When girlfriends get together to talk, a large part of the conversation often consists of talking about their husbands, boyfriends, or that one asshole your friend can’t stop thinking about even though he always takes hours to text back—hey, we’ve all been there.
My intention is not to place the blame on anyone in particular. After all, it takes two to tango and trust me, guys, ain’t perfect either. But women are equally responsible for making the relationship work and keeping their partners happy.
Especially when it comes to long-term relationships, the romance of the honeymoon phase naturally fades. This phenomenon isn’t necessarily a bad thing in itself. Actually, it most likely means you and your partner are comfortable with one another, and there’s something beautiful and satisfying about that.
But somewhere in between peeing with the door open for the first time and hanging around the house with him with no makeup, greasy hair, and sweats, you might lose sight of how to be a good girlfriend. In other words, you might have gotten so comfortable that you’re starting to get a little lazy.
It happens to the best of us. Your man should be putting in some work too, but here’s what you can do to be a better partner on your end.
1. The “random-surprise” date
Hopefully your man puts in as much effort as you do into your relationship. If he does, then one great way to show him what a great girlfriend you are is to organize a surprise date.
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Just picture how much his face will light up when you surprise him with two tickets to a big game with his favorite sports team. Or maybe take him to that Mexican place he’s been dying to check out that you’ve refused to go to because you hate Mexican. These little gestures tell him that you care about him enough to sacrifice your own preferences. Plus, it might be kind of fun getting out of your element for a little while.
You’ll find 30 great date ideas here.
2. Cook his favorite meal
It might be a cliche, but the way to a man’s heart really is through his stomach.
If he had a hard day at work, cheer him up by offering to have whatever he wants waiting for him on the dinner table as soon as he gets home. You can also surprise him by just quickly whipping up something you know he loves, or text him while you’re at the grocery store to see what he wants you to bring back. This will definitely get him to spend more time at your place, and he’ll love the feeling of being taken care of every once in a while.
3. Get in shape…hmmm
Looking like a Victoria Secret model is not the key to being a good girlfriend, but being fit and healthy is.
According to research reported by the Daily Mail, 60 percent of people put on weight when they are in a comfortable relationship. If you’ve been dreaming about him putting a ring on it, the news is even worse: researchers from Ohio State University found that women tend to gain more weight than men after marriage.
For both your own self-confidence and to satisfy your boyfriend, make a goal to eat healthier and get in better shape. You can even set goals together and motivate each other by buying a gym membership, researching healthy new recipes, and even planning more active dates like going hiking or taking a salsa dancing class.
4. Express interest in his hobbies
Ideally, you and your boyfriend should already have at least a few common interests and hobbies. Although it’s healthy for each of you to do your own thing too, it’s equally important to express interest in the things he loves.
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This shows him that you care about and respect him, while also allowing you to get to know him better and share something new together. If he’s into something that you just have literally zero interest in, try to get creative to make it more appealing to you and fun for the both of you.
For example, most guys love video games, but if Grand Theft Auto makes you cringe (and I don’t blame you), explore the diverse selection of video games the market has to offer. You’re bound to find something you like, and it can offer a way into this alternate world he inhabits.
As a general rule of thumb: don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it. In other words, be open-minded. You might think you could care less about football and then find yourself having the time of your life decked out in a jersey and face paint, screaming at the top of your lungs with thousands of fans in the stadium when his team scores a touchdown.
5. Blow his mind in the bedroom
This is probably the easiest problem to fix when you’re figuring out how to be a good girlfriend. One of the first places that couples lose that “spark” is in the bedroom. But there’s no excuse for a lame sex life in a world where you can get the Kama Sutra in app form (over 100 sex positions you should try out here), take pole dancing classes at the gym (tips on how to strip for your man here), and buy any number of high-tech, exotic sex toys at the click of a button (sex toys section here). At the end of the day, it comes down to being willing to try something new, and exploring your own desires with your lover.
If you don’t already know it, ask him what his biggest sexual fantasy is and do what it takes to make it happen. This is one of the most powerful things you can do to be a good girlfriend. In fact, don’t be surprised if he brags to his buddies about it.
For another approach, seduce him into acting out your own sexual fantasy, or just something new you’ve always wanted to try. Your assertiveness will get him hot right away.
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6. Flirt with him
Just because you’re dating, doesn’t mean you can’t still flirt.
If you’re not totally comfortable doing it in person, try getting in touch with your playful, flirty side through texts and Snapchat (these flirty text message examples and these dirty ones will help get you started).
For example, text him that if he guesses what color your lingerie is, you’ll send him a picture of it. Teasing him is another cute way to flirt with him that feels a bit more natural, plus it gives you a good excuse to give him playful apology kisses while telling him how you really feel about him.
By the way, flirting should never stop, whether you are dating for 1 week or married for 40 years.
7. Shower him with compliments
Psychology researchers at The Gottman Institute recently found that the most important factor determining the success of couples is the level of kindness they exhibited toward one another. So if you want to know how to be a great girlfriend, make sure to be kind.
This included words of encouragement, compliments, genuine interest in what their partner had to say, and understanding when their loved one made a mistake.
Even if you both love each other deeply, the relationship won’t last if you act as a source of negativity in your boyfriend’s life or vice versa. Make it a habit now to compliment and support your boyfriend often—when he’s down and “just because.” This makes him feel loved and appreciated by you, and also makes him constantly associate you with positive feelings.
In a positive emotional environment, your love can grow even stronger, and you’ll likely notice him naturally complimenting your more often.
8. Make him a priority
The demands of the real world have a sinister way of making you choose unimportant or superficial things over the people who matter most to you. According to researchers at Kansas State University, arguing about money is the top predictor of divorce and end of relationships. Especially in today’s tumultuous economy, money can be a major (and usually legitimate) stress factor.
But as stressful as it might be, if you want to be a good girlfriend, you should make a conscious daily goal to never letting it take precedence over your lover. For example, if your work schedule is preventing you from spending enough time together, consider what luxuries you can afford to cut out so you can work less.
Another way you can be a good girlfriend for him is by simply listening to him. Ask him how his day went and remember details he tells you even if they seem boring or unimportant. For example, if he briefly mentions having to go to a meeting while he rushes out the door after breakfast, ask him later how it went.
In general, just be considerate and search for ways you can help him when you can. For example, if he’s been overwhelmed with work and you’ve got some extra time to yourself, sneak over and clean his apartment, wash his car and fill the tank, and offer to run errands for him without having to ask. Compromising and helping one another is what a partnership is all about.
9. Hang out with him and his friends
Although you don’t exactly want to invade “Boys Night,” if you want to be a good girlfriend, you should make an effort to casually hang with his friends and get to know them when you can. Earning the approval of his bros is pretty much guaranteed to get you promoted to gold-star girlfriend, and plus it lets you into an intimate part of his life.
Definitely avoid putting on a just-one-of-the-guys act: they’ll see right through you, and that’s not the image you want to go for anyway. Just show them that you can be laid back and funny by laughing at their jokes, making your own, having a beer, and just having a good time whatever the situation might be. By the same token, make an effort to introduce your boyfriend to your friends and invite him into this part of your life as well.
You don’t have to torture him by dragging him to the mall with everyone, but it’s always useful to get the firsthand opinions of your girls. In both situations, both you and your boyfriend can see how one another acts in different social dynamics, which can actually allow you to learn a lot about a person.
10. Be independent
You’re probably thinking: “Wait. How am I supposed to be a good girlfriend and be independent at the same time?” It’s actually easier than you think. Although you should be willing to share and compromise in a relationship, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to give up your individual identity and your unique needs and values.
The vast majority of men don’t want you to be a girlfriend who will just go along with whatever he wants and doesn’t have thoughts and passions of her own.
So even though it might seem counterproductive to the goal of being a good girlfriend, you owe it to yourself and your lover to express yourself openly. Call him out when he’s acting like a jerk. Always tell him what you want and need from him, and don’t be afraid to criticize when necessary. Remember that your happiness matters in and of itself, and also in relation to your boyfriend’s happiness.
If you don’t embrace your independence now, you’ll find later that you resent him for preventing you from developing and growing as a person…the opposite to being a good girlfriend.
Once again, your efforts to be a better girlfriend should always be matched by his efforts to be a better boyfriend. To some extent, you should expect him to reciprocate your love and kindness just because it’s fair, but you can’t just expect your boyfriend to know that you expect him to bring you breakfast in bed this Saturday just because you did it for him last Saturday.
Communicate your expectations and explain your rationale without being accusatory. After all, sometimes guys can just be oblivious or forgetful or busy and they make mistakes. Be understanding if this happens a few times, but also be aware of how his mistakes are affecting you and when it goes too far.
With these precautions in mind and applying the 10 tips above, you’ll easily be on your way to perfect girlfriend status. And if you keep it up long enough, you may even get promoted to wifey
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