I want to apologize like a BOSS
July 3, 2014 8:39 AM   Subscribe

I was a bonehead and ruined my SO's morning; help me think of how to make it up to him!

So, due to basically a total brain fart, I misunderstood the plan for this morning and ran 4 minutes (literally! only 4 minutes!) late for breakfast. In those 4 minutes the breakfast place managed to give away our table, and all the remaining tables, and since my SO had to go to work, he got entirely screwed out of breakfast. (I mean, so did I, but I was able to just go home and have toast.) He was understandably furious, and stormed off to work food-less.

This comes on top of a rough month--we recently moved in together, and frankly I feel like despite my best efforts, I have pretty much failed to make that transition at all easy. I either do things wrong, or do something right but it's the wrong thing, or try to take care of something For him only to find he wanted us to do the thing Together, or...it goes on.

So now I have all day to sit here and figure out how to make it up to him-- without somehow managing to make everything a thousand times worse, which is what usually happens when i try to fix things.

So Mefites: if you were coming home from work hungry, cranky, and secretly worried that your previously-capable SO had been body-snatched and replaced by a bumbling idiot, what could that SO say or do that would help?

I am aware that the number one thing is "stop being such a bumbling idiot," and I swear, I am working on it; right now our routines are hosed, our house is full of boxes, I'm working two jobs, and my brain just cannot even. That is maybe a question for another MeFi day.
posted by like_a_friend to Human Relations (46 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I'm kind of bummed to hear that 4 minutes late = your SO being furious.


What about making (or buying) breakfast for dinner?
posted by justonegirl at 8:41 AM on July 3, 2014 [11 favorites]


Pancakes will fix this. Pancakes fix everything. Make pancakes and have them for dinner tonight.
posted by xingcat at 8:46 AM on July 3, 2014 [11 favorites]

You aren't a bumbling idiot and him storming off in a rage sounds really inappropriate. He could have stopped on the way to work for a bagel, no? You're being really, really hard on yourself for a very minor thing, and I'm wondering if your self-described tendency to "make everything a thousand times worse" is due to you overapologizing for something that wasn't a very big deal in the first place.

Be yourself. Make dinner, hang out. You don't owe him a huge apology.
posted by something something at 8:46 AM on July 3, 2014 [142 favorites]

He had time for breakfast at that place, therefore he had time to grab a cup of oatmeal at Starbucks. It sucks that you were late and ruined the plans, but he shouldn't be furious.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:47 AM on July 3, 2014 [37 favorites]

You could ask him.

Lots of what you say, especially here: I either do things wrong, or do something right but it's the wrong thing, or try to take care of something For him only to find he wanted us to do the thing Together, or...it goes on.

seems to stem from lack of communication or miscommunication.

"Hey, I feel like I really screwed up earlier, I know we planned to have breakfast together and it didn't come together. What can I do to make it up to you?"

And yeah, this doesn't really seem like a reasonable reaction on his part, honestly.
posted by rachaelfaith at 8:47 AM on July 3, 2014 [8 favorites]

(Or, what something something said.)
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:48 AM on July 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Wow, I was expecting to hear something like you got his car towed or spilled hot coffee on him, ruining his last clean shirt and burning him at the same time, not that you were barely late for a meal.

It sounds like you are both really stressed out by the move and that he seems to be handling it with a bit less grace than you are, if this is an example of the worst thing you have done so far.

I personally would just apologize once more, and mean it enough for it to not happen again. I would also try to find somewhere that served breakfast nearby that will seat incomplete parties if the present individual already knows what the late person wants to order.
posted by elizardbits at 8:48 AM on July 3, 2014 [10 favorites]

Yeah... 4 minutes? This is not something you need to do anything to apologize for. I'm not sure if you are being hyperbolic, but if your SO is "furious" with you over this... that is a far bigger issue. I'm concerned about how much blame you seem to be putting on yourself for what is essentially a non-event.

The most I would do is buy or make a baked good and have it waiting for him. Anything beyond that is weirdly self-flagellating.
posted by gatorae at 8:49 AM on July 3, 2014 [19 favorites]

I don't think this is something you need to 'make up to him'. This is a normal thing that humans do and if anyone is at fault, it's the restaurant.

From your question, it sounds like you're being very hard on yourself for normal things. (I am also concerned that you're beating yourself up over being 4 minutes late...) Your SO is an adult human who can stop at a bakery/starbucks/convenience store and pick up something for breakfast. If he/she was going to spend 20 minutes sitting down at a meal, they can spend that time taking care of their own needs. You didn't starve them and certainly didn't starve them intentionally.

I think it might be helpful to sit down and have a heart-to-heart with your SO and say that you're sorry that things have been slipping a little, you appreciate their patience and that you're probably going to need more patience until things settle down. It also might be worthwhile to address expectations. Things aren't going to be perfect and they need to try to be a little more understanding and giving, too. You are probably not a bumbling idiot; you're a person trying their best.
posted by Flamingo at 8:50 AM on July 3, 2014 [25 favorites]

This doesn't make you an idiot. Another voice saying that the reaction was completely overblown. IMO, your SO should apologize to you for having a meltdown when the important thing was to have time together.

That said, pancakes is the right answer (via xingcat). Pancakes would be a really sweet thing to do.
posted by mochapickle at 8:50 AM on July 3, 2014 [5 favorites]

Being 4 minutes late is not "being a bumbling idiot". It barely even counts as "late", and I'm a big believer in being early for everything. I'd be more pissed that the restaurant gave away the table so immediately. If he's actually furious and demanding you make it up to him... that is not a good sign.

Breakfast for dinner is a good apology for this situation - a situation that does not rank the abject apology you think you have to give.
posted by Coatlicue at 8:50 AM on July 3, 2014 [12 favorites]

I think breakfast for dinner would be awesome and perfect.

However, let's think through some things here:

The restaurant should not have given away your table after 4 minutes.

How much time had you two budgeted to eat breakfast? I assume that it was more than 0 minutes, which means your SO could have easily made a second chance plan involving a trip across the street to walgreens for granola bars and chocolate milk.

None of this is the fault of your being a bumbling idiot, and hardly implies that you are in any way a bumbling idiot.

I'd give your SO a pass this once and go ahead and make nice with a dinnerbreakfast (since we can all fall victim to the hangry trap from time to time), but if you notice that this is a pattern (very small cause leading to very big reaction), I would seriously reconsider this relationship.

That said, I recommend chicken and waffles.
posted by phunniemee at 8:50 AM on July 3, 2014 [4 favorites]

Um, honey. You are not an idiot. You are not "doing everything wrong". And I'm kinda concerned, despite the brevity and seemingly non-"heavy" nature of your question. Fury is NOT A NORMAL RESPONSE to a four-minute lateness to ANYTHING short of a missile launch. It's especially not a normal response to a four-minute lateness to BREAKFAST. "Mild annoyance" is about the most I'd expect. Yeah, some people hate lateness, but the WORLD runs late much of the time, and by the time you're a grown-up, you either accept this or go around in a seething fury, which is just not healthy.

I worry that things are already a bit rough during what should be a pretty GOOD time for you guys. I especially worry that you seem to blame yourself for the entirety of the roughness, and that you say you "make things a thousand times worse by trying to fix them". You are not some buffoon in a slapstick comedy. You are a person who loves another person in a relationship, and any honest efforts to apologize should be taken in good faith.

Relationships shouldn't cause you to walk on eggshells, and to constantly doubt yourself, and to make you feel like you're a bumbling dope. They should build you UP, not smoosh you down. Just something to consider.
posted by julthumbscrew at 8:52 AM on July 3, 2014 [73 favorites]

This is a no-big-deal mistake unless you are are chronically late and always screwing things up by not showing up on time.

You guys are going to have to find ways to accept that having another person around means things are different and sometimes your boyfriend will have to buy a granola bar instead of going out to breakfast. If this kind of "mistake" (it barely qualifies) can't become a not-a-big-deal thing, I fear you guys won't find ways to deal with the big stuff.
posted by latkes at 8:54 AM on July 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've got two answers.

First, you could make a big breakfast for dinner with pancakes and eggs and bacon and all that. It would super thoughtful and turn the whole thing into a delicious and fun memory.

Second, normal people make mistakes and even then, this sounds incredibly minor. You are beating yourself up to a degree that is way beyond what's reasonable. There is no call for fury. Unless you live in a very strange place, this restaurant was not the only source of food in your town. He had no reason to starve. Sure, it would have been nice to eat breakfast at the restaurant, but you'll do it some other time. He's an adult, he should be able to handle this.
posted by the jam at 8:54 AM on July 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh come on people, let's not turn this around and deny the (admittedly minor) issue. There's no evidence of an abusive pattern here from the OP's SO.

Most of us are quite capable of both inadvertently causing this kind of headache and being the one who was maybe a little too miffed over it.

It was morning time. He was hungry. Plans were for breakfast together. OP did cause the plan to fail, and feels like a heel because this seems like the nth time this has happened recently. I can relate.

Of course it isn't a big deal, but that goes both ways.

So set the judgment aside for a moment and help OP do something nice to make up for a minor goof.
posted by General Tonic at 8:55 AM on July 3, 2014 [11 favorites]

I think making a grand apology is a silly thing over such a small thing. But if you want a nice romantic gesture when you know he had a bummer morning--make it. You know whether he'd like flowers or a excellent bottle of scotch or a nice dinner reservation or pancakes for dinner. Pick the one that matches his personality and run with it. Maybe it's wearing a French maid costume while you cook dinner.

For my husband, I'd have the cocktail glasses chilled and the drink ready to go when he walked through the door at the end of the day with delivery from his favorite restaurant on the way. You know your guy better than I do; just do something nice you know he'd like to put a nice end to a day that started badly.

I think the number one thing is not "stop being a bumbling idiot" but "figure out how to communicate expectations better". This was difficult for my husband and I to figure out when we first moved in together, as we tend to have very different (but rigid) definitions of what The Plan is and how to Stick to the Plan. Basically, we just spent a lot of time, calmly, noticing when those conflicts arose, mentioning what each of us had expected from the situation, what had discombobulated either of us about what actually happened in the situation, and what could be done differently next time. Sometimes what could be done differently next time was not being upset by something that neither of us could have controlled.

Sounds dreary or time consuming, but it was neither. It was a bunch of calm, microconversations about being partners that we continue to have.

posted by crush-onastick at 8:55 AM on July 3, 2014 [8 favorites]

I'm kind of bummed to hear that 4 minutes late

I'm concerned about how much blame you seem to be putting on yourself for what is essentially a non-event.

if anyone is at fault, it's the restaurant.

I feel like this is going to be a near-derailing topic, so let me just say this: I'm someone who is on time and likes when other people are, too. The end result: OP's lateness was the sole cause the problem here. Blaming the victim of the lateness or the restaurant is silly.

"Furious" is probably not the the right response to that problem, but one possible interpretation of this sort of thing is "you don't care enough about me or my time to be somewhere when you said you would." That doesn't feel good.

As someone who also gets very frustrated when my plans are all screwed up because of someone else not bothering to have any sort of respect for the plans we made, understand that he will probably get over it pretty quickly.

If this is a common thing -- you're commonly late (even "just four minutes") for things -- you probably need to work on being on time. It's important to your SO. Leave earlier than you think you need to. My SO is commonly late because she drastically under-estimates how long things will take. Maybe you do that, too? If this is an uncommon thing, don't worry too much about it.

In either case, what he probably doesn't want to hear are a bunch of reasons/excuses. You didn't leave early enough to be on time. Own that, apologize sincerely (no need to go overboard here), and then let it go.
posted by toomuchpete at 8:56 AM on July 3, 2014 [11 favorites]

I, for one, love the "Breakfast for Dinner" idea.

posted by General Tonic at 8:56 AM on July 3, 2014

Meh, it's not that she was 4 minutes late, it's that by being late, the restaurant gave away their table and there was not time for OP and her boyfriend to be seated, meaning no breakfast as planned. That's pretty frustrating.

AskMe has a tendency to tell people they didn't do something wrong. You did; you were late, and that's annoying. Don't kill yourself over this, but this is on you, despite the AskMe cheer leading squad.

The solution to doing something wrong is almost always to refrain from doing the wrong thing again, and do something right to make up for it. In almost all cases, the "doing something right" is an active step (buying dinner, giving BF a BJ, stopping by his office with lunch), and in almost no cases the answer beating yourself up.

You screwed up; make it up to him, don't wallow in it. It's not a federal case.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 9:00 AM on July 3, 2014 [9 favorites]

I'm going to assume that this is a great relationship being borked by stress, and that basically everyone is grumpy and feeling worse about things than they normally would.

I'd suggest getting his favorite dinner tonight and spending the night doing something fun but low key. Call or text him, ask him what he'd like and make it happen. Don't frame it as "oh, I am such a screw-up, I must apologize" just say that you're sorry breakfast didn't happen and you want to do something fun tonight.

On a longer-term scale....seriously, it sounds like you were going to breakfast at a really busy and popular spot on a weekday morning when neither of you had much time, and that, my friend, is an idea doomed to disaster. Even if you hadn't gotten confused, you could have missed the bus/fallen off your bike/let the cat out by mistake/had an emergency phone call and still been four minutes late. Are you the type of person who is chronically overscheduled? Try to do some logistics - "We're thinking of going to Cafe Popular at 7:30, but it will be really crowded and we have to be done by 8:00. Is this likely to work?" "We'd like to have breakfast together some time this week, how early will we need to get up to be realistic about making sure we have enough time?"

I know a lot of people who are deeply unrealistic about how busy breakfast spots are going to be and how long it's going to take to get places - even grown adults. Getting real about this kind of thing and not committing to precarious plans will make your life easier and happier.
posted by Frowner at 9:01 AM on July 3, 2014 [14 favorites]

[Let's stick to the question and not argue amongst yourselves, thanks. ]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 9:04 AM on July 3, 2014

I don't think this is about the 4 minutes. The things you mention seem to indicate that your lives are chaotic right now and you are both dealing with new situations. I would suggest a quiet sit down conversation, a quick sorry about this morning, and then lots of talk about understanding what you are both going through with your life situation. Hearing the other person realize there are some problems can go a long way towards you both resolving them.
posted by Big_B at 9:05 AM on July 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

As a punctual person who always dates people who "run late," I suspect that your SO's level of fury might be an aggregate thing. Obviously, yes, if he had time for a 30+ minute sit-down breakfast, he had time to snag foodstuffs on his way to work. However, if you are chronically late (like more than only four minutes), he's probably starting to resent that. It really is irritating, especially when reservations are in play, when a date just can't get somewhere on time.

That said, in this instance, four minutes is not very many minutes to be late. If he's indeed furious, he should be furious at the weirdly inflexible restaurant. If you have been late enough in the past to cause stress, then I guess a "serious" apology is in order; i.e. if this is a pattern that isn't meshing with his concept of "when people should be someplace," then a real discussion and some compromises/efforts should be made. Otherwise, I don't think anything more than, "Gee, I'm sorry you didn't get breakfast this morning, here's some [pancakes, stiff drinks, booty, etc.] to make up for it!" is required.

If I was him, I'd be spending my day at work trying to balance my legitimate annoyance with your chronic lateness (if that's going on), my annoyance with the restaurant, and my embarrassment over blowing up about it like a baby. By lunch time, or certainly by the time I got home, I'd probably be of a mind to be the one apologizing. In other words, even if my anger about the lateness was totally justified, I'd still want to apologize for how I'd expressed it.

Like many others in this thread, I get the sense from your wording that either 1) you have some issues with being hyper-self critical, or 2) your SO has anger/blaming tendencies that need to be worked on. Working on that stuff together might seem like a hassle -- when added to the stresses of moving/cohabitation -- but your living situation won't improve without it being addressed.
posted by credible hulk at 9:05 AM on July 3, 2014 [9 favorites]

You are not an idiot. Please stop putting yourself down over this; you need forgiveness from yourself more than you need it from him.

And if he's mad at you and not the restaurant or the situation in general, and especially if he hasn't cooled down or apologized by this evening, then that is a big big issue and warrants a Serious Talk rather than an apology. People space out, people fuck up, and life happens, and he needs to learn how to handle setbacks gracefully, because you are not going to be able to prevent or fix all of them.

It sounds like there's something going on right now with one or both of you that isn't quite right and that we don't have enough information to identify.
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:06 AM on July 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

In those 4 minutes the breakfast place managed to give away our table, and all the remaining tables, and since my SO had to go to work, he got entirely screwed out of breakfast. (I mean, so did I, but I was able to just go home and have toast.) He was understandably furious, and stormed off to work food-less.

Err.... You were going to sit down to breakfast, but your table was unavailable. These things happen. If he was going to sit down to eat breakfast he had time to stop somewhere else to get something (admittedly not his first choice) to eat. If he was furious (and it was just over the breakfast thing) then he's an over-reacting arse. The problem (if this is a true representation) is not you.

I'd say that unless he apologises and explains why he was 'furious' (as in, if it isn't actually about something else entirely then he's in the wrong) I'd let it go. You don't owe him an apology for this.

I feel like despite my best efforts, I have pretty much failed to make that transition at all easy. I either do things wrong, or do something right but it's the wrong thing, or try to take care of something For him only to find he wanted us to do the thing Together, or...it goes on.

Sounds to me like the biggest issue is that you two have a pretty serious communication issue. If you are trying to do the right thing, but get it wrong, spend more time establishing the right thing. It shouldn't be possible for you to repeatedly get things wrong in the way you describe if you actually BOTH know what you both want. Either you are missing each other in understanding entirely through miscommunication or (reading possibly between the lines too much) MAYBE his expectations aren't realistic. You need to clearly establish his expectations first to make any judgement call on that, though.
posted by Brockles at 9:09 AM on July 3, 2014 [3 favorites]

By all means do something nice; cheering each other up is an amazing part of a relationship.

But, uh, don't get into a pattern where he becomes furious over something trivial, and then you have to make up for his anger by dressing up as a maid while giving him blowjobs and pancakes, and hope that cheers him up... Um... Because that seems pretty stressful, awful, demeaning, and ... so last century.
posted by mbrock at 9:11 AM on July 3, 2014 [28 favorites]

I either do things wrong, or do something right but it's the wrong thing, or try to take care of something For him only to find he wanted us to do the thing Together, or...it goes on.

So basically everything is always your fault, and you are now such an eggshell-walking wreck that you are trying to figure out how to diffuse an SO who is furious because he didn't get pancakes?

My response would be to remind him that he could have sat down at the table and ordered his breakfast while waiting, accompanied by a carton of breakfast bars and a lifetime supply of get the fuck over it.

Seriously, this relationship does not sound healthy and I can't imagine you're happy. If you find that you are constantly in appeasement mode and are folding yourself into more and more prescribed behaviour to avoid triggering yet another thing being your fault, please take care.
posted by DarlingBri at 9:11 AM on July 3, 2014 [50 favorites]

He was understandably furious, and stormed off to work food-less.

Yeah, that sucks. But disentangle the various anger prompts that were at play here. He was angry about the situation. Figure out how much of that was due to your being four minutes late this morning (are you always late? cumulative is different), versus how much was prompted by the restaurant's shitty service (which, yes, that is shitty service), versus how much was due to other circumstances: your rough month, his busy day, hot weather, etc.

To answer part of your question, I think a loving SO would try to make up for all those various prompts that are causing me to have a rotten, difficult day...but not necessarily feel responsible for each of them. Besides which, coming home to someone who's feeling guilty—instead of happy, cheerful, etc—is no fun.

if you were coming home from work hungry, cranky, and secretly worried that your previously-capable SO had been body-snatched and replaced by a bumbling idiot, what could that SO say or do that would help?

I don't like breakfast for dinner, so that's out. Personally, it would make my night to arrive home and find my choreload reduced. Maybe I was planning to do a laundry, but it's done already. Or a sink full of dishes, already clean. It's only a few minutes but it's just so nice to not have to spend those few minutes.

Barring that, I like sweets. Occasionally my SO surprises me with a cookie from a nearby bakery. That's pretty cool. I'm sorry you and your SO had a rotten morning, and I hope your day gets better. If you're buying sweets then get one for yourself, too.
posted by cribcage at 9:11 AM on July 3, 2014

ALL couples experience things like this, you are not alone. I would apologize once in a sincere way and move on. He is likely already over it after having some time to think it over. Moving in is stressful, it's a big move. You are not a bumbling idiot, you seem like a great gf.
posted by waving at 9:18 AM on July 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

Don't worry about it that much. You didn't do anything wrong. You don't owe a grand apology. However, since he had a crappy start to the day I can understand doing something nice for your partner to make his day less crappy. Maybe pick him up a small gift (wine? whiskey) that he will enjoy.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:26 AM on July 3, 2014

When you move in together, and your time together and obligations to one another increase a billion-fold, new imperfections appear.

One thing you can do is get used to the hard moments, when you're annoyed with one another and either or both of you are not at your best. Those times are one thing people mean when they talk about "rough patches." The relationship grows and changes when you get through those together, so learn to tolerate and understand them. This goes for your partner, too, of course. Fury over 4 minutes late doesn't help anything.
posted by juliplease at 9:28 AM on July 3, 2014

Eek! What a perfect example of my recent unintended consequences syndrome--go looking for nice things to do for my SO, and now the poor bastard is getting a MeFi beatdown instead.

I feel like i should clarify: my SO is not really furious at ME, but was quite furious at the situation. Which, it's nice of y'all to want to make me feel better, but dudes...I totally borked this, I was late! Yes, this breakfast place is silly. But, honestly, we've done this plan many times before and it works fine if nobody's late, which I was. For definitely no good reason.

(As it happens, there is actually no other restaurant between our place and his work that is open in the morning. It's got to be the only eight blocks in a major city that has NO starbucks, NO dunkin, and not even a walgreens...on Google Maps it's just a black hole. So that's why "oh well, I'll grab a bagel" wasn't on the table. Absolute, total, complete bad luck on all levels.)

My making things up to him is really more about bringing him some cheer, and showing him that I'm aware things have been rough riding and I have not had my head in the game entirely, lately. Our lives were clicking along very smoothly and blissfully, and right now they're a disorganized mess. And believe me, he takes responsibility for his part in things, but I really think I am the larger and more chaotic loose cog in the machine right now. (note: RIGHT NOW. this is not some "i am always the worst" statement.)

Thank you to the people who've pointed out that fundamentally, it's a communications breakdown. Having sat here with a coffee for awhile, I think crush-onastick, nailed us, 100%: we tend to have very different (but rigid) definitions of what The Plan is and how to Stick to the Plan. Thanks also to frowner for articulating the idea of precarious plans, which are the bane of my existence, and now they have a name.

If I tried to make pancakes I would probably burn down the kitchen, because I cannot cook, but damned if there isn't a chicken and waffles place that delivers. :)
posted by like_a_friend at 9:32 AM on July 3, 2014 [12 favorites]

I think your SO was not mad at you, so no need to apologize. If you want to make him feel better, there are so many things you can do.

I don't think you are being fair to yourself.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:35 AM on July 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you are brand new to the living together situation, it will definitely help you to sit down and figure out how you can communicate better. It's okay to tell your partner (or have them tell you) things that have been frustrating or roadblocks in the past month.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:35 AM on July 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

(just for the record he was totally on time; the restaurant absolutely refuses to seat incomplete parties. and alas, they do not do "to-go" orders.)
posted by like_a_friend at 9:47 AM on July 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Pancakes? Seriously, folks? Pancakes are not special food. People make pancakes precisely because it's easy. You've got to make something that takes some preparation and time and shows love and dedication. Preferably something French.

You call it a brain fart, but it's just as easy to call it lack of consideration. It's polite, thoughtful, and considerate to be on time for plans you've made with someone else. Your lateness showed a lack of regard for him. He's the one who needed to be on time so that he could eat and get to work, and that seemed to be a low priority for you.

Have your other annoying screw-ups during the past month showed a similar lack of consideration? That may be what's making him angry. Maybe he's wondering if this whole thing was a mistake, and if things are ever going to get any better.

Being late to something you've planned with someone, and screwing up their plans as a result, is rude. Don't blame the restaurant. This is on you, not them.

From now on, make it a point to always be on time.
posted by Leatherstocking at 10:08 AM on July 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

4 minutes and missed breakfast is enough to have me storming off in a fury because of low blood sugar and general morning-ness but then I have to apologize as soon as I've eaten and I'm stable enough to be embarrassed for being a jerk about something that was out of everyone's control (the restaurant behaving in an unprofessional manner.)

It doesn't sound like you did anything wrong but it's still nice to want to acknowledge the day's unpleasantness and do a little cheering in a light-hearted way. To that end I think I'd just make a nice, restaurant-style breakfast tomorrow and tell him tonight that you're doing so because you've decided a do-over is in order.

(To be clear, though, I wouldn't apologize if I were you. I would apologize if I were him.)

On preview: Obviously I disagree categorically with leatherstocking's take on things. 4 minutes late in the morning just happens sometimes. Restaurants here understand that and have a 10 minute window on reservations.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:30 AM on July 3, 2014 [3 favorites]

Cake. Or maybe pie, but probably cake.
posted by SemiSalt at 10:34 AM on July 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

Moving in with someone can be VERY stressful, very stressful indeed. It's a discombobulating time for couples who normally get on very well.

Missing out on something you've been looking forward to (i.e. a delicious breakfast), is also annoying but it becomes "the end of the world" when you're already stressed, and anxious and moody - all emotions which can be triggered by a "rough month" as described in the OP's question.

I'm SURE your other half will have calmed down by the time you get home, and I don't think you necessarily need to do anything other than offer him a sincere and genuine apology. Let him know you feel horrid about the situation and cook him a meal or buy him some beer to cheer him up. or better yet, cook him breakfast for dinner and laugh about it together over bacon and eggs :)
posted by JenThePro at 10:39 AM on July 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

[Folks, the answers really need to be focused on the actual question, which is not "Which of us is in the wrong," at all. Thanks.]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 11:00 AM on July 3, 2014

I'm totally not being facetious with this - my husband and I are discussing and we both think the restaurant/its policies are at fault here (possibly also you or your bf's planning skills if things were really orchestrated that tightly), and if your bf really is pissed at the restaurant and not you, we suggest you make or buy a cake with "FUCK 'RESTAURANTNAME'" written on it, eat it together tonight and rage together about it :)
posted by agress at 11:17 AM on July 3, 2014 [5 favorites]

If it is repeated lack of consideration that is bothering him (as per leatherstocking's comment) then a big boss apology might not be what he wants.
I've been in the situation and the best apology was for me to see him pay a lot of attention to being on time, to us having our stuff sorted before leaving, to looking for small details that need to be done that he usually relies on me to think of. That sort of thing.
Do that a couple of times without talking about it. ( No "look, I'm shaping up for you! Are you happy with me?) It'll make your partner feel loved and listened to.

Any big apologies that seemed grovelling would utterly annoy me. It would mean that we would have to make a big production of forgiving each other for this small ridiculous sounding thing and it wouldn't solve the ongoing problem. I'd be looking for small considerations, not big gestures.
posted by Omnomnom at 12:15 PM on July 3, 2014 [4 favorites]

Long term, I think you need different breakfast strategies. If this is the only breakfast place near the new place he moved into and his job, this is potentially going to come up a lot. Brainstorming other ideas to prevent this (mega breakfast bar at home, getting up earlier) is a nice way to show you're thinking of him. He can of course, do this too but as per your comment, making less precarious plans helps.
posted by eyeofthetiger at 12:37 PM on July 3, 2014

Apologize for adding stress to his already stressful day. Express empathy for how he was feeling when it happened. Hopefully, he'll apologize for blowing up at you.

Have a separate conversation at another time to talk about raised voices and losing one's temper. See if he will agree to treat you as he would like to be treated, and of course you should do the same for him. Since there's plenty of pressure from the outside world, there can be lots of opportunities to be kind to one another instead of adversarial.
posted by wryly at 12:44 PM on July 3, 2014

I would not refer explicitly to the bad incident by having breakfast for dinner. I feel like that would be a kind of downer, except I like the cake idea above, because it's funny. How about just his favorite beer/wine with dinner, a dessert he enjoys, some flowers at the table for dinner?

When I become overly angry about something trivial, I am usually ashamed of myself. I would not want someone to rub my bad behavior in with an overly elaborate apology. It's cool to be nice, but you don't have to tie the niceness in to *your mistake*. Instead, tie it to the good feelings you have about him.
posted by pizzazz at 4:44 PM on July 3, 2014 [3 favorites]

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