Man showing 'I'm Sorry' sign to angry girlfriend

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Today is National Get Out of the Doghouse Day, and if the you got even a little excited when you read that first line, you have some major making up to do with someone.

For those of you who don’t know, a person is considered to be “in the doghouse” (it’s a metaphor and not an actual place) when they’ve committed an act(s) that is exceedingly offensive, annoying or downright rude. One can be relegated to the doghouse for messing up in his or her personal or professional life (read: you’re being an a**hole)—and yes, both men and women can be sentenced there.  So how does one get out of the proverbial doghouse? The answer is much more nuanced than just tucking your tail, whimpering and licking your loved one (though that may actually work in some cases). If you really want to get out of the doghouse, and you know you’ve committed a flagrant foul, you’ve got to go big so you can go home.

Here are some suggestions to getting off her shit list.

Say You’re Sorry, Dammit.

It’s time to come hard…with an apology folks (get your mind out of the gutter). If you’ve done something that really hurt or pissed off someone who has any influence on your day-to-day happiness, or who you just happen to care about, it’s time to keep it 100 percent sincere and say you are sorry. Now, don’t let the expression of your regret focus more on the other person than what you’ve done. Lame excuses and phrases like, “I’m sorry if you were offended” won’t cut it. Take full accountability for your poor decision, let the person know you see how it impacted them negatively and you regret making him or her feel bad.

If you really want to get out of the doghouse, and you know you’ve committed a flagrant foul, you’ve got to go big so you can go home.

Make a Grand-A** Gesture.

Don’t sleep on the power of doing it big—this works whether your mess up annoyed a friend, romantic interest or professional relationship. People who say they don’t like special treat are lying. Now, they may not want a public grand gesture, so it’s up to you to determine what will make the person you’re trying to make up with feel the happiest with the least embarrassment. If it’s a romantic interest, the best route is gifting her or him with an experience that shows you’ve been listening (think a dinner at a restaurant he or she mentioned or concert tickets to show you guys have been wanting to see). The key is to make sure it doesn’t feel like a bribe, so don’t go ridiculous—no trips, jewelry or unusual sexcapades. If it’s a work relationship or a platonic friend, think of that thing he or she loves—just make sure it’s work appropriate. Is it a few free drinks at happy hour? Should you volunteer to input the next Power Point presentation? Do you need to treat the team to lunch? Whatever it is, make it count.

Don’t Bring Up Old Ish.

You’ve sincerely apologized, given an awesome “I’m sorry” gift and the person you want to make up with still isn’t ready to let things go. Frustrating, right? Unfortunately, he or she has the right to move at his or her own pace. Your job is simple: you have to resist the urge to “go petty.” That means no arguing. You can’t bring up all the reasons he or she should forgive you, and the crap you forgave him or her for in the past. The best way to kill the drama, prove you’re ready to move on and, most importantly, get out of the doghouse is to take your licks with the utmost maturity. That means you let the person spend a little time sitting in his or her anger, without you. Once they see you’re truly sorry–and not engaging in the b.s.—he or she will come around.

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