#1: Talk to Her - It doesn't matter whether you're the talkative kind or she is. Women need to hear as much as they speak, probably more. Just talk about your day if nothing else comes to mind, but do make an effort to really open up about how you feel and what you think. It doesn't matter what the topic is as long as you're proactively communicating. You'll see a world of difference in your relationship when your girlfriend knows that you really talk to her, not talk at her.
#2: Listen to Her - That's the other side of the coin. Men have become experts at 'appearing to listen' to the women in their lives while all the while the one thought occupying their mind is: 'I wonder what we're having for dinner?' or 'I gotta get that noisy muffler looked at.' The next time she talks, look into her eyes and make an effort to really listen to her words. She doesn't always want a 'fix' for the issue at hand or even an answer to most questions. Sometimes, she just wants you to listen. That can't be too hard. Or can it? Just give it the old team effort, make your girlfriend happy, and see the relationship bloom to new levels.
#3: Respect Her - No, I'm not talking about opening the car door or picking up the cheque. That's chauvinism, not respect, and it doesn't sit well with most women today. No, I'm talking about giving her space, trusting her instincts, and treating her like an individual rather than something that adorns your arm at parties. Acknowledge her friends even if you don't like some of them. At least, remember their names! Respecting your girlfriend on that level shows here that you consider her to be your equal rather than 'the lesser half' of you. It's a mistake too many men make, so don't.
#4: Be Interested in Her Life - Are some things important to her that you couldn't care less about? Big mistake. You don't have to love the things she loves; there's no faking here. What you're trying to do is to put aside your disinterest or even disdain for the things she values and try to look at it from her perspective. In other words, put yourself in her shoes and try to feel what she feels about a particular part of her life.
#5: Get her Gifts - Who doesn't love getting gifts? Every opportunity you get, try and buy a little something for your girlfriend. Does it matter how much you spend? Not in the least. A pretty flower you found, a nice-looking pebble, a photo of something you came across that day... it can be practically anything at all. The point of it is that a gift represents a sharing of something, and that goes a long way in strengthening any relationship, including your relationship with your girlfriend.
#6: Call Her Mother - For crying out loud, why can't you be nice to her mom? What did she ever do to you? Give her a call once in a while and you won't even have to tell your girlfriend about it. She'll know. Dropping in on her parents now and then is also a good idea if you know them well enough. Heck, you don't even have to like them. Just be nice to them. You do that with your boss every day, right?
#7: Use Those Three Words. And Often. - I, love, and you - in that order - are probably the three most valuable words in any relationship. And when it's a romantic one, it becomes even more important. Unless you grew up in a gushy, huggy, 'I love you' type of family, you know exactly how hard it can be to tell someone that you love them. But if this relationship is worth anything to you, you'll give it the old college try.
#8: Write Love Notes - An easy way to get brownie points with your girlfriend is to leave her little sticky notes with emotional stuff on them in places you know she'll see them - in her handbag or wallet, on the back of her phone when she's not looking, on the fridge if you live together... you get the idea. Don't try to be Shakespeare and don't shake with fear at the prospect of doing this. A simple note once in a while saying "you mean a lot to me" or "you're the reason I am what I am" will do. The words aren't important; it's the sentiment that counts. Just don't say "need eggs"!
#9: Chocolates and Flowers - Why leave these until Valentin's Day or her birthday when you can get in her good books through the year with these magical items? You don't have to spend a bundle each time to get her an elaborate bouquet or DeLafée of Switzerland's Gold Chocolate Box. Just her favorite candy and a small bunch of her favorite flowers will do wonders. And if you handpicked the flowers, that's extra points!
#10: Give of Your Time - The most valuable things you can give a girl are your time and attention, although diamonds have been known to work pretty well, too. Spending time just sitting, holding hands, and chatting gives you the opportunity to bond with your girlfriend. So, the next time you're together, suggest that both of you turn off your phones for 10 minutes and just be in each other's presence. She'll be impressed, I guarantee you, especially if you're not that kind of person.
#11: Help Her Solve a Problem - When women air their grievances to their boyfriends, they're not always looking for a solution, a fix, or an answer. Most of the time, they just need a sympathetic ear or a shoulder to cry on. But if you know that something's been bugging her for a while, you can definitely try to fix it. There's no law against that, as far as I know. For instance, if she's having a hard time concentrating on her studies, you can try and set up an exclusive study space for her. It doesn't cost you anything but a little effort, but the effect of that will be tremendous.
#12: Do Something for Her Parents - So, you called her mom and she was thrilled. What's next? Try doing something for her parents without being prompted to. You can buy them tickets to a show you know they'll love and dinner after, and offer to chauffeur them for the night. Or it can be something less elaborate, like fixing that porch light her dad has been meaning to get to for the past three months.
#13: Pamper Her - Treat her to a day at the spa, make that hair appointment she's been wanting, give her the day off from cooking and cleaning if you live together... what matters is that you let her put her feet up and take care of herself in exchange for everything she does for you on a regular basis.
#14: Give Her the PDA She Craves - If you're not the touchy-feely type, you're probably uncomfortable with public displays of affection. Put your aversion aside for a moment and look at it from her perspective. When she's out with the man she loves (or is at least into), she wants the world to know that he's all hers. Give her that by holding hands in public, for a start. You can then graduate to other things once you get comfortable with the idea. You might actually like it!
#15: Control Your Temper Around Her - If you're usually quick to anger, try and rein it in, at least when you're with her. She'll see the effort you put in and appreciate it immensely. If you're constantly flying off the handle and, one day, you suddenly start acting a little calmer, she can't help but notice the change. Besides, it's good for you, too.
#16: Keep Your Word - Don't make promises you can't keep, and don't ever break the promises you do make. This is not just for your girlfriend but life in general. Nobody trusts a person who says one thing and does something else on a consistent basis. So, build your trust by building your reputation as a promise-keeper. It applies to simple things as well as the big things in life. If you say you'll call her at 4 pm, don't call her at 4.30 pm and say you were busy. And if you do mess up occasionally, do #17.
#17: Make Your Apologies Sincere - When we've been around a person for a long time, we tend to start taking them for granted. Don't. If you screwed up, say you're sorry and mean it. In order words, apologize and try not to repeat that. We're not perfect so nobody expects you to never, ever do that again. You will. But the least you can do is try and make an effort not to make a promise if you're not sure you can keep it. An "I'll try to be there" might not go down as well as an "I'll be there" when you're in the moment, but it will save you a lot of pain when you're actually not there.
#18: Value Her Opinions - There are too many men out there who are ready to discount a woman's opinion just because it doesn't agree with their own. Don't be that guy. Listen to her point of view and try to appreciate where she's coming from. Valuing another person's opinion doesn't mean agreeing with them; it just means you're respecting their views as much as you respect yours. You can always agree to disagree.
#19: Get Familiar with Her Interests - Does she love a Netflix show that you can't stand watching even for five minutes? Just zip your lip and stay tuned until you get to know the storyline and a couple of characters. Then, when she's talking about the show over dinner, you can bring up an interesting point you noticed about the show or a particular character. It has to be something positive. The effect will be a mix of surprise and pleasure, especially if she knows how much you hate that show. But, you know, there's something worse than hating what she loves, and that's being indifferent to it. Avoid that as much as you can by at least learning something about the topic in question.
#20: Take Long Drives or Go on a Road Trip - If you love music while driving, keep it at a low volume as background to something more important - conversation. The whole idea of a road trip or even taking long drives is that you can talk without constant eye contact. Did you know that the reason psychiatrists sit beside the patient rather than in front of them is to allow the patient to open up? The non-confrontational nature of just the two of you being in a car together can have that same effect, allowing both of you to open up to each other. Try it and see. I don't mean a short drive within the city - take the highway and see where it leads you. Figuratively, I mean. I guarantee you'll love the journey.
#21: Share your Stuff - Sharing things helps you bond, whether it's something physical like your shirt or something intangible like your most embarrassing moment as a child. Sharing things makes the relationship more personal and deepens it. Even toddlers share their stuff with people they are drawn to. Of course, that might be the all-day sucker they just dropped on the carpet, but sharing is sharing.
#22: Show Your Loyalty - Defending her in an argument with friends is an example of showing your loyalty, but that's just one instance. There are a number of ways to show loyalty to a person, such as being monogamous, being nonjudgmental, supporting her views even if you don't agree with them, forgiving her for things she's done, and so on. The more loyalty you give, the more you'll get back. That's the way it usually works.
#23: Set Date Nights - This is critical if you've been in a long-term relationship with a girl. The longer you know each other, the less focus you have on things like going out on a formal date. Make that happen, even if it's just once a month.
#24: Never Take Her for Granted - This is related to showing her respect as a person, but it also refers to respecting her role in your relationship. She has to know that you acknowledge her contribution to keeping you together, which is often greater than the portion men tend to contribute toward a relationship with their girlfriend.
#25: Even If You Can't Cook, Cook Anyway - Make her some eggs one morning and see the pleasantly surprised look on her face when she wakes up and comes down to breakfast. If you aren't living together, make a dish and bring it to her. There's no dearth of YouTube videos and food blogs that show you step-by-step methods to make practically anything. If you've never cooked before, try something simple, to begin with.
#26: Hug Her Often - A hug says a lot, and when it comes out of the blue, it's even more special. Hugging your girlfriend when she doesn't see it coming brings on an unexpectedly warm feeling that can strengthen your bond and deepen your affection for each other.
#27: Give Her Compliments - Saying "you look nice" or "I like the way you've put up your hair today" isn't hard for you to say, but it'll probably put her on cloud nine for the rest of the day. That's especially true if you've been together a long time and have started taking her for granted - there's that respect angle again.
#28: Get Yourself a Pair of Friendship Lamps - Sorry, I just had to slip that in. But, seriously, a Friendship Lamp can go a long way in helping you stay connected, especially if you are in a long-distance relationship or don't live under the same roof. It's basically a set of two touch-operated lamps that sync with each other via their respective Wi-Fi connections in two different locations. Once they're set up, which takes about two minutes, if one of the lamps is touched, the other will light up in a particular color that you picked during the setup process. It's that simple, but it's a powerful way to send an "I'm thinking of you right now" message across a room or across the world in an instant. Thousands of couples, families, and friends use it to stay connected across the miles, and here's what they're saying.
#29: Text Her Sweet Nothings - How long does it take you to send a quick "I love you" or "Thinking of you" text? About 5 seconds? How long do you think the effect lasts? Several hours to a day is my guess. We all live hectic lives, so it's a great feeling to know that there's someone out there thinking about us, and a text is one of the ways to make this happen for your girlfriend.
#30: Thank Her for the Little Things - Did she pick up your favorite latte this morning without your asking? Say thank you. Did she remind you about your dental appointment this week? Say thank you. Get into the habit of saying thank you for the little things - they add up, you know?
#31: Make Her Laugh - Women love guys who make them laugh. Heck, even guys love guys who make them laugh out loud. If you're not inherently the funny type, put in the effort to learn some jokes and tell them well. Keep adding to your repertoire so you don't get repetitive. Pretty soon, you'll see yourself starting to develop or bring out your own humorous side.
#32: Plan for the Future - Most women want to know where the relationship is going, and the only reason some of them don't ask is that they're afraid of the answer they're going to get. Make your girlfriend happy - ecstatic, even - by making plans for a future with her in it, and tell her about these plans.
#33: Plan to be Spontaneous! - If you're not the spontaneous type, it can be really hard. But not impossible. It's perfectly okay to plan in advance to be spontaneous at a particular moment because your girlfriend won't know it's not truly spontaneous. And that's all right because you're not deceiving her. Think of how stand-up comedians work: they plan their jokes well in advance, but their delivery sounds spontaneous, right? Here's what Wikipedia says: "Comedians give the illusion that they are dialoguing, but in actuality, they are monologuing a grouping of humorous stories, jokes and one-liners, typically called a shtick, routine, act, or set." And there you have it; you can plan to be spontaneous. Have your own shtick ready for the main event!
#34: Be Her #1 Fan - If your girlfriend is trying to achieve something or make something of her life, support her 100% - and then some. If she's career-oriented or runs a business of her own, be her loudest cheerleader.
#35: Don't Be a Drag - If you find yourself becoming too clingy or needy, it's time for a reality check. it is not healthy for you to become overly dependent on another person, no matter whether that's your mother, your girlfriend, or even a close buddy. Have a life of your own and let her have hers. She'll notice you becoming more independent and she'll appreciate your efforts.
#36: Clean Up - Surveys repeatedly show that women are more attracted to well-groomed men. Didn't I say men were pigs? If you have facial hair, make sure it's kept clean and well-groomed all the time. Use deodorants and shower often. Keep your teeth clean. Keep your place clean. Keep your car clean. All these things are more important to a woman that you realize.
#37: Make Compromises - While it's important for the two of you to live your own lives the way you see fit, it also makes sense to compromise on things that you don't really care about. Even if there's something you're passionate about that is the complete polar opposite of your girlfriend's views on the matter, it's okay to give in for the sake of the relationship. Too many relationships suffer because neither side wants to give an inch. Once you start giving in for the little things, she's going to take the cue and start doing it herself. That's the only way to move things forward.
#38: Ask for Her Help - Even if you're known for being a self-sufficient guy, getting your girlfriend to help you with a task once in a while really helps strengthen the relationship. It's not about you pretending you need her help just to make your girlfriend happy; it's about letting her participate in your activities in whatever capacity possible.
#39: Give Her the Attention She Deserves - When you're out with friends, it's common for a couple to ignore each other or be of the attitude that 'oh, they're around here somewhere.' Don't make that mistake. That doesn't mean either of you has to become the other's coat-tail; all it means is that you publicly identify yourself as a couple. And if you're the one making the effort, the impact of that on her - at a psychological level - is very positive.
#40: Give Her a Sense of Security - Women want their guy to be protective, even in subtle ways. If you're at a party where she doesn't know anyone, don't immediately wander off to chat with your buddies. Make sure you introduce her to a few people you're comfortable with and then excuse yourself. But be sure to be back before she starts feeling awkward again. That's a kind of psychological security you're providing, and it also extends to physical security, such as shielding her from the great unwashed when you're on the subway together, sticking up for her, defending her honor, and things like that.
#41: Show Some Chivalry - Whatever your girlfriend might say to you, she wants to be made to feel special and treated as such. Pull out the chair for her at a restaurant, offer her your coat on a cold night, open the car door for her... these things might sound like they're out of the ancient ages for some millennials, but they have a charm to them that you just can't ignore. Do you think Prince Charming rescued the princess and just asked her to Uber it home? No, he gallantly pulled her up on his own horse and they rode off together into the sunset. Or something like that. You don't have to be Prince Charming but you don't have to be Mr. Zero Charm, either.
#42: Make Her a Part of Your Life - A lot of guys tend to keep their girlfriends away from their inner circle of friends. If you think this relationship is going somewhere, then make the effort to bring her into that circle so they can all get to know her. If you run a business or have a job, discuss aspects of those with her. In other words, let her in on the life you had before her.
#43: Let Her Know How Lucky You Are - Men don't tell their women enough that they're so lucky to have them. Well, it's true, isn't it? Aren't you lucky that your girlfriend agreed to become your girlfriend? Then tell her that, and often. You can't imagine how special that will make her feel every time you say it.
#44: Cuddle More - If you're not the spooning type or cuddling type, do it anyway. Not only will physical intimacy of these acts be good for the relationship, but the touch factor will be healthy for you in the long run. Oxytocin is released when a person is happy, and this neurohormone can benefit you in ways you can't imagine.
#45: Befriend Her Friends - You don't have to bend over backward to be nice to her friends, but at least try and get to know them. They can't all be bad, you know? And who knows, you might make a genuine friend. Remember to be courteous, smile, open the door, and do everything for her girlfriends just as you do for her on a social level. When they feel special around you, that's going to be fed back to her in a later conversation. And who benefits from that? You do!
#46: Write Her Letters - Whether you're in a long-distance relationship or a live-in relationship, writing letters to each other is a good way to communicate your inner-most thoughts. It helps avoid the awkwardness of a face-to-face conversation about certain things, and it helps you mull stuff over before you put pen to paper. And when I say write a letter, I mean with a pen and paper, not on your laptop. A hand-written letter will get a much, much warmer reception, believe me.
#47: Donate to a Cause Close to Her Heart - Doing this is much more than giving a few dollars to a charity. It shows her that you care about the stuff she cares about. At the very least, it tells her that you're okay with her being passionate about stuff that doesn't move you.
#48: Be Emotionally Available - When your girlfriend voices her deepest thoughts and fears to you, don't switch off. Men do this all too often and invariably come off as being insensitive to the needs of the one they love. If she's in the mood for a good cry, there's no need for you to try and end it quickly by making a joke or distracting her. Let her have her moment. Your hand on her shoulder or your arms around her will mean the world to her. And all it costs you is a little 'emotional exposure.'
#49: Set up a Joint Bank Account, aka Make a Commitment - Investing in something together is a great way to say that this trip is going to be a long one. A joint checking account shows you that you trust her with your money and your future, and that says a lot more than you realize. If you're not ready to make a commitment, then do #50...
#50: Be Upfront about your Relationship - If you're not ready to make a commitment, it's absolutely okay. But if you're sure that this is not something that will last, the decent thing to do is man up and break it off rather than keep leading her on. If it's purely a casual thing, let her know. Then let her make up her mind whether that's okay for her or not. If not, be ready to move on. In the end, both of you will be happier for it.