Your boyfriend has chosen to be with you out of the billions of people on this planet, so you’re clearly doing something right!
If you’re still in the beginning stages of your relationship and wondering how to be a good girlfriend, remember that being yourself is so very important.
You can try all you like to be a different, ‘better’ version of yourself, but, at some point, you’ll get tired of pretending.
Make sure you’re yourself in the early days so that he knows who you really are – he’ll love you for it and you won’t have to waste energy putting on an act!
There’s no point trying to get a guy to fall in love with the ‘idea’ of you unless you can follow through.
2. Show Him You Care
There seems to be a huge misconception that guys don’t like PDAs (public displays of affection!) or romantic gestures.
I can personally confirm that to be a total lie!
I’ve never seen anyone happier than when I chose to surprise my boyfriend with flowers.
He’d never had anyone buy them for him before and it meant a lot to him that I wanted to do something nice for him.
Chivalry goes both ways, so show your boyfriend that you care by splitting bills, buying him dinner, and surprising him with cute romantic gestures – go against the gender stereotypes!
If you and your partner are comfortable being ‘coupley,’ don’t be afraid to be the one to initiate it.
Too many women think the guy has to be the one to kiss them or reach for their hand…
…but if you’re both on the same page when it comes to intimacy, don’t be scared to grab him for a kiss or put your arm around him!
He might be a bit surprised at first, but we’re pretty sure he’ll love it.
Everyone likes to feel as though the person they’re with is attracted to them and wants to be close to them – including men.
3. Give Him Space
So, showing you care and making an effort is really important…
…but so is giving your boyfriend some space every so often!
Being branded as ‘needy‘ is something that we women are going to experience, whether we’re behaving that way or not.
In the early days of relationships especially, just try to be mindful of how much you’re expecting from your partner.
Part of making your boyfriend happy involves giving him his space when he needs it.
Rather than getting upset if he’s taking a while to reply to you (he could just be busy!) or wanting him to spend every waking moment with you, learn to trust that his feelings are genuine and that he doesn’t need to remind you of that constantly.
Everyone needs some alone time, regardless of how much they love the person they’re with.
Schedule some time apart and find ways to fill it on your own – keep yourself busy doing something fun so that you’re not just sat at home missing him and getting worried he’s having a better time without you!
Trust me, the time apart will be great for you both, and it’ll be so nice to see each other again after some time on your own.
4. Show An Interest
We’re not saying you suddenly have to find a football team to support (or some other gendered suggestions that trashy magazines will tell you to follow), nor that you should pretend to be someone you’re not…
…but showing an interest in your boyfriend’s hobbies is important.
Just like you’d want him to be involved in your life (more on that later!), it’ll mean a lot to him that you’re making an effort with him.
You might not particularly want to go watch the movie he wants to see, but the fact that you want to spend time with him doing something that makes him happy is what matters here!
You’re also showing your boyfriend that you’re taking your relationship seriously – by investing your time and effort in him and his life, you’re letting him know that he matters to you.
5. Make Time For Him
Now that you’ve made an effort to fit into his life, you need to give him the chance to do the same.
Involve him in your hobbies and encourage him to spend time with your friends.
This is a really nice way of letting him know how much he means to you – nobody wants to feel like the person their partner is too embarrassed of to introduce to their friends.
Invite him along when you’re next going out for drinks with your friends and make sure you include him!
Keep the conversations general to start with so that he can feel involved.
It’s horrible spending time with people in a group you’re not really part of and not being able to join in their conversations about someone from their workplace/college.
Make time and space in your life for your boyfriend and he’ll wind up feeling appreciated and confident that you’re happy and comfortable having him in your life.
Don’t get frustrated if it takes a while for him to feel comfortable sharing a lot of emotional things with you.
Communication goes both ways, so make sure you’re being open and honest with your boyfriend if that’s what you want in return.
Don’t force it, but do your best to be there when he needs you.
The more comfortable he feels opening up to you, the stronger your relationship will be and the more you can really get to know each other.
7. Remember That Trust Goes Both Ways
Just like communication, trust needs to be something that you both give and receive.
If there is no trust in a relationship, there’s nothing real to keep it going in the long run.
Do your best to trust him.
Though, if you’ve struggled or been cheated on in past relationships, you’re allowed to feel insecure at times.
Talk to your boyfriend about this and make it clear that you know he is not your ex, but that you’re now a bit inclined to feel anxious about that kind of thing.
He’ll be understanding and you can work on ways to help you feel more secure.
Remind yourself that he is with you for a reason – part of being a good girlfriend is realizing that you already are one!
Equally, make sure your boyfriend knows he can trust you.
A lot of women try to ‘test’ their partners – making them jealous to see if they start making more of an effort or fight for them.
This always ends badly!
Nobody wants to be pushed into a horrible situation, so be sensible and mature and create the relationship you want by respecting boundaries.
8. Love Yourself
Confidence is not only incredibly attractive, it’s also very important when it comes to being in a relationship.
This ties in with everything we’ve spoken about already, but it’s a big enough aspect of being a great girlfriend to deserve its own explanation!
By loving yourself, you allow yourself to be more open to love from other people.
Tell yourself you are wonderful and that you’re deserving of love and affection.
Too many of us find it hard to believe that the person we’re with really loves us.
It’s not because of their actions…
It’s because we don’t love ourselves, so we can’t understand why anyone else would, or could love us!
Focus on yourself as well as your boyfriend by taking care of yourself, spending time alone, and doing things that make you happy.
Take all of the ways you show your boyfriend that you love him (cute gifts, cooking nice meals, enjoying a glass of wine with a movie) and direct them at yourself.
This will help you feel more comfortable and confident in yourself and, consequently, your relationship.
The more secure and loved you let yourself feel, the stronger your relationship will be and the happier your boyfriend will be.
After all, what man doesn’t want a self-assured, self-loving woman for a girlfriend?
9. Embrace The Downtime
Relationships can feel like opportunities to do lots of new and exciting things, and they are.
Just be mindful that it’s so easy to get caught up in how amazing someone is when you’re discovering new activities with them all the time!
Who wouldn’t enjoy spending time with someone if you’re going rock climbing or hiking or jet-setting all the time?
It’s great if your relationship involves that kind of thing, but it’s so important that those feelings continue when you’re staying in together for the night, or spending a lazy Sunday in a coffee shop.
Being a good partner isn’t just about being exciting in crazy circumstances all the time; it’s making an effort in the downtime too.
You can love anyone when they whisk you off to Paris for the weekend, but true love and strong relationships are built in the quieter moments of normality…
…in the day-to-day tasks that are just better when you’re with each other.
Make the effort when you’re doing normal, ‘boring’ things and your boyfriend will realize how much he loves being with you, not just how much he loves being with someone (anyone!) for the fun moments.
10. Pick Your Battles
This is true of every relationship you’ll ever have (romantic, friendly, or with family) and is so important when it comes to being a good girlfriend and person in general.
Take a step back, ask if you’re being rational and whether the issue is actually worth having a discussion over.
If not, let it go and move on!
It might sound challenging, but it’ll be so much nicer for you both.
This goes both ways, of course, so if your boyfriend is nagging you about inconsequential things, don’t be scared to suggest that you both either make compromises or just take a deep breath and get on with more important things.
Lucy is a travel and wellness writer currently based in Gili Air, a tiny Indonesian island. After over a year of traveling, she’s settled in paradise and spends her days wandering around barefoot, practicing yoga and exploring new ways to work on her wellbeing.