Women Share Their Tips On How To Be A Better Boyfriend
Relationships can be tough. Communication is essential, but it isn’t always easy. If all men had it their way, they’d probably never make mistakes and their partner would always be happy. But this isn’t a perfect world, and sometimes boyfriends fall short. It’s hard to be the perfect partner for someone. Even when you have the best intentions, sometimes you still find yourself making mistakes. The good news is that there’s always room for improvement. And taking just a few pointers and tips from women may help many men out there be better in their relationships. Just take it from these women who recently shared their tips on how to be a better boyfriend.
#1 Hugs Help
Just hug her for no reason sometimes. In fact, there’s some psychological research that suggests physical closeness can help strengthen the relationship between two individuals. Whether you’re both at a good place or your relationship needs some mending, something as simple as a hug can work wonders to bring you and your partner closer together.
#2 Special Surprises
Most of us like surprises. It can be something as small an unexpected text reminder of what you mean to them or arriving home with a favorite snack. Little unexpected things can show us you were thinking of us when we weren’t around and that’s always lovely. Heck, even something like, “I saw this meme and thought of you,” it would make me smile. It doesn’t have to be grand gestures… just something to show the thought was there.
#3 Critical Communication
Communicate instead of yelling. I have made a pact with myself to never be with a person who doesn’t make an effort to communicate with me. It’s paid off immensely and I’m now super happy with a wonderful man who I never argue with. It’s a refreshing change from all the other toxic relationships I’ve had. I’m not saying not arguing ever is normal, but it definitely isn’t normal when people yell and cuss as a communicative norm.
#4 Not One Of The Guys
I may hang out with your friends like one of the guys or play video games like one of the guys, but I am not one of the guys. I am your girlfriend. Give me attention outside of hanging with your friends, do things with me other than what you like to do with your friends, and spend quality time with me away from your friends. Not as a special treat, not as a holiday surprise, but as a normal part of our relationship.
#5 Just Listen
If she’s complaining or venting, it’s not always because she wants advice or a solution. Sometimes, she just needs to vent. So, in those situations, just let her vent.
#6 Keep Calm and Explain
If you’re getting irritated with us, please calmly explain why. Or if we are trying to bring up what’s bothering us, please don’t get defensive and then flip the blame on us. Otherwise, it makes us feel like we’re just a nuisance to you. I get that communication is a learned skill that requires experience. In short, practice open, honest, and respectful communication on both sides.
#7 Looking Good and Giving Gifts
I’ve been with my wife for 27 years. Make the effort to look nice, I’m 46 and I groom a fair bit, including downstairs. I use nice aftershave, not cheap brands. Wear nice clothes, not ill-fitting stuff from supermarkets. More importantly, don’t expect her to cook or do all the cleaning—if you both work, it’s both your job to keep the home clean. Women like to be told they’re beautiful and that you’re thinking of them, even if those thoughts are intimate. It makes them feel wanted and also it can make less confident women feel better about themselves.
Do silly things like leave silly gifts, even a small box of their favorite chocolate on their pillow, or hide it in the house and leave clues for them to find it. A gift doesn’t have to cost the earth, it’s the thought that is put into it. In fact, we never bother with it. There’s a whole year to do stuff for each other. Twenty-seven years and we still have that spark. I still see my wife in the same way as I did when we first met.
#8 It’s The Little Things
This isn’t a necessary thing, but my partner is a local truck driver, and the fact that he will text me when he is near a store that has stuff I like or need makes me love him even more. I don’t work outside of the house, so it saves me a trip and I love it. He also will go get me medicine if I need it without hesitation. I should give him more backrubs. He’s the absolute best.
#9 Attractive Appreciation
Do not forget to tell your girlfriend she’s beautiful. I feel like so many guys forget to do this. Especially after they’ve been with a girl for a while. Girls love to be reminded that you’re still attracted to them. It goes a long way and it’ll always make her happy. You can say many things like, “Your hair looks great today,” or “I really like that outfit on you!” Trust me, it means a lot when my boyfriend says things like this. I know your girlfriends will love it too!
#10 Face The Facts
Get a skincare routine. She’ll notice, your mom will notice, and random women will notice that your skin is cared for. I don’t mean you need 73 different creams, scrubs, etc. Do some research on your skin and figure out what would work for it. If you work in an air-conditioned space all day or take really hot showers, then a light moisturizer at night wouldn’t go amiss.
If you have more severe issues, then look at exfoliating, masks, etc. My boyfriend has a pretty thorough routine because he’s always struggled with acne and dry skin, especially under his beard. He uses beard scrubs, regular face masks and gentle salt scrubs on his face and they have worked wonders for his skin. It’s what works for your skin and your budget, there’s no one magic skincare product to fix us all. LUSH and The Body Shop have great men’s lines.
#11 Love Language
Figure out both of your love languages and respond accordingly! Some people thrive on words of affirmation, some prioritize quality time together, etc. It’s okay if you have different love languages. But knowing your partner’s and what they value most in a relationship, will make things a lot easier for you than trying to guess what they want.
#12 Forever Grateful
My grandpa thanked my grandma for his delicious meal after every single time that she cooked for him. Don’t get so used to your partner that you stop noticing and showing gratitude for the lovely things they do for you. Take the online quiz about the ‘5 Love Languages’ to learn how both of you likes to receive love. It sounds cheesy, but it’s a really accurate little test. It helps us all to see how our partners are showing their love.
#13 It’s The Thought
This might be a “me” thing, but I feel like nothing turns around a bad day or makes a girl feel more loved than the occasional little surprise. Buy her flowers from TJs when it’s your turn to grocery shop or pick up a cookie when you stop at Starbucks. Nothing super out of the way, just a reminder that you’re thinking about her every so often. I also love it when my partner is out with his friends and texts me through the night! It’s so nice knowing that he’s thinking about me even when he’s plastered or hanging out with other people.
#14 Genuine Compliments
GENUINE COMPLIMENTS! There have been so many times I get especially dressed up thinking, “My boyfriend is going to think I look nice!” and then I see him and he doesn’t compliment me! Even when I know I look good because other guys hit on me, it would be nice if my own boyfriend could hit on me for once. Also, pay attention to what she really likes, like what color jewelry she wears or her favorite colors. It really means a lot when you can tell someone put effort into a gift and thought of what you like.
#15 Do You
Take the initiative WITHOUT her hinting at it. Carry yourself with confidence. Have your own life outside of your relationship.
#16 Deciding On Dinner
When I ask you, “What do you want me to cook for dinner,” please don’t say, “I don’t know.” Sometimes men can be just as bad as women when deciding what to eat!
#17 Hang On To The Hug
When you’re hugging her, ALWAYS be the last to let go.
I’ve been married 10 years to an amazing guy, and our marriage is rock solid. It’s because we communicate. We’re both 35. Listen to each other, stop trying to fix each other’s problems and let each other vent. Also, TALK BACK! Don’t just listen! Open communication is so huge! Tell me about your day, your life, your dreams, things I do that you’d like me to work on, things that made you laugh today… My husband and I talk, vent, laugh, cry, etc. together. No secrets. Share your fears, wishes, dreams, goals, complaints… COMMUNICATE!
#19 Be Vulnerable
This could go either way but reciprocate everything. Don’t do anything you wouldn’t want your partner doing. For boyfriends: BE VULNERABLE. When she loves you, she wants to know every little detail about you (not in a creepy way, but in a loving way). The one thing she doesn’t want to hear repeatedly, however, is every single person you’ve had intimacy with.
#20 Committing To Chores
We are not your mothers. Take initiative in doing chores. I have to remind my partner on a regular basis to manage the laundry, even when that is his chore between the two of us. Sometimes he does it without my prodding, but usually not. Take initiative and be an adult. Relieving the mental load from your partner is a great help.
#21 Thinking Outside The Box
Don’t put women in a box. Men tend to compartmentalize things and have figurative boxes in their heads in which they keep all the things in their life. That’s great, but not for relationships. You can’t take your significant other out of that box and play with them only when you want to. You always need to be there for your girlfriend and sometimes that means making time when you weren’t expecting her to need you.
#22 Just Trash
Have a small trash bin in your bathroom. That’s really all I’m asking for here.
#23 Understanding Emotional Needs
Stereotypically, men are not socialized to think much about their own emotions, to understand them, or how to take care of themselves on an emotional level. When you don’t take care of your emotional needs, you can’t take care of anyone else’s. I am talking about your mental health needs as well, in addition to your daily emotions. If you shove it all down until it bursts out of you like a volcano, you’re going to hurt someone—whether that’s yourself or the person you supposedly love.
#24 Honesty Is Key
Be honest about how you feel about literally everything instead of allowing small things to build up resentment in your heart. Just be honest if something she does, like a quirk, bothers you. Communicate what you like and don’t like so she can have the chance to at least compromise or adjust. And then if she doesn’t care for your feelings, you can break up. Way too often men don’t communicate and expect us to read their minds, then say they fell out of love over some petty stuff.
#25 Be Yourself
Be yourself and stop trying too hard to get girls to like you. You create a false picture of yourself that you can’t keep forever. It doesn’t work in the long run. Same goes for girls. Also, “friend zone” is a stupid term. If I ever call you a friend, it means you are a step closer to becoming my boyfriend. I don’t fall for people straight up, I need to get to know them first and become close friends. And I bet I am not the only one, so don’t let that discourage you.
#26 A Warm Surprise
I’m always cold, while my husband loves to sleep with our bedroom at subzero temperatures. One night during winter, he had put our giant fleece blanket in the dryer just before bed without me knowing. As I was walking to our bedroom, shivering, he jumped up and grabbed the blanket from the dryer. He wrapped me in it like a burrito, then carried me to bed and tucked me in. This was probably the sweetest thing he’s ever done.
He gets up at 5 a.m. for work and kisses me goodbye every morning. He hugs me a lot. We fool around a lot. We let each other know when we’re looking fine as heck. Bottom line, if you love and appreciate someone, let them know it. My husband was the first guy I dated who came right out and said what he felt about me. No games, nothing. That was how I knew he was a keeper.
#27 Importance Of Planning
Plan dates regularly. Nothing is more disappointing than a partner who wants you to do ALL the work in a relationship. In the end, it makes you feel like they are not really interested—they are not “in” the relationship. Plan a date, something you genuinely think your partner would enjoy. Plan something with the same excitement and intention as the first few dates in a relationship, not just takeout from the same restaurant. Try and do this at least every two weeks. Everyone needs regular kindness and affection.
#28 Axe The Control
Don’t constantly substitute a shower with Axe spray. Only do it when you haven’t been able to shower for a couple of days, due to time, and have an event you need to smell nice for. Though, if your excuse is you just HAVEN’T been able to shower, rather than you COULDN’T, just take a shower. Make sure you can assert your dominance while also keeping it equal between you and your girlfriend. You don’t have complete control over her, and she doesn’t have complete control over you. Pretty much, don’t be a control freak, be somewhere in between.
#29 Keep It Balanced
I’m a big believer in equity theory. Do as much for her as she does for you! If you don’t, she’ll end up feeling unappreciated, unassured, and questioning why she’s with someone who doesn’t put in the same effort as she does. Even recognition—a thank you, and some flowers—goes a long way. But it’s still important to show how much you care about her in your actions.
#30 Cut It Out
For real, cut your darn nails, my dudes. You don’t need mountain peaks at the tips of your fingers.
#31 No Need To Improve
Date someone you’re happy with and don’t have to make “better.” If you need anything, communicate what you need. If someone is doing something that bothers you, let them know in a kind way and include a solution that could work for both of you. If you want something done by the other person, let them know your time frame upfront. For example: “Can you please do the dishes before I get home from work today? I want to have an empty sink when I cook dinner tonight.” That’s better to say than: “Do the dishes.”
#32 Not Your Mom
Don’t make her feel like your mom. A lot of guys I know say something to the effect of, “If you just ask, I’ll do the dishes or put laundry away,” etc. Well, we don’t want to be your mom and make you do these things. Rather, when you notice something needs to be done, do it. Trust me, we will notice!
#33 Food And Flowers
Just bring food. As much as it might seem I care, I don’t. I’m hungry, so feed me. If you give me choices, then we know how that ends. Also, don’t do cutesy stuff when you just start dating. A random rose rather than a bouquet, a note on the fridge, you know…
#34 Leveraging I Love You
Don’t say “I love you” to assess whether or not we’re annoyed at you. It becomes a totally meaningless phrase and we will notice. Seriously, it’s like you’re using some kind of boyfriend sonar on us. Emit a soulless, “I love you” and see what bounces back. I’ve had two boyfriends do this, I snapped on the current one for it because it’s a cowardly move. He understood and doesn’t do it anymore. If he thinks I’m upset, he asks like a grown-up.
#35 Dinner Duties
One thing that my boyfriend does is always thank me for cooking, even if it’s a basic spaghetti dinner. He makes three times what I do, so he drives, buys the liquor and take-out, but I do darned well at shopping healthy on a budget. I bulk up on salmon and steak when it’s on sale, but he’s just as thankful for an easy chicken and potatoes dinner.
I know I can cook (and bake) rather well, but it’s nice to get a “Thank you for dinner babe, it was delicious!” on even basic, simple dinners. And for him, I remember some of the “new” recipes that he loved when I made them the first time. A month or so later, I whipped that up and he was ecstatic. Also, every morning and every night, we make sure to say good morning and goodnight to each other. The nights we spend together, I get a forehead kiss before he rolls over.
#36 Knowing What She Needs
When your significant other is venting to you or complaining, ask what they need from you. Sometimes, it’ll be an ear to listen or shoulder to cry on, other times they want you to jump in and help find solutions to the problem. But if you don’t know which approach, it can be super frustrating, so just always ask if she wants your opinion before you give it.
#37 Game Over
Get off the darn video games and put in the emotional effort to plan something. Anything. Even if it’s just a walk or picnic. I don’t wanna sit on the couch and watch you play your stupid games every time you invite me over.
#38 Be Reliable
Be reliable! It’s nice to be appreciated or have someone who looks for the little things. But if you can’t be reliable for the simplest things, you aren’t a good boyfriend, to begin with. My ex was sweet and we could talk every day; but every time we made plans, it ended in disaster. One time, he was supposed to meet my parents and since my ex was a car mechanic, he was asked to bring some equipment for electric circuit checking with him.
On the first try, his car broke down and he had to reschedule. The second time, he came late and forgot that one thing he was asked to bring. On another occasion, he got tickets to a really expensive concert and we had to cancel last minute because he forgot that it was the last day to move his stuff from his old apartment to the new one. He had to stop helping with my own apartment move early because he got called into his work on a Sunday. It really marked me. I already have low standards but I have the feeling that really set the bar low for whoever tries to come next.
#39 Emotional Intelligence
Take some psychology classes! Learn about emotional intelligence and help yourself and your partner. I recommend, at least, reading Daniel Goleman’s “Emotional Intelligence.” You can also go visit Matthew Hussey’s YouTube channel and understand things from a girl’s perspective.
#40 No Complaint Zone
Just take a moment to reflect on what conversations you’re having and what you’re bringing to them. I know there’s this idea that your partner is the person you can vent to, but is that all you’re doing? Try to be mindful that your partner also has difficult times—are you as available to listen to them as they are for you? Do most of your conversations turn into a back-and-forth of complaints about work?
Are those complaints really worth the time you’re dedicating to them? I recently suggested to my boyfriend that we make the bed a no-complaining zone. I brought it up because every single night, I would find myself just laying in the dark rolling my eyes as he went on and on about the same issues with the same coworkers every single night. Even on nights when he didn’t work, it would end up that way.
Now we have a rule: “If this is really something that you want to talk about right this moment, we’ll go sit on the sofa and talk.” I didn’t know if it would work, but the first night we tried it, I looked over at him and he was actually thinking about what to say before speaking out. It gives you a moment to just consider if it’s really that big of an issue or not. What he’s found is that usually it’s not worth it, and I’ve seen a positive change in him. He seems happier now that he’s not dwelling on the small stuff.
#41 Front Of The Gig
Find things to do that make you feel like no other moment matters with each other. And do it as often as possible. For me, that happens every time I’m seeing live music and my partner is standing by my side, right at the front.
#42 Learning To De-Escalate
Learn to de-escalate all fights. My partner and I have learned how to read each other and bring things down when things are getting mixed up. We also tend to hold hands when we are having a hard discussion, even during a fight because it’s really hard to be unkind to someone when you’re holding their cute little hand. We try to never say regrettable mean things when fighting. Any time you have problems, just be calm and ask her what she’s feeling and what she needs. Anger and frustration are usually about boundaries being crossed.
#43 Don’t Get Used To It
During all my relationships, I developed one VERY important rule—do not take all her amazing qualities and traits for granted. Be thankful for every cooked meal, for every small encouragement, for every small piece of her feelings shared with you. Do not, under any circumstances, “get used” to her loving you.
#44 All About Priorities
Know your priorities. Yes, friends are important, but they don’t keep you warm at night. I had a great relationship for nearly three years and we had no reasons to argue ever. This all changed when he started spending more time with his friends and, of course, I couldn’t just tell him, “Ditch your friends and stay with me.” I went out with them occasionally and they were great fellas, but after all, it was “boys time.”I knew he needed to make a change, so I confronted him about it, not knowing what to expect.
Thankfully, he heard me out and didn’t get upset over my feelings. We worked out a compromise and we’re now better than ever. Communication also plays an important role, from both sides. Ask her what she thinks whenever you can. “What do you think about this shirt, does it suit me?” or “Do you want to hang out with me and my friends,” or “Would you like to do something today?” Compliment her as often as you can but more on what she does than what she looks like. Tell her how much you liked what she cooked for you, thank her for washing your clothes or for cleaning, in general.
#45 Just Text Back
Literally, just text back. Even if you’re busy and can’t talk at the moment, just send a quick, “Hey I’m busy right now, I’ll text you later.”