are social lubrication and business mediators.

We have very little awareness of how important and how much we do in fact rely on female alphas. They bring social ease to a group, they tell jokes, they start conversations, they introduce people, they smooth over business disagreements and take charge. There are many names for them, both good and bad: connectors, chatty, gossipers, queen bees, leaders, bossy, self-centered, the life of the party, social and control freaks.

8. We are groomed to either accept or become female alphas.

In the book. “The Female Brain” by Louann Brizendine, she discusses the evolutionary and biological importance for females to get along and keep harmony in a group. From a very young age girls are taught—far more than boys, to share, cooperate and play fair. Girls get very good at reading other’s emotions and adapting to the tone of a group. Female alphas actually make it easier for a group of girls to interact because there is one unspoken leader. This leader sets the tone for the group and allows girls to get along without having a power struggle.

9. Female Alphas are the top of the hierarchy.

If I had to put a label on the different most typical female roles in group settings, here are what they would be:

Alphas: Leaders

Betas: Side-kicks or enforcers of alpha leadership.

Nu’s: The exact middle letter of the Greek Alphabet, Nu’s are fillers. They provide conversation, gossip and support for the Alpha.

Zeta’s: The jokester, comic relief, clown, goofball of the group. Most groups have a female jester.

Omega’s: (The last letter of the Greek Alphabet) The victims, the bullied, the weaklings or the “C” in a female troika are always picked on or treated with loving condescension. (See my article on Female Troikas)

Sampi’s: (An obsolete letter of the Greek Alphabet, often forgotten) The Invisibles, the forgotten girls whose quiet or shy demeanor often means they are not included or counted.

It is actually very helpful to know the female alphas in your life—or recognize if you in fact are one yourself. You will find yourself appreciating them in awkward social situations or, if you are a female alpha, avoiding other female alphas who challenge you. Do you know the female alphas in your life?

Would you please share this article? Click here to tweet.

Want even more? Check out:

The Body Language of Love and Dating Course

In this course, find relationship success with the nonverbal science of seduction. Learn the subtle romantic signs to decode your date.

  • The Science of Attraction
  • The Nonverbal Science of Flirting
  • Use Body Language to Build a Connection

About Vanessa Van Edwards

Vanessa Van Edwards is a published author and behavioral investigator. She is a Huffington Post columnist and her courses and research has been featured on CNN, Forbes, Business Week and the Wall Street Journal. As a published Penguin author, Vanessa regularly speaks and appears in the media to talk about her research. She is a sought after consultant and speaker.

  • Pingback: The Body Language of Alphas | Science of People()

  • LDancer

    Wow I not a Female Alpha but I think that they are a BIG HELP with awkwardness and help u to feel good about yourself

  • Caroline

    Their salaries are bigger, their heels are higher and they never slave over a hot stove. Meet the women with the XX factor.

  • Rae

    This article is helpful in identifying my adult daughter as an alpha. There are powerful traits and can be used ethically to be supportive but if not can be destructive. In our family she has dominated by many strategies to control my sons, create attitudes, even hosting my sons 21st birthday party without any discussion with me which has been hurtful. The alpha certainky knows how to work a room a party and other people’s lives. Why the need for this power n control?

  • Sam

    This article is bullshit.

  • Joseph Martin

    I am curious if Alpha females also reflect it on body structure, body dynamincs and organic behavior? And if so do they corelate always to Alpha males?? In the spectrum of the Alphaness is it possible for Alphas to be categorized as “Healthy well natured” or “Unhealthy and psycopatic” being a reflection of how connected they are from the original human seed??

    • Vanessa Van Edwards

      Hi Joseph! Thanks for commenting. Alpha females have strikingly similar body language to alpha males except that they do still show female body language: They can balance both!

    • Susie Carmichael

      I would imagine that like alpha males, alpha females are very prideful in their appearance. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they all have washboard abs and butts you can bounce pennies on, but I think that’s more along the lines of they always need to look good and well presented.

  • Zoe Katherine

    What about girls that don’t fit in with other girls, but do with boys? Just out of curiosity? Are they really classed as ‘weaklings’ just for not fitting in? I mean this sounds a little bit strange to me…

  • McTau

    Thanks for the article. I was thinking about alpha and beta hierarchy among women a lot lately. An article on psychologytoday suggested that alpha females are physically attractive, very successful in their career and are dominant when it comes to relationships:

    “Her towering four-inch stilettos march off to the office, the store, the judge’s chambers, and her lacquered-red soles send a “follow me” signal, straight to the bedroom.
    She’s the MD who manages a clinic like a well-oiled machine, […] she may proudly sign her texts “HBIC” (head bitch in charge—an acronym I heard recently from a 17-year-old client of mine headed to the Ivy League who could be the poster child for the new generation).”

    The idea of the decadent, undependant woman being the next generation’s role model is getting on my nerves and pt just lost my respect. Clearly the author expressed a rare phenomenon or a wish rather than reality. Your description of alpha females comes very close to what I’ve witnessed during school and in social environments.

    • vancouverchic

      Stilettos in the workplace are for betas IMO :o) Those are not boss shoes.

  • Will

    just goes to show female alphas can’t be real alphas. all the drama and negativity is by nature beta. most things about woman scream beta.

    • Meg

      I believe I am a “true alpha” and I agree with you, that by nature most things about women scream beta. I also believe that there are varying degrees of alpha. Most of my friends are alpha on some level bc I really don’t have a ton of respect for the classic beta female. I’ve noticed within career and social circles that some women mistake being domineering and controlling as being alpha. I believe that if one feels the need to dominate and be in control of everything, that she’s showing her beta side and insecurities. A true leader or alpha will lead naturally and won’t look for permission or approval of those around her. It would be nice if more of these articles were clear on those points. There is a big misconception by people about what a leader “looks” like.

      • Vladimir Putin

        Here’s one nice “Alpha” kitchen for you … you know the rest … ;-D

      • Heather

        Meg.. spoken like a true unapologetic alpha female.. I concur.. thank you

  • No such thing as a female alp

    No such thing as a female alpha never has been never will be. I despise seeing blogs like this trying to inspire women to be an alpha. You were not born or genetically made to be a pack leader. An alpha runs the pack they keep everyone safe, they look out for their pack, they are the strongest by birth. They aren’t scared of death. They have no fear. They make sure their pack stays in comfort knowing HE will guard them. A female does not possess the ability to be an alpha! It’s just one of those things you can’t have so stop trying to pretend you are one. No different than a male not being able to have children we will never be able to and we care nothing about possessing the ability to do so. Thats yalls right! This isn’t a “you can’t do something” moment it’s how the world turns.

    • Ivory Cn

      i do agree with u anonymous.. alpha female does not take care of ‘the pack’, they want to be the most beautiful/attractive/intelligent, sexiest. a lady here.. maybe ‘alpha-ness’ in social circle would be more valid than an alpha female.

      • Marcel van Driel

        You must be a white male.

    • Marcel van Driel

      Wisdom from an anonymous person? I think not.

    • Jessica

      Alpha females exist in all animals and yes in primate hierarchy as well. Wolf packs are often lead by alpha females and so on. It’s interesting that associated with this subject is the social conditioning we’ve all received that women will back down or step aside for a man naturally. That isn’t the case. I’m an alpha female and my husband is an alpha male. We make one hell of a team in business as well as life and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
      Alpha females are subtle sometimes but are existent and I’m proof of that.

    • Erica Kamens

      I think the notion that there are no female alphas is an absurd one. You’ve never seen a female be naturally dominant and fearless? I see it all the time. Just like how there are non-alpha males, there are alpha females. How stupid of you to make such a baseless claim…

    • vancouverchic

      Um… you call “foul” then precede to discuss the supposed definition of an Alpha MALE. You are correct that women will never be Alpha MALES lol

  • LBD

    Amber Heard in the movie Syrup is what I would consider the total “Alpha Female”, as is Lady Heather on CSI.

  • Pingback: Severinehuguet | Pearltrees()

  • Kaylee Stephenson

    I’m an Alpha female. However, to the majority of women I am seen as threat, so the circles I lead are males. Men are extremely submissive to my requests and demands. The only men who truly have a problem with me are Alpha males, but even they are not a challenge to me.

    I am extremely attractive, smart, funny…basically the whole package. I am not intimidated by anyone, nor will I follow anyone. Women hate me, I guess this is because primally speaking I am a threat to their survival, subconsciously they automatically sense me as a threat (even if I’m not) and try to attack me, but all back down quickly.

    When I walk into a room I own everyone’s glances, all eyes are on me. Ironically, I am only attracted to other Alpha males due to them being more challenging.

    The whole reason I am in my current relationship is because he tells me no, and I love it. I love that he doesn’t give into every whim and request. He doesn’t cower in fear of losing me to another, because he’s the total package, the king of the jungle.

    Together we’re a powerhouse, unstoppable.

    • Kitt McIntyre

      I’m not sure if what you are describing is alpha female characteristics. I think you are more than likely very attractive and know how to use that to your advantage in leading males. Alpha females are not known to be hated or seen as a threat to the women they surround themselves with – it is usually the opposite. Alpha females are the ones the other females turn to, take their cue from, and respect. They are the female that often lead the social direction of the group. It’s not about fear, jealousy, or resentment – it is the female that just by her natural disposition earns the respect and interest of the other females of the group. What you are describing is not close to the same.

    • John

      You sound more like a typical narcissist than an alpha.

    • Funny Mermaid

      You tell em Kaylee! I’m right there with you! 😀 There’s definitely other females who’ll hate you for your position & try to take you down (some patriarchal male’s too!)

      I just recently found an Alpha male ( finally) who was strong enough to stand beside me. We both love the passion, challenge, strength, etc., we bring out in one another. He spoils me rotten, lift’s me up like a Queen, like a true King will! Yet, won’t bow to my every whim. He loves me to run as my free, wild spirit without restraint!

      We’re both fearless, dynamic, strong, courageous creatures

      I also call us a true, authentic “Powerhouse”!

  • Pingback: I Am Told to Be an Alpha Female and Lean in, and I Refuse‏ | Youth Evolution()

  • amy

    This article is SO inaccurate.

  • John

    I think where she wrote ‘inclining”, she actually meant to say “inkling”. It doesn’t sound natural otherwise.

    • Danielle McRae

      Thanks for the catch, John. I updated it!

      Danielle | Science of People Team

As Seen On:

Free Tips: