Maybe it’s how you always remember to buy your partner’s favorite foods when you go to the grocery store. Maybe it’s the way you rub their back while they’re falling asleep. Maybe it’s how you manage to send a well-timed encouraging text just when they need a boost before a big interview or work presentation. There are just several ways to be an amazing girlfriend. But what are some other strategies that can make someone stand out to their significant other?
Obviously, the answer depends on who you ask. But there are a number of things you can do that will make almost anyone feel loved and supported. You know, the things that make their eyes light up, and the things they brag about to their friends (who are probably getting a little tired of hearing about you, TBH).
An individual’s needs are complex. And of course, you probably know better than anyone what makes your partner tick. The more you start to take notice of the things that make them smile, or say “thank you,” the more you’ll be able to find powerful ways to let them know you appreciate them. And luckily, the first step to being an amazing partner is simply caring enough to make the effort.
Ready to up your GF game for bae? Try some of these simple hacks and you’ll achieve #girlfriendgoals status in no time.
Keep it (mostly) positive.
Of course, there will be times when you need to point out something that your partner is doing that’s bugging you. It’s important to bring these things to your SO’s attention because if they don’t know what’s upsetting you, they can’t do anything about it. That said, it’s crucial to find a balance. And achieving the ideal balance means putting more of an emphasis on the positive stuff. In other words, remember to let bae know what they’re doing right, rather than only giving them feedback about what they’re doing wrong.
Clinical psychologist and author Jill Weber, Ph.D., advises that the feedback you give your SO should be 75 percent positive, and only 25 percent negative.
So, how’s your ratio? Try giving your partner a pat on the back for the ways in which they’re making your wants and needs met, and that’s sure to make them feel even more confident about your relationship. Not only that — but don’t be surprised if you start hearing more positive feedback as well.
Know bae's love language — and use it.
Using years of his own observations, couples counselor and author Gary Chapman concluded that there are five different ways in which individuals can receive love. These five “love languages” are physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, and gifts. While some of us may speak more than one, we usually have one primary language that makes us feel most loved and appreciated. Now, the question is: Do you know bae’s? You can have them take a simple test to find out, but reading about them may make it obvious enough what speaks to your boo most.
Once you know your partner’s love language, you can start taking advantage of that. Why is this important? Well, if your boo’s love language is quality time, then they’re going to appreciate you setting aside a lazy Sunday to cook brunch and snuggle together far more than giving them a lavish gift. Likewise, if their love language is physical touch, something as simple as rubbing their back at night or giving them a smooch right when they walk in the door is bound to go a long way.
Nurture your own passions — and let them do the same.
Don’t underestimate how having a life of your own — and allowing bae to do the same — can make you an amazing girlfriend. In fact, Dr. Terri Orbuch, psychologist and professor at the University of Michigan's Institute, discovered in her research that having enough space in a relationship is even more important to a couple’s happiness than having a good sex life. He concluded that when each individual has their own interests and friends, they are less likely to get bored in the relationship or define themselves by their relationship in an unhealthy way.
Make it a point to schedule a girls’ night or guys’ night once a week or so. Give yourself permission to take that gardening workshop you’ve been wanting to sign up for. Try a new fitness class you’ve been dying to check out. Having time apart will ensure that you both maintain a sense of individual identity, which will make you stronger as a couple. By pursuing your own passions and hobbies and encouraging bae to do the same, you’ll actually have more to talk about when you do spend time together. Besides, independence is super hot.
I’ll be the first to admit that I tend to take things pretty seriously. A few months back, I was eagerly devouring an order of sweet potato tots, which came with a chipotle dipping sauce. As I dunked a tot into that spicy concoction, some of it flew into my eye (don’t ask me how this happened). Immediately, I went into #panicmode, hurling my chair backward, flailing my arms, running into the bathroom to dramatically swipe all of my products off the counter and run the cold water so I could splash it into my burning retina. This, obviously, amused my boyfriend immensely. And you know what? When he imitated how I had just reacted, I lost it. “I’m so glad you were able to laugh at yourself,” he said. "I love that."
It made me realize that the ability to lighten up is pretty crucial in any relationship. From time to time, you and your boo are going to find yourself in unfortunate circumstances. And if you can show them that you are capable of laughing it off, well — then you’re on the fast track to amazing girlfriend status.
Don’t believe me? Consider this. One 2006 study published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior revealed that both men and women appreciate their partner’s ability to make them laugh, as well as their own ability to make their partner laugh. In other words, sense of humor is pretty important — so don’t underestimate the power of making your boo chuckle when they’re having a tough day.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to being an amazing girlfriend. What makes one person’s heart beat faster may have hardly any impact on another’s at all. That said, there’s one cardinal rule that applies to every relationship — and that is that it can take a little lazy girl effort to be a standout significant other.