GERALD: Hi, Singlestalk. I just joined an audit firm where I got reconnected to a batchmate I knew so well. We’re an item back then. And I ghosted her. No one really knew we’re together. Her family would have disapproved had they known. She’s charming. Not the prettiest but the brightest in our batch. Thoughtful, too. She’d leave motivational messages on pages of my books, and would check on me on exams week whether I was studying. I was a varsity scholar and if not for her, I wouldn’t have graduated with honors. She’s based in Manila but is temporarily in Cebu for a project. Still the same remarkable person I knew. And now that I’ve grown up, can you help me win her back?

DJ: Contrary to what Popoy and Basha made you believe, it takes more than blasting music from a boombox or organizing a flash mob to once again sweep her off her feet. She went through a painful process of untangling her heart from you. Now you want it back. A round of applause please. You ghosted her. Now you want her to bring you back to life. How about a standing ovation? Should you send her flowers? Will hand-rolled truffles from TCC win the sweetness back? Should you play it cool? My suggestion? Just be honest. Your best bet is to be sincere.

Okay, what did you do? The question sounds obvious. But I want you to retrace your steps and reflect. By thinking that it was ghosting that broke her heart, let me tell you it’s a lot deeper than that. Dude, not only did you deny her the closure she deserved. You also probably kept her wondering what she did to deserve it. More than turning into crickets, it’s the effect on her that you should be truly sorry about. Once you’ve understood how and why she’s hurt, then you can sincerely apologize. But heads-up—words alone may not cut it. Faith goes hand in hand with love. You left her heart bleeding in a ditch. You broke her trust. Love alone won’t likely salvage the relationship. You’ve got to show her that you’re different now. Win back her trust by being responsible, genuine and consistent.

At least you’re both working in the same firm. She’ll see how mature and wise you’ve become because you don’t bring up the past while at work. It’s likely that she now thinks your brain is underdeveloped and is in need of work. Show her that it reached an acceptable level by appreciating her ideas. I don’t say be a wuss. Listen. You probably made her feel insignificant in the past. Showing her that she is a true gem of a person can help her see that you’re worth a second chance. Excel in the job, too. Women respect a guy who works hard and is willing to get his hands dirty for work he passionately believes as worth doing.

Make her laugh. Replace the pain from the train wreck you brought her to with feel-good moments. Laughter, fun, positivity and charm all have a positive effect on people. Bring take-out coffee or pasta when she’s got her hands full. Court her all over again. Pull out all the stops and demonstrate reasons why she should forgive you and give you another chance. Sweet and sincere gestures often weigh more than empty grand gestures that are meant to show off. Be the first person she first fell in love with, but treat and love her better from now on.

Because you pulled the rug under her, she had a really, really bad fall. It can feel weird on her part to just pick up the pieces and be all sugar and sweet again. I don’t think you’re a horrible person. Everyone makes mistakes. What turns a guy into a great guy, however, is when he learns from his mistakes and becomes an even better person as a result. It’s just that you knew her real value quite late now that she’s gone. Set things right as a good person would. Being sorry may not fix everything. But when done sincerely, it can lead to healing. Then let time work its magic. Everything worth having is worth-waiting for. If she is meant to be in your life, she will come back. And if she will, keep her for good. How? Don’t lose her ever again.