AITA? The Step-by-Step Guide for #PodMen

Carrie Caulfield Arick
4 min readMar 20, 2022


Man walking happily on boardwalk with saddle bag and book. A step by step guide to knowing if you’re an asshole for PodMen.

I’ve created a step-by-step guide for you based on my own practice of discerning whether I’m bringing my own baggage into a situation or if I really am the a-hole (hence the acronym AITA).

Because sometimes I am. We all must work on our stuff, even though it’s messy and ego-crushing. Yet, it allows for true redemption and essentially a more fulfilled, authentic, happier life.

If I had time and energy, I’d make a flow chart. I don’t. So anyone is welcome to do that. If you do, email me at carrie(at) and I’ll add it here with the proper credit (and buy you a coffee).

Gif of Mr. Kim from the TV show Kim’s Convenience talking to a customer. Customer says, “we all start somewhere.” Mr. Kim replies, “But have to know when to stop.”

STEP 0: Historical Assessment

Sometimes we don’t realize our own behavioral patterns. As the old saying goes, Check yourself before your wreck yourself.

Answer the following questions:

· Will an accusation against me ruin the accusers career? If YES, skip to STEP 5

· Has this happened to me repeatedly? Skip to STEP 4 and 5 concurrently.

· Could my words or actions be perceived as something negative? If YES, skip to STEP 6. If NO, skip to STEP 2

Otherwise, continue to STEP 1.

STEP 1: Situational Awareness

Turn off the wifi. Assess the situation. Do not react, yet. Take a deep, cleansing breath.

Answer the following questions:

· Do you intimately know the person? If YES, skip to STEP 3

· Was it explicitly stated that I did something wrong? If YES, skip to STEP 3

STEP 2: Emotional Awareness

Feelings are not facts. Take another deep breath.

Answer the following questions:

· Am I feeling negative emotions about this? Go to STEP 3.

· Is the tone of the thing in question explicitly clear? If YES, skip to STEP 7

· Do I have unresolved trauma? If YES, skip to STEP 5

Otherwise, continue to STEP 3

STEP 3: Assess for Confirmation Bias

Answer the following questions:

· Would everyone who looks like and thinks like me agree with my feelings?

· Does this disagree with my self-identity? If NO, skip to STEP 5

· Is it really all about me? Skip to STEP 7

Otherwise, continue to STEP 4.

STEP 4: Third-Party Assessment

Query the marginalized people in my life.

· Did every marginalized person decline to help? If YES, skip to STEP 5

· Does their feedback make me upset? If YES, skip to STEP 5

· Was I the asshole in their opinion? If YES, skip to STEP 6

Otherwise, continue to STEP 5

STEP 5: Professional Assessment

Make an appointment with a qualified mental health provider. Repeat until discharged from care. Then, go to STEP 7 and 8 concurrently.

STEP 6: Taking Personal Responsibility

I’m the asshole. Here’s what to do next…

· Admit wrongdoing.

Then, ask yourself:

· Was this really an accusation? If NO, go to STEP 5.

· Did I share my emotional pain with the accuser? If YES, go to STEP 5.

· Did I take ownership without placing my own emotions on the accuser? If NO, go to STEP 7

· Did I ask the accuser to accept any blame or responsibility for my actions and/or feelings at any point? If YES, go to STEP 5.

· Did I make the accuser explain why they are accusing me? If YES, go to STEP 5

· Am I angry at my accuser and their supporters? Go back to STEP 5

Repeat this step until you reach STEP 8.

STEP 7: Working through your emotions

· Go immediately to the self-help section of my podcast app. Listen to shows only created by marginalized people.

· Start an open dialogue with your loved ones about how my behavior impacts them.

· Find a support group.

· Journal.

· Actively seek experiences outside my bubble.

· Reflect despite feeling negative emotions.

· Go to STEP 5.

· Did I change learn something that led to changing my behavior? If NO, go back to STEP 0

STEP 8: Creating a new identity

· Apply my new self-awareness when I make my next mistake.

· Encourage others to do the same.

· Live a happier, more authentic life.


Special thanks to all the amazing people in my life who help me work through this assessment when I need it. (including my husband, son, co-hosts, podcast community and my therapist)



Carrie Caulfield Arick

Podcast Production Expert. Combing the Indie + Corporate Worlds. Thought Leader. Teacher. Advocate. Speaker. Glitter Lover. Your fairy podmother. Now 50% more