So now that you’re in a happy relationship, you want to know how to be a good girlfriend to keep your man happy. Take it from me: it doesn’t take much to do just that, but I wanted to compile a list of ways to be a good girlfriend to help you out.
What Does It Mean to Be a Good Girlfriend?
Think back to your last boyfriend. What’s your first reaction?
“He was a great boyfriend (barring whatever split you two up).”
“Ug. He was the worst boyfriend. He didn’t care about me and was never affectionate.”
It’s probably easier to list all the things he did wrong than what he did right if he was a bad boyfriend. But think back further to a good boyfriend you’ve had.
Now take a moment for me and make a list of all the things that boyfriend did right.
Does your list look something like this?
- He was always affectionate.
- He would give me gifts.
- We had great conversations.
- It felt like we were a team.
Now you know what it takes to be a good partner in general! Essentially, being a good girlfriend is treating your man the way you want to be treated. It’s the whole Golden Rule thing.
But take note: you shouldn’t want to learn how to be a good girlfriend because you want something from your guy. You should do it because you genuinely care about him. Maybe even love him. When you give without strings attached in a relationship, you get so much more in return.
Here’s another note: while I encourage you to treat your boyfriend how you want to be treated, that’s a generalization. We all have different quirks and desires. You might love kissing in public, while he hates it. So don’t kiss him more because that’s how you want to be treated!
Also, we have our own what are called Love Languages. Essentially, they’re the ways we prefer to communicate love or have it communicated to us. Often couples have different love languages. So while you might have a Love Language of gifts (you feel loved whenever he gives you one), his Language might be time (he’d rather cuddle with you on the couch). So consider what makes him feel loved as you work through this list of how to be a good girlfriend.
19 Principles Of How to Be a Good Girlfriend…or Even a Great Girlfriend
Before we dive right in, let me say that whatever you do to be a good girlfriend, make sure it comes naturally. If it’s forced, he’ll know, and your intention will get lost. You may feel resentful for him not appreciating you doing some of the things on this list, which is kinda counterintuitive to trying to be a better partner.
1. Be His Friend in Addition to His Girlfriend
A lot of couples I know started out as friends. But something odd happened once they became romantically involved. They stopped being friends. I mean, sure, there were more complicated feelings involved, and maybe sex. But when you take the “friend” part out of the equation, it takes something away from the benefit of being a couple, I feel.
So what does being his friend look like? It’s about having a connection outside of the bedroom. Doing things you did together when you were friends (if that was the case before dating) or doing things together that you’d do with a friend (hiking, watching a sporting event).
2. Be Open
Women aren’t the only ones that enter a relationship with baggage from past experiences. Men, just like you, have been hurt in past relationships. They may have trouble being vulnerable with you.
While certainly, you have to work through your own issues, know that openness is the key to a successful long-term relationship. So if you want to build trust with this man, be open and honest with him. That means telling him about your past and issues that might arise (you have trouble trusting men after being cheated on, for example).
This may be hard for you if you have difficulty opening up, so gradually work on it.
3. Give Him Space When He Needs It
The women I’ve coached have trouble with accepting the fact that men sometimes need their space. It’s got nothing to do with you. It’s just how we are.
And yea, they may brush that need aside when you first start dating, either because they’re so excited to spend all their time with you or because they worry that they’ll put you off with that need to be apart from you. But as you settle into a relationship, they get more comfortable letting you know that they need space.
If you really want to work on how to be a good girlfriend, give him that space when he needs it. Don’t take it personally. Use that time to be by yourself or with your friends.
4. Be Vulnerable
This kind of goes with being open: it can be challenging for you to do if you’ve been hurt in the past, but being vulnerable will escalate your emotional connection to your boyfriend.
How can you be vulnerable? Talk to him about your feelings. If you get frustrated or angry at something he’s done, try to reframe it using how the situation makes you feel.
“It makes me feel like you don’t value my opinion when you ignore my advice.”
Don’t put up a wall around your heart. If you’re serious about this turning into a committed relationship, you’re going to have to take a chance on getting hurt.
5. Say What’s on Your Mind
I know some women who do whatever they can to not rock the boat in a relationship early on, so they stifle their opinions and personality. This is such a shame because the right man will love you because of your opinion, not in spite of it.
Obviously, you don’t want to offend him. Maybe stay away from topics that might cause arguments (politics and religion being two examples). But absolutely do speak your mind. You’re a smart, sexy woman with thoughts that deserve to be shared.
Don’t be shy about contradicting him, either. A little healthy back-and-forth banter can be fun!
6. Be a Nice to His Friends
They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, but actually, I’d argue that it’s through his friends. Just like you, men care what their friends think of a woman he’s serious about. If they call her names or don’t want to be around her, it’s harder for him to deal with. If he’s constantly spending time with you or his friends separately, it will stress him out.
So another way you can learn how to be a good girlfriend is to make friends with his friends. You don’t have to love them. But you do have to be nice to them.
If he tells you a story about what’s going on with his buddy Ted, ask about it the next time you see him. If Jake is going through a hard time, buy the two of them a six pack and send your man over to be with his buddy.
7. Care About His Health
Take it from me: even the guy that powers through a cold rather than staying in bed and nursing it likes to be taken care of by his lady.
If you notice him coughing, pick up cough drops at the drug store and bring them to him. If he’s full-on sick, bring him chicken noodle soup and a good movie. If he’s unable to run errands, offer to do them for him. These are tiny gestures that can leave a big impression about how much you care about him.
8. Trust Him
You: “Hey can you please pick up the dry cleaning after work?”
Him: “Uh, yea. Sure.”
You: “Nevermind. I’ll do it myself.”
If you’re a control freak, it’s probably going to be pretty challenging for you to trust someone else to do things as well as you know you could do them. But even if he does a bad job, you still need to trust him.
And trust extends to your emotions too. Like I said: putting a wall around your heart doesn’t let him in. Realize that he’s not the guy that broke your heart in the past. He’s not guilty of past transgressions. So trust him a little. Let him in.
9. Listen to Him
Did you realize that there are different types of listening? In a study conducted by Faye Doell, research showed that there are two different types of listening: “listening to understand” and “listening to respond.”
If you listen to understand, you can significantly improve your relationship, because you’re paying attention to what he’s saying, processing it, and reflecting on it. When you listen to respond, you’re already thinking about what you want to say in reply, and you’re not really paying attention.
10. Be Authentic
In the eight years I’ve been a relationship coach, I can’t tell you how many misguided women I’ve met who try to be something they’re not to please a man in a relationship. And every. single. time. this strategy failed.
You may assume your boyfriend likes his women a certain way (docile, perky, overly-intellectual) and you may try to be that, but I assure you: you won’t be able to keep up that facade for long.
If you want to know how to be a good girlfriend, be real. A good girlfriend will not hide behind a fake mask. She’ll let her guy see her authentic self. Yes, it’s scary. But if you’re going to be vulnerable (#4), then you have to let him see who you really are.
11. Be Supportive
My girlfriend Jessica is like my own personal cheerleader. When I score some awesome business opportunity, she’s in the front row cheering for me. If I’m going through something tough, she’s the shoulder I lean on.
We all want someone supportive in our lives. Being a good girlfriend means taking your turn in supporting him, not just leaning on him all the time. In a solid relationship, partners take turns being there for one another.
12. Work as a Team
Continuing that sports analogy: being a team player is another way to work on how to be a good girlfriend. Being a team means you work together for a common objective.
Maybe you work out together and support one another’s fitness goals. Maybe you travel together and take turns planning the day’s adventures.
No one of you is fully in control of the relationship. You rely on one another and help one another succeed.
13. Compliment Him
It’s such a simple tip on how to be a good girlfriend, yet this one thing seems to dwindle in relationships over time.
But think about how much you love it when he compliments you.
“That’s an excellent idea!”
“I’m lucky to have such an amazing woman in my life.”
It takes so little energy to compliment your boyfriend, so make a point of doing it several times a week. Mix it up! Don’t just compliment his body or face. Remember he’s got a brain too!
14. Compromise Sometimes
I know. You like getting your way. And I bet that most of the time, you get it. But a healthy relationship has a healthy dose of compromise.
That means sometimes you’ll have to do things you’d prefer not to do.
I’m not talking about robbing a bank. I mean smaller stuff like staying at his house for the weekend even though you’re lazy and would rather he come to yours. Or going to watch the game with his friends once a month rather than your preferred wine bar.
While ideally compromise should make both of you a little happy but neither of you ecstatic, sometimes you’ll have to give more than you want to. Just look at the big picture: doesn’t he do the same for you? Couldn’t you make this small sacrifice, knowing that your relationship is about give and take?
15. Be Affectionate
This is another aspect of a relationship that often slips away over time. You start out being unable to stop touching one another. You constantly hold hands, kiss, and hug. But as you get used to being around one another, that level of affection may slip. Don’t let it.
Part of learning how to be a good girlfriend is expressing your affection through physical touch. Again, though, defer to what he wants affection-wise. He may prefer to spoon at night over PDA.
Even when you’re busy or stressed, don’t neglect to kiss your boyfriend every time you see him, even if it’s just a quick peck on the lips. And hey, there are plenty of health benefits of kissing! Not only does it reduce your stress and make you happier, but it also can help you live longer.
16. Seduce Him
Yet another important component of a happy relationship: seduction!
The longer you’re together, the easier it is to just say, “Wanna do it?” and hop into bed. It’s like something to mark off a list.
But when you take the time to seduce your man, you make him feel appreciated and attractive. In return, he’ll want to make you feel good.
17. Be Careful with Jealousy
It’s perfectly understandable that you might occasionally experience jealousy if you see your man talking to a woman or checking one out. But keep it in check or it may backfire. Overboard jealousy usually indicates insecurity. Don’t you trust your man? If you do, then make light of it.
“Oh, is that your next girlfriend?”
“Did you want me to go back and get her number for you?”
If you can make a joke out of it (and he realizes you’re not mad) then you can communicate that you see him with another woman, and rather than be threatened by it, you’re simply noting it.
18. Make Him Feel Special
While a lot of these tips on how to be a good girlfriend are designed to make your boyfriend feel special, you can still do more.
On his birthday, bake him a cake and get him a thoughtful present.
Text him to say you’re thinking of him in the middle of the workday.
Pick up a book you think he’d like.
Give him a massage (and don’t demand one in return).
Think about the things he’d like, that would make him really feel good, and start doing more of those!
19. Allow Him to Be The Man in The Relationship
Okay, I know you’re going to think I’m being sexist with this tip on how to be a good girlfriend, but hear me out.
Yes, many men like confident, take-charge women. But from time to time, they also like being able to do those things that make them feel like they’re taking care of you.
Opening the door for you.
Puffing out their chests at the sign of danger.
Walking with you on the side furthest from passing cars (to keep you safe).
I know you don’t want to be seen as a weak female, and believe me: you’re not. But know that sometimes it’s okay to let him take the lead. You can still be an independent feminist if your boyfriend takes care of you and treats you well.
There are certainly more tips on how to be a good girlfriend (and you can definitely come up with your own list), but these should get you started.
Pay attention to his reaction to each thing you try. You may find that he responds well to you being open, but might not love you giving him space if he’s not a man who needs it. Reassess results and tweak your strategy accordingly.
Realize that the ways you work on how to be a good girlfriend may change over time. Your relationship will change, as will each of your needs. So go with the flow, and continually work on how to be a good girlfriend (and maybe one day: wife!).
Now I want to hear from you: what’s your #1 tip on how to be a good girlfriend? Tell us in the comments below.
Not sure how to be a good girlfriend? Need insight into what your man is thinking so you can give him what he wants? Download the Male Mind Map today and learn what men REALLY want in a relationship!