Apologizing for a lack of Game isn’t Game.

One disservice I think most men tend to overlook is an attitude of self-depreciation that they’ll resort to as a means of engendering interest in a potential woman by attempting to play to her sympathies.

Case in point (posted with permission):

My apologies for being a complete douche
I actually wanted to call and talk to you tonight, but I just moved into my new place today and lost track of time and now its after midnight. Anyways, I was a complete tool the last time we talked. I thought about what you said to me, and I really have been lame lately. I think back to our first couple of “dates”, and I realize what a complete and boring reject I was. Those weren’t so much dates as me trying way too hard to impress you as someone that was mature (bad word choice, but I dunno what I was doing) and not myself. Anyways, I now realize I need to get this pole out of my ass and start having fun again in my life. Which is why I have been in a drunken stupor for the last 2 weekends.

I hope we can start hanging out again, because I do enjoy your company. But I promise if we do, I will drink, relax, and not be such a wallflower. I also promise no more gay-ass text messages. I hate when people do that to me, so I can only imagine how retarded i look when I do it.


This was an actual email passed on to me from a young woman I counsel after she blew this guy off over the course of three dates, and is one of many emails and IM texts I’ve gone over time and again with with women. This is a textbook example of how men will resort to self-depreciation tactics in order to provoke an “It’s OK, I understand” sympathy response from a woman with the expectation that she’ll take ‘pity’ on him for being a “flawed man” and give him a second (or third, or fourth) chance.

This is a direct manifestation of men being socially conditioned to recognize and acknowledge their weeknesses, and in confessing them they will become strentghs, and ergo, attractions (since they mistakenly believe that doing so will make them “not-like-OTHER-guys” and therefore unique). “You see? I’m really a sensitive, introspective guy willing to cop to his own character flaws, please love me.”

Iron Rule of Tomassi #9

Never Self-Deprecate under any circumstance. This is a Kiss of Death that you self-initiate and is the antithesis of the Prize Mentality. Once you’ve accepted yourself and presented yourself as a “complete douche” there’s no going back to confidence with a woman. Never appeal to a woman’s sympathies. Her sympathies are given by her own volition, never when they are begged for – women despise the obligation of sympathy. Nothing kills arousal like pity. Even if you don’t seriously consider yourself pathetic, it never serves your best interest to paint yourself as pathetic. Self-Depreciation is a misguided tool for the AFC, and not something that would even occur to an Alpha.

People seem to get confused about how self-deprecation really functions. I’m not suggesting that a Man take himself so seriously that he can’t laugh at himself; in fact a brilliant tactic is to present a prevailing, ambient sense of seriousness, then admit to and laugh at whatever goof it was that removes you from it. Nothing endears a man more to a woman than to think only she can break through your shell and get you to find humor in yourself. However, true self-deprecation is self-initiated. It’s not the “ha ha look I slipped on a banana peel” sense of deprecation, it’s the “I’m a complete douche, but really worth the effort” apologetic sense of deprecation. There is a marked difference between being pathetic and being able to laugh at yourself in good faith.

I’m not advocating that guys never own up to mistakes or wrongs they do; you should apologize in given situations depending on the conditions and do so appropriately, however Self-Depreciation is another mental schema entirely. Humility is a virtue (up to a point), but it’s simply not a virtue that a woman you’re interested in will ever appreciate in the manner you intend, and in fact often conveys the opposite intent. Virtuous humility is no substitute for self-confidence. If you are already involved with a woman, she may develop a socially mandated sense of appreciation, but again this is only up to the threshold of you trading her estimation of your confidence for your ability to address fault on your part. When a woman delivers a shit test based on this, and a guy submits through self-depreciation it’s damage done that’s not easily undone. Admitting fault is not a strength that inspires women, it’s still about the fault. It may be the honorable, necessary, truthful thing to do, but don’t believe for a moment women will value you more in the confession of fault.

That said, true self-depreciation is pervasive. Contemporary men have become so steeped in deprecation and male ridicule by popular media that it seems a normative way of attracting women. The message is ‘women love men who laugh at Men’. Thus, you have to be hyper-aware of it and unlearn it. You have to catch yourself in mid-sentence so to speak. Women operate in the sub-communications and when you overtly admit to a lack of confidence in yourself or your gender you may as well just LJBF yourself. That’s a strong impression you wont recover from easily if ever. Women want a competent, confident, decisive Man from the outset, not one who’s self-image is that of a “complete douche” or even a partial douche. The stereotype of the quirky, but lovable guy who bumbles his way into a woman’s heart may work for romantic comedies, but not in the real world. I should also add that when you become hyper-aware of this you can also turn it to your own advantage when AMOGing a competitor or you’re sarging a girl with a self-depreciative boyfriend or suitor. It’s all too easy to reinforce her estimation of a guy like this by covertly confirming it for her, while at the same time playing up your own confidence and value.

All of this is not to say that it’s wrong to recognize your own weaknesses and understanding when you’re in the wrong. It’s simply how you go about addressing it that’s the point. There are plenty of ways to assume the responsibilties of fault that aren’t self-depreciating. The easiest way is to always adopt the attitude that you’re ‘getting better all the time’. This mentality fosters confidence and projects ambition, whereas self-depreciation shoves your nose in the dog shit and says “please love me anyway?”

Published by Rollo Tomassi

Author of The Rational Male and The Rational Male, Preventive Medicine

31 comments on “Sorry,..

  1. Jesus. This is something I’ve been doing without fully realizing how much damage it does. Crap.

    As you said, no two ways about it: I’ve to unlearn this shit.
    Great post.

  2. That letter was tough to swallow…reminded me of myself back in the day when I use to write girls poems and such, are the ways of the beta, it;s part of “Beta Game” is it not Rollo?

  3. Something I’ve been thinking about is that I used to be strictly anti self-deprecation when I was little. I hated that shit. But somewhere along the way, I got to thinking that self-deprecation was necessary to establish warm relationships with other people.

    I was sincerely worried that I was coming across as too standoffish and too arrogant and that this was not helping my friendships and love interests. So I began self-deprecating.

    What an idiot I’ve been. Society (and my mostly feminine upbringing. This is important) made me believe I had to self-deprecate for people not to blow me off. I’m very angry. At this point of my life I realize how stupid this is.

    It got me thinking that a lot of us have already good stuff in us for playing the Game, and we get it taken away from us through societal conditioning. Well, it’s more like: we give it up freely.

  4. Another brilliant article.

    I’d like to add in another dysfunctional mode of self-deprecation, which is approval seeking. I used to do this all the time, “I’m horrible at X” and hope that people would say “No, no, you’re really good at X!”

    Then I realized this was NOT well-placed humility, but instead, just outright weakness, I stopped it cold. Not surprisingly, it immediately taught me to accept a compliment. So if someone said “Wow, your X was great” I would simply say “Thanks” if I couldn’t think of anything better, rather than denying it, and hoping they’d counter the denial it “No, it’s really good!”. These are the seeds of true self-confidence and connecting honestly with people.

    Often times I think 99% of game is dropping anti-game; true inner game will replace the crap you left behind.

    1. Often times I think 99% of game is dropping anti-game; true inner game will replace the crap you left behind.

      I think so. As I began to learn about all this stuff, I found it was less about what I had TO DO and more about what I had to STOP doing. I think of it as “Don’t fuck it up” Game. This post was a reminder as I used to self-deprecate alot years back.

  5. Rollo,

    How do you feel about sarcastic self-deprecation? For instance, a very highly regarded scientist referring to his work as “woo-woo pseudoscience,” or a top-level athlete saying, tongue-in-cheek, that he has poor co-ordination, etc.

    It seems that a charismatic, confident man can pull off this sort of thing as a DHV. This may relate to the concept of a ‘humblebrag.’

    1. This is poking fun at yourself, not apologizing for yourself. It’s only endearing in small doses, and then only when there’s an obvious mutual understanding of high status.

  6. “How do you feel about sarcastic self-deprecation? For instance, a very highly regarded scientist referring to his work as “woo-woo pseudoscience,” or a top-level athlete saying, tongue-in-cheek, that he has poor co-ordination, etc.”

    If your value capital is sky high you can afford to knock yourself down a few notches by devaluing yourself, and for someone with that level of status it probably even works in their favor.

  7. Women look to men to be the mountain to their meandering river of emotions and vulnerability. The ONLY time you should EVER display lower value to a woman (and that’s exactly what self deprecation is) is in a situation like I mentioned in my last comment where your value is sky high and by knocking yourself down a notch it makes you seem more attainable.

    Aside from that there is never a good time to do or say ANYTHING that a woman might construe as weakness.

    There have been times where I would have loved to talk to a female friend about an issue in my life but I always refrain from doing so even if it is small and seemingly inconsequential. Even if you are only platonic friends she will lose respect for you and that negative capital is easily transferred to other women. In the same way that your attractiveness level can increase exponentially when you display high value, it has exactly the opposite effect when you display low value Do not underestimate the power of this double edged sword.

  8. I have to admit I did this recently but it was in relation to my drinking. My last girl broke up with me because I tend to go overboard with the booze more often then I should. I would never apologize for anything except this one (admitedly major) flaw I have. I guess the difference is I dated her for 4 months, not 3 dates.

  9. Like most game principles, this is important in an LTR also.

    Self-deprecating with your LTR partner slowly chops away at you, killing any attraction you have established.

    I’m unlearning my ugly habit of “honey, what do you think?” this is the ultimate self deprecation, as it tells her I dont trust my judgement, please validate me. It should be the other way around. It is difficult undoing years of conditioning, but the progress I have made is making a big difference.

  10. This is so true, “The easiest way is to always adopt the attitude that you’re ‘getting better all the time’. This mentality fosters confidence and projects ambition, whereas self-depreciation shoves your nose in dog shit and says “please love me anyway?”

    I was picked on as a boy and decided at a very young age to fight back by outdoing all my naysayers. All the people that tell you your not good enough, smart enough or talented enough… So I became the antithesis of their projections and surpassed all my personal goals. It’s more than just getting the girl… It’s about conquering “your” world!

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  12. Sustaining ‘prize mentality’ is a challenge, as I meet very, very few women who do not consider themselves the prize, and the man a competitor to win the prize. This is all popular culture teaches them, from Disney to Notting Hill, to any of the written romances. I find women are actually befuddled, speechless and brain-locked if I mention, “Hey, there are two prizes if there is any prize here, to be won.”

    Now, confronted with a man who asserts his status as a prize, the women navigate a narrow divide: on the one hand, they needn’t work to secure the attentions of most men; on the other, they are attracted to a man who won’t supplicate. In the end, though, I think most default to habit and culture, and choose the supplicant: it’s less work, emotionally, intellectually, and materially. And in this way they wind up with a drafthorse greater-beta type, which affords her an easier lifestyle.

    In trying to understand a woman’s long-term value, I would say her respect for a man’s ‘prize’ nature is as important as her demonstrated virtue. When I backtest a model of female qualities on my more significant relationships, its the presence of virtue and a woman’s ability to earn a man’s affection and trust that are quite rare.

  13. Check out a Tom Brady or Peyton Manning postgame interview after a loss for how to assume responsibility for fault without lowering one’s value.

  14. women despise the obligation of sympathy.

    When I read that my memory instantly took me to a time when I had done that exact thing. Damnit Rollo. When reading wonderfully articulated posts like this one they almost always have the same effect, a punch to the face of my beta-programming. A punch that is necessary.
    Thanks for sharing this. -dcl

  15. Check out a Tom Brady or Peyton Manning postgame interview after a loss for how to assume responsibility for fault without lowering one’s value.

    Throw your offensive line under the bus?

  16. Also… Replace self-deprecating humour with self-aggrandising humour. ‘Cause that’s what they mean when they say they like a sense of humour.

  17. Another awesome post. Good lord this blog is awesome. I’m going to sit this weekend and read every post.

  18. On the basis of this alone I think I f-d up my marriage. It’s been a hard truth to learn that women do not care, nor do they want to hear, about anything negative you feel or that you experienced. Especially if it’s related to your perception of yourself, or them. Despite their claims of wanting you to “share your feelings”. That’s touchy feely feminist BS. In reality they just perceive your admissions of *whatever* as weakness and their vaginas dry up. Women want their man to be a strong and mysterious cipher who leads a life of glory and adventure, though once they marry and bear children they’ll do this utmost to strap you down till all you see is the inside of your home, your car, and your work place.

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