There are articles on this subject already, and most of them consist of phrases like “assess the situation,” “apologize,” “correct the problem” and other generic ideas that make you say duh. From my experience, men need things spelled out for them - explicitly. You can tell them to "correct the problem," but it seems to be the case that unless we explain how to do it and/or give specific ways to do it, they probably won’t get it. And that’s okay. That's why I'm here. ;)

I don’t write this to discredit any man's mental capabilities, but there’s a reason us women are considered so confusing. We’re not. I promise. Sometimes men really don’t have a clue. Sometimes the entire male population just seems like one, big disappointment to us ladies,, and sometimes we really do sit around watching Waiting to Exhale, eating ice cream and talking crap about the gentlemen in our life.

When a man messes up with a woman he really cares about, whether she's his wife, girlfriend, friend, mother, sister, etc, it’s important to make it right. It’s worth mentioning that this goes both ways. I am not holding men to a higher standard than us women, but this post is for all the kind Sirs out there.

Generally speaking, the amount of effort required to make things right is directly correlated to the severity of the offense. If you forgot her birthday or got with your hand in the proverbial cookie jar, a half bouquet of carnations from your local grocery store will not suffice.

Every woman is different, though. Step one is a given all the way around, but the others will need to be tweaked according to your unique lady and your unique situation. These tips should be used as a template for success, not as an exact formula.


Even though it takes more than an apology to really make things right, it IS the first step. Things can’t even begin to get back on track with out an apology. This means more than saying I’m sorry. A good apology does a few things:
  1. It acknowledges fault.
  2. It genuinely expresses remorse.
  3. It commits to making a change. 
It’s also important to ask if she accepts your apology, because you can't forward if she’s still reeling from your mistake. If she has not accepted your apology, ask her why and proceed from there. Maybe you didn’t seem genuine, or you could've skirted around owning your actions. If either of these are the case, then you’re probably not ready to apologize. In which case you should take some time to regroup in your separate corners (don’t take too much time though).

If she’s refusing to accept your apology out of pure stubbornness (we get like that sometimes) (sorry), just know that you tried your best and move along to the next step.

Ask how you can make it up to her.

Apologizing might be tough for some people, but it’s considered the easy part when you’ve messed up. Taking the time, energy and sometimes the money to do something and show that you’re sorry is just as important as saying your sorry. Why? Because it’s a way of reinforcing your words and backing them up with some actions. This is always a good idea, and it doesn’t require much in terms of effort. If she wants you to take her to a movie, take her to the movie, and don’t complain about her selection. If she wants you to cook her dinner, head to the kitchen. It's simple... when you ask.

Do something else that she didn’t ask for.

This is where is pays to be an overachiever. The fact that you took the time to do something thoughtful that she didn’t ask for will always get you cool points. Again, it doesn’t take much. Flowers are indeed a nice gesture (even if they are from the local grocery store like I joked about above).

Other ideas include but are not limited to: 
  • hand writing a letter saying how much she means to you
  • writing your feelings on the blank side of a thoughtful greeting card
  • taking her out for a nice meal
  • packing lunches for a picnic in the park (weather permitting)
  • drawing her a bubble bath 
  • turning on some slow jams and slow dancing with her in your own little world
  • taking her to get a massage at the spa
  • taking her to the fair (if it’s that time of year) and winning her an over-sized stuffed animal
  • buying her an over-sized stuffed animal
  • offering to do any kind of housework or chores
  • fixing something around her place
  • etc.

Commit to making sure it doesn’t happen again.

No brainier, right? Don’t forget her birthday next year, or the year after; keep your hand out of the cookie jar, etc. Basically, try your best to refrain from doing whatever you did to mess up, and be consistent. We get that you’re not perfect; the important things is that we see your effort.

If the same thing does happen again, then maybe it really is time to “assess the situation” and get to the root of the problem. Generally speaking however, you probably just carelessly messed up. It happens. We all do it - men and women. Hopefully these steps will help you keep it moving.

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