Man Up To Your Mistakes

Man up to your mistakesMen are often stereotyped as either overbearing and arrogant, or as passive pansies. Many of us don’t follow in those two categories. One common syndrome that feeds this perception is men refusing to own and man up to their mistakes.

For some guys it’s nearly impossible to recognize when they need to man up to a mistake. When men don’t, they can be crushing to the people around them. Whether it’s they girlfriend, spouse, kids, parents or friends, not recognizing and taking responsibility for a wrong is damaging to others and damaging to their image of you.

All men want respect. Right? To man up to your mistakes doesn’t mean you’re giving up your power or losing respect. In fact, most people respect a person more when they are self-aware and humble enough to recognize and own a wrong.

If you have a tough time figuring out when to man up to your mistakes, here’s what to do:

Recognize your mistake

When people look at you funny or are offended, that might be a cue that you’ve done something unacceptable.

Now, just because others deem your actions unacceptable doesn’t mean you have to acquiesce to their preferences. I hope you’ve found a moral code. And it shouldn’t be one you made up. It should be one that pre-exists and exists outside of you. If not, well, internally fabricated morality doesn’t hold water for long.

According to that code, if you know you’ve wronged someone (as in if they did it to you, you would feel wronged) then you have successfully recognized your mistake. This of course could include more than offending people, but dropping the ball at work, lying, bad decision making that impacted others, etc.

Become more self-aware

Becoming more self-aware is a trait of humility. What’s kind of funny about that is it may sound like I’m suggesting you think more about yourself. In a way you should. But thinking about yourself with others in mind.

To become more self-aware you should consider how someone other than yourself would receive you. You probably are somewhat satisfied and used to yourself. But others are not. They don’t know you, your story, or your good intentions. Being aware that people don’t know your slate will help you gain their perspective of you.

Remember this: people’s perceptions of you become reality to them.

Ask for feedback

If you struggle to be self-aware when manning up to your mistakes it’s much easier when you ask people for what they think about you.

A common manly mantra is ““I don’t give a #$%^ about what people think.”

I disagree. You really should care about what people think, and you should listen to them. People matter. People are important. And receiving a healthy person’s insight will create a healthier you.

Listen to the men in your life

What do other men you trust have to say about your behavior and patterns?

Listen to the women in your life

A woman’s perspective is frequently different than a man’s. Go get a woman’s perspective!

How to man up to your mistakes


Whether it was dropping the ball, missing a deadline, making a decision that harshly impacted others, lying or just plain hurting someone, you should go apologize. That alone will show you firmly man up to your mistakes.

A note: if you find yourself being a people-pleaser, don’t walk around groveling and apologizing just because people make you “feel” bad. If you truly didn’t error, the problem may not be you. And apologizing where it’s inapproppriate to do so sometimes feeds other people’s bad patterns of behavior.

Right the wrong

What must you do to make it right? Sometimes it is as simple as making an apology. Sometimes, you need to make an extra effort and take an extra step to resolve things at work. In a relationship, it probably will take more than some roses or chocolates. It probably means some long conversations to talk things through.

Keep your word

Need I say anything more? Check out Ronan Cray’s post and what he has to say about this being one of the 8 Traits Of Real Men.

Stay true to that word

Once you’ve given your word, keep on keeping it. Give it, and don’t let it return void. Decide who you’re going to be and continue to be that man who chooses to man up to their mistakes.

Man up to your mistakes

If you’re the guy who does recognize and “own” when they’re wrong, you’ll stand head and shoulders above those that don’t. People will recognize your humility. This is an important trait of a team player that will help you at work, and when you’re teaming with friends, family and your spouse for a greater life.

[Featured image credit]


  1. I always try to man up to my mistakes. It is a lot easier to point the finger at someone or something else but it does take a lot of guts to own up to something you did wrong. The biggest part is to fix the problem and learn from the mistake.

    • It’s true–a lot of times the first inclination can be to deflect blame and that means pointing to others or something out of our control. I think it is a hard balance when to recognize that something gone wrong is under your responsibility, but wasn’t your fault. It takes a statesman to toe the line of taking responsibility while also not letting get away that needs to be corrected.

  2. Good post Todd! It can be so hard to admit mistakes, especially in a society that prides itself in not doing so. However, it is vital to do as none of us are perfect. You hit the nail on the head in regards to being self aware. It’s such an important trait to foster and I would agree that it can be seen as a mark of humility.

    • Man I am pretty tired of celebrities that try to pass the buck and lash out. Chris Brown comes to mind? Do he ever actually apologize for beating the crap out of his girlfriend? I know stars are held to a high standard, but they should understand that’s what comes with riches and fame. If you don’t want the criticism, than back away.

      And that really is a note even to leaders that don’t want to take responsibility.

  3. It’s all so easy when it’s listed out like this…the reality of acting like this is tough work!

  4. Men who are confident enough to own up to their mistakes are more attractive, too. 🙂

  5. Asking for feedback also, in the majority of cases, earns more respect than doing less of a good job on your own. Great insight.

    • Most people really do respect people who ask feedback. I think it’s a great trait in people.

      I’m a person who likes to ask a lot of questions and want a lot of feedback. I will say that is has confused new co-workers when I want their insight so much. On that front, I probably need to slow it down!

  6. “You really should care about what people think,” This one goes back to the previous one I think. I’m not sure you should care what people think, but you should be aware of what they think of you and decide if their opinion shows something that warrants attention or not. There are always going to be people that you just can’t please.

    • I agree that you can’t please severe critics, and those people’s opinions you shouldn’t worry about. But to want to be aware of people’s thoughts towards you is to care.

  7. I have always been much more impressed with people who admit their mistakes and mean it instead of those who make up excuses. On an unrelated and probably tasteless note, I cracked up that the adchoice that popped up when I was reading this post was for Just My Size Bras!

    • Ahhh that’s the best! Hahaha. I have actually wondered what ads women may be seeing pop up on our site. Once I saw a ton of purses and I was confused b/c I hadn’t been searching for any :).

  8. Nice post Tod. Great advice.

    Sorry seems so hard to say in this day and age. Not sure why – possibly because we’re all so self absorbed. A small word with enormous possibilities.

    I always remember someone describing a pointing finger (when apportioning blame) as having 3 pointing back at me (the pointer) i.e. look at self before looking elsewhere for faults/blame.

  9. Yea I must be one that finds it difficult to man up to my mistakes, although in recent months I have become aware of this, unfortunately separation bought this on. Difficult when sometimes its just to late to realise your mistakes

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