So she walked out of your life and you still love her? We’ve gleaned ten tips on things to do—and things to definitely NOT do—to win her (or him!) back by poring through some of our favorite movies for romantic gestures to learn from.
Before you get carried away by the romance of recovering your lost connection and sweeping her off her feet, be sure you really want to know how to win her back.
It could be that the romantic gesture holds more appeal than the reality of a future relationship with her.
If this is so, it will be apparent soon enough, as we know from the painfully uncomfortable bus ride after Dustin Hoffman whisks a bride away from her wedding day in the finale of 1967 classic, The Graduate.
The new couple sit in awkward silence as the credits roll and they stew in their hasty decision…
Take a note from Bill Murray in Groundhog Day and work on yourself.
Focusing inward will distract you from your lovelorn status and benefit you in the long run, and a partner with interests and hobbies who takes good care of themselves is more appealing.
Plus, your worth isn’t tied to your partner, and you should both know it.
If you told her you just think of her as a friend, and then realized you made a huge mistake, explain yourself.
She needs to know that you love her—and why—and that you’re not just feeling lonely for anyone.
Make like Harry in When Harry Met Sally and get your point across with a bulleted list! Do you adore the crinkle in her forehead? Love how long it takes her to order a sandwich?…
Don’t make a point of mentioning other women to make her jealous or having a fake hilarious conversation with your friend when she walks by.
While the How to Win a Girl Back Wiki does contain some useful advice, we think this tactic will just make you look desperate.
Maybe you’re considering mansplaining to her why she’s making a huge mistake in rejecting you, and that she’s obviously just afraid of life.
This may have worked like a charm in the 1961 Audrey Hepburn classic Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but it’s 50+ years later and you don’t get to decide what’s best for her.
If you do venture down this road, don’t expect her to chase you out into the rain to salvage things, like Audrey.
Instead, try listening to what she has to say. You may even learn something about yourself!
In perhaps the most memorable win-her-back moment in modern cinema, John Cusack plays a Peter Gabriel cassette from a boombox held over his head outside his love interest’s bedroom window in 1989’s Say Anything. She ignores him (until later).
Should you show up at her house playing her favorite make-out music, to remind her of what you once had?
It’s totally stalkerish and weird.
If you are trying to tug at her memories of you, only attempt it when you are certain that you shared an intimate connection—shared, meaning you both experienced it—and she wants to move on from it for practical and unromantic purposes, like she’s going away to school.
If you aren’t sure if she feels something for you, this move will come across as creepy and crude.
Or if you do, be prepared to put your money where your mouth is.
If you’re planting a massive field of her favorite flower outside her window à la Ewan McGregor in Big Fish, or hiring a marching band to back up your rendition of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” in front of a crowd like Heath Ledger in 10 Things I Hate About You, she’s going to expect you to do the work.
Gestures like this will only succeed if you genuinely understand why she’s upset—and you genuinely feel remorse about it—and you’re genuinely willing to have a conversation about it.
Did you toss your true love down a steep hill after a miscommunication?
We’ve all been there.
While throwing yourself down the mountainside after him may work for the Princess Bride, dramatics could make your apology look less sincere.
Try being direct and explaining where you were coming from when you disappointed your partner—and what kind of emotional journey you’ve taken that will prevent you from behaving that way in the future.
Do not, under any circumstances, stand on a balcony overlooking her nuptials, bellowing her name like Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate.
An equally bad option is pining away for her at her wedding and waiting until after she’s married to profess your feelings with a corny poster presentation on her doorstep, as in 2003’s Love Actually.
If you can’t drum up the courage to address your feelings before she’s hitched—or if you have, and she rejected you—well, that ship has sailed. Sometimes it really is time to move on!
Sure, Richard Gere won all of our hearts at the end of Pretty Woman by riding up in a white limo with a bouquet of red roses held out the sunroof, opera music booming from the speakers.
But what if the woman of your dreams is more of a tulip girl, and wouldn’t be caught dead listening to opera?
If you think a gesture this big is in order, and you insist on ignoring the related tips above, at least show her how well you know her by personalizing the details.
She loves old Volkswagens, Motown music, and sushi?
Borrow your cousin’s VW Rabbit, cue up Four Tops’ “Bernadette” on Spotify, and pick up a dragon roll and some tulips for good measure.
Oh, and don’t follow Gere’s lead and climb the fire escape with a comment on how you’re “rescuing” her.