A long term friend (the trend on IPS seems to be to call her 'Alice') is a little promiscuous and quite often uses her charms to get guys to do things they wouldn't otherwise do. A guy we recently met has fallen for her and has been there for every request she ever makes.

Anyway, it ended up last night with me having a go at her and, in a bit of a shouting match, using some rather strong language (that I'm pretty sure this site won't let me repeat) and saying some pretty insulting stuff mixed in with telling her I don't approve of how shes treating this guy.

If it helps some of what I said was (warning - strong language):

"You just can't keep your slutty claws out of guys who will fall for your sh*t can you?"

and telling her she had (warning - more strong language):

"f*cked your way around half the world to get what you want"

Now, I'm sure it won't come across from what is in those hiders but I actually don't care how much sex she chooses to have or with who, it's just how she treats the guys who get sucked in.

How should I apologise for the way I said stuff, but without going back on how I feel about her behaviour?


  • The guys tend to (not always) be fairly innocent to start with. After a little sexual experience, they think their relationship with her is something really special but she just wants to draw them along until they get too clingy or stop doing everything she wants.
  • I wanted to apologise because I felt bad for upsetting her and because I felt the actual content of what I said was easier for her to ignore if it was cloaked in some pretty nasty language.
  • Alice and I are just friends and the guys we're meeting come from anywhere, normally we're both friends with them for a while first, but the most recent one was a guy I'd known for months (had no intention of sleeping with though) and have really seen the change in him and how much time he spends studying since she has started getting with him.

2 Answers 2


I like the tone of waxwatcher's answer but disagree with a couple of the specifics, hence my posting this one.

I think that this situation is pretty straightforward. You did some things which you regret, so you should apologize for those things. You would not apologize for things you don't regret. In cases where the line dividing the two is not so clear, you can clarify which things belong in which category. Ultimately the point of an apology is to express your remorse for the things you regret, not to use the apology itself as a tool to adjust others' behavior.

So, you may want to apologize for the tone, phrasing, and focus of what you said and explicitly not apologize for anything else. Something along the lines of:

Alice, I'm really sorry for the other day. Both the things I said and the way I said them. I don't think you're a [non-IPS-friendly-word], and I don't care how many people you're with. But I don't like the way you treat men. I think you use them and don't care about any consequences there might be for anyone but yourself. I'm sorry for the rest, but that's how I feel about how you approach relationships and I'm not sorry about that.

This gets at what you've asked in the question. But it is not a strategy for minimizing conflict, engaging with Alice, or anything else. If you are looking for that sort of thing you may have a hard time. People generally don't like accepting apologies along with personal criticisms in the shadow of an intense incident.


I can't judge whether the content of your message is appropriate. There's not enough context information. But it's a question you should ask yourself: should I have conveyed this message at all, regardless of how I said it? If the answer is no, flat apologize. No ifs or buts. Even if you still think the message is right.

But, if the answer is yes...

Apologize sincerely for your language. For the hostility. For shouting. For letting things go too far. Do not qualify this apology. Do not try and make a point about what was said. Don't mention that you still have doubt about her behavior. It's all going to undermine the core message at this point: that what you did was way too far.

Wait until the apology is accepted. If it's not, don't continue. You don't have a right to communicate this to her, and she needs to be willing to hear it if you want to have an impact. That's not going to happen until the apology is accepted - and it may be the case that you're no longer the right person to communicate this to her. If so, there's nothing you can do right now.

Also, sometimes letting a day or two pass before bringing it up again can help. It shows that you're genuine, and you're willing to let an apology for your behavior stand on its own, unqualified.

Then, and only then, can you say, "...but I do think this is an issue, and I want to talk about it with you if you're still open to it, because I care about your well-being." Be sure to give her an out. You don't want her to feel forced or coerced into the conversation - that's counterproductive for both of you. Word what you say cautiously.

Be sure you know exactly why you think it's an issue. Be aware of what she's been asking people for, and ask yourself critically whether it's possible to give her the benefit of the doubt, if her requests are reasonable or if she's actually being as manipulative as you seem to think. These things can often look worse than they are, but they can often be worse than they seem, too.

You're treading on thin ground with this whole thing. You may be in the unfortunate spot of having to decide how much you want to keep her as a friend, if you want to keep pressing the issue. Shouting matches are super bad as a precedent for open, honest discussion.

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