how to be a good first mate (self.RedPillWomen)

submitted by noPTSDformePlease

This is response to wendy-fly's field report a few days ago.

my credentials: I am a former sergeant of Marines. I was in charge of a team of approximately 10 Marines. I took orders from others that were higher ranked than me. So I was the leader of my team but also subordinate to others. I lived the "first mate" life and was very succesfull at it.

First, there will be times when the captain won't know what to do. Recognize this and expect it. When these situations arise it is perfectly acceptable and even reccommended to make suggestions. The key is to realize that that is all they are: suggestions. First mate is also first advisor.

wendy-fly explains in her field report that she suggested putting tarps up in the attic. She also suggested checking the steepness of the roof before trying to fix the roof himself. Both good ideas. It is a good thing that she offered those ideas to her husband.

the next important step in being a good first mate is ensure full support of the captains decision even if you do not agree that it was the best one. It is ok to question and advise and reccommend before the decision is made, but as soon as a plan for action is set, you follow the plan. Mutiny is not an option.

The third important step in being a good first mate is to recognize that no plan is perfect, but a failure to plan is a plan to fail. There will always be problems with the captains decision. It is impossible to get it 100% right everytime. wendy-fly doesn't seem to recognize this and it seems to have led to her feeling anxious about the situation. She was "a little irritated that we lost several days..." recognize that there is no reason to be mad. shit goes wrong. Don't sweat the small stuff. The important thing is that the mission gets accomplished. In wendy-fly's example, the mission is to fix the leaking roof. thats it. no time frame was established for the order so it doesn't make sense for wendy-fly to get mad/upset that there was a few days delay. It WOULD make sense to be upset if there was a hard deadline that needed to be met but wasn't because then the mission would be a failure.

3-a: be flexible. If the captain changes the plan, go with the new plan. often the hardest part of accomplishing something is not the act itself, but figuring out what to actually do in the first place. Allow room for the captain to adjust his plan as needed.

fourth: in the heat of battle emotions can run high. remain professional. Phrased slightly differently: DO NOT PANIC. This might not be as important in a husband/wife role but it is VERY important in a combat leadership/first mate role. The take away is to try to contain your emotional outbursts as much as possible.

fifth: communication. If you don't know what you are supposed to be doing, ask. "what are my orders?" "what is my mission?" "let me repeat this back to you to see if i understand properly." "how can i help you?" "what do you need me to do?" "is there anything that i can be doing better?" don't over do this and only ask if you actually do not understand but also don't be afraid to do this. It is important that everybody involved has an accurate understanding of what their role is in the mission.

sixth: he is not accountable to you. you are accountable to him. Basicaly remember that he is in charge, not you. He does not answer to you.

thats all I've got for now, hopefully some of my military leadership/subordinate experience will be helpful for you ladies. Advice or criticism is welcome in the comments below.

also, shout out to everyone in Minneapolis/St Paul! Spring is here, fuck yeah!

[–]eatplaycrushEndorsed Contributor 11 points12 points  (4 children)

Number six should be stamped on every females head. This was a really nice read.

Spring is in MI too. Happy springing!!!!!

[–]MrsStrom -2 points-1 points  (2 children)

Spring is here until tomorrow when everything will freeze again. :-(

At least up north.

[–]eatplaycrushEndorsed Contributor -1 points0 points  (1 child)

I'm in MI so I definitely know I'm being very optimistic, but there's no point to be negative considering it really is right around the corner!!

[–]MrsStrom -1 points0 points  (0 children)

I truly hope you're right, but the last I heard we're supposed to be getting crappy weather for at least another two weeks. Today is nice though. The sun was out this morning.

[–]futurama890 -2 points-1 points  (0 children)

lol it's the easiest and most important thing not to forget!

[–][deleted] 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Thank you for writing this. I've actually been working on something similar, but you phrased everything far more clearly and succinctly than I ever could. You make fantastic points all around. I'm going to chat with the other mods about adding this to the side bar.


[–][deleted]  (9 children)


[–]noPTSDformePlease[S] 1 point2 points  (6 children)

you are right, but it isn't a case of poor leadership on the husband's case. It is an example of not having full information about the scope of the problem: when making the decision, the husband assumed something about the leaking roof (he thought it was not too steep to fix himself) and did not verify his assumptions. If his assumptions would have been correct, then his original plan to fix the roof himself would have accomplished the mission before the storm.

this is where the third step of being a good first mate comes in. The original plan had flaws. (for anyone interested, this step comes from the theory of "friction" and the fog of war). The original plan will always have flaws. Nothing ever goes to plan. The husband made some mistakes in the decision making process (but not in his role as leader) for his original plan, in my opinion, but wendy-fly did not make any mistakes in her role as first mate. This is a very important distinction.

Once it became apparent that the original plan wasn't going to work because the roof was too steep, wendy-fly's husband wisely recognized that he needed to come up with an alternate plan. At this point it became acceptable for wendy-fly to act as adviser again: recommending the tarps, etc. Her husband decided the tarps where a good idea and then they were installed in the attic.

I'm going to break here to point out that I don't know how the communication between wendy-fly and her husband actually occurred. If she nagged him, or whined, or ordered him to put up the tarps, or said it in any way that wasn't a polite/professional suggestion, then she was in the wrong. It does not seem to me that she did that, but then again I'm basing this on her field report and wasn't personally there.

It's fortunate that it worked out that the storm didn't cause further damage, that a tarp helped; but it could have just as likely gone the other way

you are absolutely correct. This concept is called "risk." It is impossible to completely eliminate risk. It is only possible to reduce risk. Example: you get in your car to drive to work. There have been all kinds of technologies invented to reduce the risk of that decision: seatbelts, airbags, ABS, etc. And yet it is still an inherently dangerous action. Some drunk trucker could rear end you on the highway.

The point is that life is inherently risky. Learn from your mistakes, but don't worry too much about coulda/woulda/shoulda.

[–][deleted]  (5 children)


    [–]noPTSDformePlease[S] 1 point2 points  (4 children)

    It just seems like a waste of the husband's time and energy to me

    yeah. but he is the one who decides what to do. You think its the wrong choice? too bad. he is in charge, not you.

    [–]s0nicfreak 0 points1 point  (3 children)

    But by not giving him all the information you know, you aren't fairly allowing him to decide what to do.

    [–]noPTSDformePlease[S] 1 point2 points  (2 children)

    did you read wendy-fly's example? are you just arguing to argue? at no point did wendy-fly withhold any information. seriously. this has already been covered. pay attention.

    as a team, wendy-fly and her husband recognized that the roof needed to be fixed. Then they entered the advising phase. I'm going to quote her field report:

    He felt he could repair it pretty easily himself and I asked him if he thought the roof was too steep. He said it wasn't.

    She advised. Her husband decided. He is in charge. He is responsible for making the decisions.


    [–]s0nicfreak 0 points1 point  (1 child)

    I read it. There's a difference between "I think the roof is too steep" and "Do you think the roof is to steep?" At least, with my husband there is. The first would be advising, the second would be giving him a question to decide if it's worth answering. If he's busy, trying to get something done - such as fixing the roof - he may not think answering her questions is a priority.

    And please, stop trying to talk harshly to me. You aren't my husband. You don't decide when I stop talking.

    [–]noPTSDformePlease[S] -3 points-2 points  (0 children)

    There's a difference between "I think the roof is too steep" and "Do you think the roof is to steep?"

    yes, phrasing is important. Case in point: I misunderstood what your question was because of the way you phrased it. I'm happy to admit my own mistake.

    I'm also going to point out that I already addressed that in my first reply to you:

    I'm going to break here to point out that I don't know how the communication between wendy-fly and her husband actually occurred. If she nagged him, or whined, or ordered him to put up the tarps, or said it in any way that wasn't a polite/professional suggestion, then she was in the wrong. It does not seem to me that she did that, but then again I'm basing this on her field report and wasn't personally there.

    and, since we are on the topic of communication between people:

    And please, stop trying to talk harshly to me. You aren't my husband. You don't decide when I stop talking.

    Ironicaly it seems you are the one who has tried to shame me into stop talking with that statement. I'll grant that my statement was harsh in tone, but this is the Internet, and I'm allowed to speak freely on it. It is up to you to take my comments seriously or not. Only you can decide if you are going to listen to what I'm saying or not.

    never once did I tell you to stop talking. The closest thing I said was "END. OF. STORY." That is not a command for you to stop talking, but is rather saying that I am not willing to budge on my position that the husband is the one who makes the decisions.

    META: your last comment is pretty interesting, actually, from a communications-study perspective. It seems to me that you were probably thrown off by the all caps and periods after the words, a style of commenting that pretty much means I'm yelling at you. It was an emotionally charged response from me and so you responded to the emotions of that phrase instead of the words I was actually saying. Thats my guess, anyways. any comments?

    [–]MrsStrom 0 points1 point  (1 child)

    Sometimes shit happens. And that's okay. I'll bet the Captain learned from the experience and will know for next time. No one is perfect and getting upset over unrealistic expectations is an exercise in futility. It's a lot like rocking in a rocking chair, it gives you something to do but doesn't get you any where.

    [–]wendy-fly1 Star 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    That's what I reminded myself of. No one is perfect. And now we know the roof is too steep! ;)

    [–]ServingToPlease 0 points1 point  (1 child)

    What a refreshing post, not only does this apply to the workplace but also to relationships. I have been quite shameful in my role as "first mate" in my relationship. Not only am i slightly a perfectionist, i seem to be lacking in forgiving mistakes of my Captain. The 3rd and 6th point spoke to me the loudest (but all were worthy). I am less of a risk taker and calculate my decisions prior to making them, i need to entrust in my Captain that regardless of the "rollercoaster" decision-making that he may make, i should adapt to his adjustment. Also, while i do not necessarily hold my Captain accountable to me, i criticize and analyze as to whether it is accountable to God (religious couple). Wrongful thinking in all aspects! So thanks for this reminder on the 6th point, i am not to judge nor expect him to answer to me.

    What i love most about this post is that it makes me wonder why i have not been a good "first mate" to my Captain and what i need to do to become a much better helper for him. I work in a paramilitary organization and the concept of leadership/subordinate is all too endorsed. #SlapOnWrist# Nice posts "MrsStrom" and "noPTSDformePlease". I am no longer a "reddit virgin" :-)

    [–]noPTSDformePlease[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    glad I could help. Enjoy!

    [–]BeaNoemi 0 points1 point  (2 children)

    I recently have starting adopting the "first mate" role into my current LTR (he is newly RP although he always seemed to hold those values at a basic level), thank you for this concise breakdown.

    [–]noPTSDformePlease[S] 0 points1 point  (1 child)

    you're welcome! :)

    [–]BeaNoemi 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    My boyfriend and I are working on this new dynamic and honestly, even just a few days in (I have to catch myself but I'm working on it) my life seems so much less stressful. It's awesome. We are noticeably happier.

    [–]StingrayVC -2 points-1 points  (0 children)


    [–]SweetPinkCuntCake -1 points0 points  (0 children)

    This is great and helpful to somebody newer like myself! Thank you for taking the time.

    [–]drugdoctor87 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Most important piece of life advice here: don't sweat the small stuff! Makes life more enjoyable!

    [–]swift-heart -1 points0 points  (0 children)

    really interesting to read your take on the captain/first mate analogy based on actual military experience. thank you.

    [–]wendy-fly1 Star -1 points0 points  (0 children)

    This is very cool. Thank you for breaking it down like that! It makes perfect sense when you put it like that. I hesitated to offer the tarp idea because I thought I was over-stepping the 'no decision' rule I had set up for myself but then decided it was silly to allow further damage if I had an idea that might work.

    In addition, we found out the damage was more extensive anyway and we needed a professional. It turns out that even if the roof wasn't too step, the repair was too extensive. Booooo, monies...

    [–][deleted] -1 points0 points  (2 children)

    Your post gives great advice. I could definitely see this as sidebar material after some grammar cleanup.

    My favorites were four and five, which go hand in hand. It's important to keep your emotions in check when communicating with your partner, especially if for some reason, you don't agree with him. Phrasing is also important, which is why the first point works well. If you don't agree with something, make a suggestion rather than saying "Your idea is stupid. Let's try mine," or something along those lines. But make sure this happens before the plan is completely set up and in motion, as you said! It would be ridiculous to try to bounce an "I think you're wrong" on your Captain in the midst of the plan, especially if there were unforeseen problems. Additionally, if he didn't go along with your suggestion, don't scream at him about it or call him an idiot for not listening to you because you're "always right." That's a huge problem in relationships today.

    Also, spring's finally hitting AR, too! Super excited about the weather warming up. I hope it sticks this time.

    [–]noPTSDformePlease[S] -2 points-1 points  (1 child)

    after some grammar cleanup

    I am willing to rephrase as long as it doesn't change the message. Obviously grammar is not my strong point: Any help with editing is welcome. PM me and I will change it to be more readable. This goes for anybody, not just AzraelEsdras

    [–][deleted] -1 points0 points  (0 children)

    Oh, I'm just a stickler about grammar! Most of it is capitalization.

    [–]PMmeYourPenis -1 points0 points  (0 children)


    [–][deleted] -1 points0 points  (0 children)

    Love this. Nice to have it outlined, I definitely struggle with number 5 but am working on it

    [–]hntr16 -1 points0 points  (0 children)