Updated 02 October 2013

Guys: how to say sorry and mean it

So you forgot your wedding anniversary, wrote off her car, hit the bottle horribly and told her mother she had hips like a hippo. Blame it on the tequila. You're in the dog box.


So you forgot your wedding anniversary, wrote off her car, hit the bottle horribly and told her mother she had hips like a hippo. Blame it on the tequila. Problem is, you’re in the dog box now.

What can you do? Let’s assume for a minute you are indeed at fault. You really did insult her mother and her car is definitely a steaming, towed-away insurance claim. The laws of science hadn’t shifted, so your anniversary date didn’t suddenly drop out of the calendar. This is the reason many women choose not to marry on a leap year.

And face it: your behaviour is the reason some women don’t marry at all.

Eating humble pie
Welcome to the world of humble pie. Fetch yourself a spoon and make it a big one. A heartfelt apology can be the most disarming thing in the world, but it’s linked directly to your track record.

If you forgot you were taking her to dinner and went boozing with your friends, you could be in the soup for a day or so. If this is the fourth time you’ve done so in the last fortnight, it’s not soup – it’s lava.

The worst thing you can do
A muttered apology may leave you worse off than before. The worst possible approach? “I don’t see what’s so bad about making a pass at your sister, but if it’ll make you feel better, ‘I’m sorry,’ okay?”

For your apology to stand any chance of being accepted you need to convince her that you take the offence at least as seriously as she does. So something along the lines of grabbing her hands, elbows, or shoulders and looking into her eyes while saying “I really love you very much and have chosen to spend the rest of my life with you, and I want you to know how sorry I am.” It helps if you actually mean it.

One writer recommended going to a movie together. This can work well, provided she’s willing to sit next to you for 90 minutes. If she’s likely to try to scratch out your eyes, give the movie a miss, along with dinner afterwards – tableware is sharp.

Flowers an old standby
Flowers are an old standby, but these days you can buy them at your local filling station and your nearest set of traffic lights, which lowers their impact a little. If the offence is as serious as you are about making up, go online with your plastic and spend a disgusting amount of money on a dozen red roses, with same-day delivery. Tack another zero on to that amount and you’re dealing with enough foliage to fill a small office.

Don’t write long and flowery apologies. You might choose to not even send a card.

None of this matters if there’s any chance of her suspecting you’re not serious. If you drank too much tequila and made a pass at her sister, several thousand rands worth of flowers might just work. If you already made passes at her two other sisters, her mother and the babysitter, forget the flowers and spend the money on a divorce lawyer.

One other option. Do something that makes her life easier. Sneak home and clean the house. Be inventive. Be serious. Or be dead.

(William Smook, Health24, updated September 2013)



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