Apologize Like A Boss

Sometimes you screw up and feelings are hurt and it’s unquestionably your fault. If that’s the case, you should apologize. It’s the right thing to do.

The trouble with apologies though, is they very easily turn into displays of weakness / fear / low value / submission. Then instead of repairing the damage, they actually do further damage as you entitle them to enrage against you even more than before. People always feel better at ease venting anger toward someone in lower status than them, than venting toward someone higher status than them. Thus a groveling apology creates greater social distance between you.

In case you didn’t hear that correctly… I’m saying you’re probably better off not apologizing and letting them be mad at you, than going down on one knee and begging forgiveness. You don’t drop your status and beg.

All you should do is acknowledge you did the wrong thing and if something is possible to be done to correct a situation you have caused, state a plan of correction and follow through on it. You don’t “act sorry” though. To apologize like a boss, just acknowledge and correct.

Then once the apology has been stated, you don’t go back and rehash it endlessly. You’ve apologized, it’s up to them to figure out their emotional state after that. If they keep coming back for another helping of angst and drama, state you’ve already apologized and refuse to be drawn into further debate.

Gifting is also a potential tool to use as well, but you use gifting to simply frame the acknowledgment of your wrongdoing more seriously, rather than attempt to buy their love and positive attention back. Trying to buy their positive attention back is also a display of low value. The purpose of something like flowers is to force them to pay attention to the apology. You’re making them acknowledge your acknowledgment.

The other trouble with gifting is that it can turn into a behavioral reward for them to be all dramatic and hurt at you. It only takes a couple of times trying to buy your way out of the dog house and it would be completely rational for them to start trying to figure out ways to get you into the dog house. A couple rounds of that and you’re a big Beta pinata full of cash and goodies.

Anyway… I love The Big Bang Theory… watch both videos.



  1. Flaming_Man_of_Iron says:

    Thanks for the advice Athol. This one is useful for me.

  2. OffTheCuff says:

    Beta piñata. Hahahahahahaha! How Roissian.

  3. Love this advice. A good rule of thumb in life is to rarely apologize. To anyone. Unless you really messed up. People apologize way too much over stupid stuff. I stopped being that guy and so should you.

  4. This winter when I backed my trailer hitch through my girldfriend’s front bumper and… er… forgot (seriously – it’s a long story) to tell her about it for a couple weeks until she noticed the damage, I apologized the way you recommend. I calmly admitted fault, let her wail a bit (she sure had a right to), then said OK, we’re just repeating ourselves here, let’s change the subject. Never said “sorry”. I’ve had to let her bring it up a couple of times, because she needs to feel like I give a damn how bad it made her feel – but she gets zero traction on me with it, so there are no histrionics or bullshit. It’s more like we laugh about it, then I say she ought to let me replace the bumper, and she says no, no, it’s a waste of money, the mechanic said it’s safe as it is.

    Yeah, I was wrong, stunningly so, and she has to be able to express her feelings within reason, but she doesn’t get to beat me up over it. No blank checks. The unredpilled male mind loves to write blank checks. It feels heroic. It isn’t, it’s adolescent.

    They calm down so much faster when you stay calm and in control of the conversation, and they *stay* calm. It’s amazing.

  5. acknowledge it, and move on. dwelling on it is supplication. i have no problem apologizing when i’m wrong, but once i do….move on.

  6. Shimshon says:

    Don’t forget Leonard’s wonderful non-apology apology to Penny this season for having the temerity to speak with another woman.


  7. Zelazny says:

    This is good advice. Somehow I’ve learned (And many people with me) that the lowering of status is not just a part of an apology (Or confrontation) but actually required when you ‘own up’ to stuff.

    The whole status transfer / assuming low status to appease is just a trick, really. “Here, have my status and in return, please don’t be so mad.”

    I’ll be watching this.

  8. Chakotay says:

    Geez, yet another beta fumble I’ve repeatedly committed over the years and yet another ingrained automatic response that I’m going to have to consciously retrain in myself.

    Looking back over the years of my tumble into Beta-tude, I’ve noticed that I’ve always been the one to apologize, even when the argument was not my fault. My mindset has always been “Apologizing does not always mean I’m wrong and you’re right. It just means I value our relationship more than my ego.”. I always thought I was being the “bigger person” by taking the high road and taking responsibility for fixing the arguments, even if the ‘fault’ wasn’t mine to take. Meanwhile, I can count on one hand over the past 18 years that she has apologized to me.

    I can see now how my quick willingness to be a martyr for the relationship, thinking all along that I was making things better, was actually shooting me AND our marriage in the foot. Combine this with all my other over-beta/under-alpha moves and I guess it’s no wonder she’s being so resistant to my efforts to take back the captain’s chair. It’s almost starting to feel hopeless now, like I just need to give up on fixing this marriage and just hit the reset button; start fresh on a new relationship. Or maybe some people aren’t mentally built for marriage at all.

  9. Admitting your mistake and apologizing is a sign of strength, not weakness.

  10. I’m new here. Took the red pill recently and finally felt myself unplug last week.

    I’ve been a bad-beta schlub for years until it finally came to a head recently. The day before my wife said ‘I want a divorce’ I actually remember setting a personal ‘best’ of apologizing to her four times BEFORE 5 AM. Nuts.

    I have to monitor myself constantly now to avoid apologizing for nothing. She’s backed off her ultimatum and today said she’s really happy with our ‘progress.’

  11. My fiance had a revelation that a lot of the time we say “Sorry” when it would really be much better to say “Thank You” to the other person. “Sorry” so often is just narcissism masquerading as caring about the feelings of another, so that apologizer can assuage their own guilt–and the apologizee has to make the apologizer feel better.

    Example: I go to pick up my fiance and he keeps me waiting in the car for longer than expected.
    Alternative 1: “I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t have been so be careless with your time.”
    Alternative 2: “Thank you for waiting. Its really sweet of you.” + sexy kiss :)

    Alternative 1 is so downbeat. The apology almost has an accusatory nature: “I know you’re pissed about this trivial thing.” Alternative 2 is a happiness-builder–and also does me the respect of acknowledging/knowing that I’m not at all pissed and more than happy to wait if he needs it. What a total bummer to be confronted with a supplicating apology for something I was doing happily.

    Of course this won’t work in situations where you really have made a huge mistake. Then you have to apologize, AND set out a course of corrective action that demonstrates you understand the nature of the mistake and how to fix it (this is probably much more important than the apology piece). Then there really shouldn’t be any need for further discussion. But more often than not, “thank you” is a better way to go.

  12. Chief_TC says:

    Point taken.

  13. just needed to add… Big Bang Theory… Makes me happy.

  14. I disagree with you. There is nothing wrong with apologizing if you’re at fault. It’s not weak. What’s weak is continually apologizing after the person batters you about it.

    I think a simple apology and then a move on is actually a very alpha trait Something along the lines of “my fault, I screwed up, let me fix it.” ANd then when she tries to batter you about it, you lash back at her telling her to step off.

  15. Cheeky Minx says:

    I agree with Tampa, I recently demoted a guy who I initially considered the very best alpha male. He made a mistake (one supported by any rational mind – not one of those hmmm I’m not sure who’s right in this situation) but rather than apologize, he avoided any conflict resolution.

    I am completely turned off him despite him previously having the sexiest persona I’ve ever encountered and I was in love with him. It’s really a turn off if a guy can’t man up and apologize. However, a woman was to create constant drama, I would withdraw a little because we do teach people how to treat us.

    Some girls (not women) do play on apologizes to get attention but a man who played his cards right would do the right things to ensure a girl wouldn’t need to resort to such tactics. I’ve even been that “girl” before because he wasn’t given me attention such as making a man jealous or complaining about something to get something (usually attention). I’m not proud of it but I’m sharing to help out. I wouldn’t do that now because I’ve matured a little. I’d communicate my desires and cross my fingers he act on them

  16. If the mistake is actually serious, a good leader can say “I’m sorry” and also “I understand why you’re hurt.” This assumes that you’re talking to a reasonable person who won’t take “I understand why you’re” hurt as an excuse to get madder and madder. Instead she’ll take it as a sign that you do indeed have human empathy, and therefore are somebody she can place trust in. (If you’re not dealing with a reasonable person, then I have no help for you.)

    The post above about saying “thank you” is a great one. You don’t have to be a supplicant to appreciate somebody. And when person feels appreciated, they know they’re not being taken for granted. And that is the crucial element that makes it easy to move past mistakes.

    Gifts without emotion would seem hollow to me. Yes, even a tiara – which is the most useless and insipid gift I can think of. But for some who have “receiving gifts” as their primary love language, they may see the gift itself as a sign of emotional connection. (I’m referencing: http://marriedmansexlife.com/2011/06/the-five-beta-love-languages/) Just remember that not all women have the same love language. He buys me presents twice a year – on my birthday and at Christmas. Never as an apology. And thank God!!! Because it shows me that he’s willing to take the incredibly simple step of saying “I’m sorry” and meaning it, instead of going to great expense and effort to avoid it. :-D

    Part of my post is frustration at the assumption that women always want fancy gifts. I get really annoyed with the girl talk of “what did he get you?” on valentines day. Well, he always gets me exactly what I ask for. Which is himself. And if he got me a “romantic” present, I would probably think it very sweet. And I would hold on to it forever, because I’m sentimental like that. But I would probably keep it in a box that I only take out when I feel like seeing what’s in it and getting mushy. :P (Birthday and Christmas gifts are usually something I can actually use, like books or clothing, so finding storage space for them is simpler.)

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