If you’re wondering how to be a good boyfriend, the chances are you’re doing a lot of things right already!
Asking this question shows that you care about your girlfriend and your relationship and that in itself means you’re halfway there in your pursuit of being a good boyfriend.
So, if you want to know specifics about how to be a good boyfriend, keep reading!
Studies and research
Brian Ogolsky, a professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, has studied in depth more than one thousand relationships. In fact, he studied every single academic publication under the umbrella term of ‘relationship maintenance’ that has been published since 1950.
He determined there are some simple strategies to avoid breaking up a relationship and hence are keys when learning how to be a good boyfriend. These things include always frame things in a positive way. Don’t belittle her or demean her but make her feel special. After all she is!
She is a unique woman, no matter what her idiosyncrasies or insecurites may be (you have yours as well) be sure you frame these in your mind in a positive way.
Consider that she is “unique” not “weird” if you disagree on things. Also, make sure you learn to manage your conflict well (every relationship will have conflict, but it’s all about how you handle it), and also don’t be selfish.
Treat her like a queen when you can.
Avoiding breaking up
If you’re wanting to know how to be a good boyfriend because you’re on the verge of breaking up, this section is best suited to you. Firstly, it depends on why you’re in this position in the first place.
Is it simply that the relationship has hit a rut or gone stale? Have there been trust issues? Let’s take a look at some strategies to help you avoid breaking up and turn you into the good boyfriend that you want to be.
1. Don’t look at other girls.
Trust issues or not, you need to make sure you are not looking at other girls. If while with your girlfriend and if you so much as a glance in the direction of another girl, your girlfriend will notice.
You need to have only eyes for her. This is also true when you’re not even with her. Try to turn that part of your brain off. You are not single, so don’t ever act as though you are.
It’s simply disrespectful to her and lacks integrity. After all, integrity is for when no one is looking.
2. Believe you have the best.
You need to believe that your girlfriend is the best girlfriend you could ever have. Furthermore, you need to idealize her and your relationship with her.
Once you truly believe that your relationship is special and that your connection is better than the average, you may likely see the benefits of a healthier relationship.
Desiring to become better at something in life is a great motivational tool, this concept doesn’t stop with relationships.
3. Give her the benefit of the doubt.
Always look for the positive in terms of motives for her behavior. If she does something you’re not happy with, instead of arguing about it, try to understand why she did it in the first place.
Always operate with grace. Treat her the way you would want to be treated if you made a mistake or did something dumb!
Working to stay together
Here are some things that ideally both parties will do in a relationship but, if you want to be a good boyfriend, it’s a good idea to take the lead and demonstrate these great qualities.
Remember, all women love for the man to be the leader.
But a good leader is a servant leader and does all thing with kindness. Women respond great to that type of leadership!
1. Learn how to manage conflict.
You need to find a way to settle any differences you may have. Sometimes, you just have to compromise or accommodate your girlfriend in a way that makes her feel esteemed.
You might even have to concede to her point of view, agree to disagree, or even apologize. Stonewalling your girlfriend or not engaging with her when conflict arises is definitely not a good boyfriend trait.
2. Forgive her.
…but don’t be a doormat. Studies have shown that forgiveness has been linked to relationship satisfaction therefore, if you want to be a good boyfriend, you need to learn this skill. I use the word ‘skill’ deliberately because I really believe that it is something that needs to be learned.
It doesn’t always come naturally and it can actually be really difficult to do! Forgiveness however is an act of the will and it’s simply a choice, and you are in control of your choices.
3. Help her.
Whether it’s helping her to complete tasks, achieve her goals, make plans or simply to manage her time, a man who helps his girlfriend definitely makes for a good boyfriend.
4. Alleviate her stress.
Whatever the cause of her stress, be it work, finances, or a fall out with friends or family, responding to your girlfriend’s stress in a calming way will help her get through to the other side.
What’s more, she’ll come to realize that you’re dependable, which is certainly a good trait to have as a significant other. Deep in her heart she really wants to be able to depend on you and lean on you as the strong, loving leader in the relationship.
Efforts to improve an already good relationship
No relationship is perfect, and although the above points are all valid in any relationship they’re more essential for those who may be in the proverbial relationship ‘weeds’ and really need to improve things.
The following will help you continue to improve an already good relationship in order to ensure you are the best boyfriend possible.
1. Be generous.
Do something extra for your girlfriend that you wouldn’t normally do. Being generous isn’t about splashing the cash. For example, if you normally make her lunch for work, add a little note in there to surprise her! Generosity is not just about money.
You can be generous with your time, your compliments, or your home. Make her feel like your home is her home.
2. Don’t forget to show your gratitude.
This isn’t just about saying ‘thanks’ when she’s ironed your shirt, show her that you’re grateful for her and your relationship.
3. Be open in terms of communication.
Speak positively with your partner at all times even if you disagree with her. Whatever you’ve got to say, there is always a kind way of saying it. Also, being open means being able to listen and it means being able to take criticism.
4. Respond to her and show focus.
If your girlfriend arrives home and you’re deep in the middle of a game on your Xbox, put down the controller and talk to her. She will surely appreciate it and will (probably) be happier for you to continue playing if you show her this courtesy.
5. Do fun things with her.
If a relationship has gotten a bit stale (i.e. you’re doing the same things day in day out, week in week out), then it’s time to step it up a notch and do something fun together! There are lots of fun things to do that don’t cost money.
Learn her love language. That’s right. Everyone has a different love language and learning how she expresses her love is a key.
Unexpected ways to be a good boyfriend
If we’re going to look at how to be a good boyfriend, then we need to know what women think a good boyfriend is.
Well, the following ideas are meant to be a bit tongue-in-cheek, but they highlight that being a good boyfriend is not just about bringing home a dozen roses for no reason!
1. Grow facial hair.
Obviously, you can be a good boyfriend without being a Brad Pitt look alike, but a good relationship does need some sort of mutual attraction to be successful.
Therefore, being as attractive as possible to your girlfriend is important. Business Insider has an article detailing how women are attracted to men with facial hair.
Not just any facial hair, however, there is a specific type that women find attractive and that makes an ideal boyfriend. According to a study, the optimal facial hair is long stubble – about 10 days’ growth.
So, if you’re running out of ideas on how to be a good boyfriend, have a shave and wait 10 days – she’ll be so attracted to you that she’ll certainly consider you good boyfriend material.
2. Don’t be attractive.
Research suggests that if a boyfriend is less attractive than his girlfriend, the relationship will last longer. How does this fit in with being a good boyfriend?
Well, if you feel as though you’re punching above your own weight, then it really doesn’t matter at all.
Be confident in the science and stop worrying. Being more confident in your relationship certainly makes for a better boyfriend. After all, being needy is a real turn off!
3. Do housework.
Housework will certainly win you brownie points in your relationship. Your girlfriend will be boasting how considerate and helpful you are around the house to all her friends.
4. Get along with your parents.
If you have a good relationship with your parents, your girlfriend will see how you treat those that you are closest to. If there is bad blood and you’re not on speaking terms with your parents, your girlfriend might see you as bad relationship potential.
Things good boyfriends say to their girlfriends
Being a good communicator is very important, but let’s take a deeper dive and understand things good boyfriends say to their girlfriends.
If you don’t think you’re a good boyfriend (or she’s told you that you’re not), then learning some key phrases will certainly go a long way into turning you into one! Don’t always stick to the same compliment! Instead, compliment her on:
- Her appearance
- Her personality
- Her intellect
- Her work
- Her achievements and successes
- Her kindness
Ways good boyfriends show affection
Affection is an important part of any close relationship. Humans are a social species that have a need for affection. Showing frequent affection can sometimes diminish with time as relationships evolve.
Remember when you couldn’t take your hands off her and everything was exciting and new? Remember wanting to sleep with her in your arms all night?
Well, your girlfriend will love it if you show her more affection!
There are a few rules though:
- Show her small gestures more frequently. A peck on the cheek, a brief shoulder rub, or grasp of the hand or a slight stroke of her arm all count towards physical affection and should not be dismissed. In fact, it is often these smaller gestures that a woman prefers rather than the all-encompassing bear hug.
- Do not show her affection just because you want sex! This is certainly not good boyfriend behavior. If you only ever show affection when you want something, then she will quickly learn and will start to brush off your advances as soon as you touch her.
- Start and end your day with affection. This is also relevant for any points where you’re saying hello and goodbye to each other. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture and a big embrace, just a simple kiss or touch of the hand is enough.
- Affection when she needs it. If your girlfriend is sad or angry about something, a hug can go a long way. Don’t wait for her to ask for a hug, go in there and make her feel better right away.
How good boyfriends listen
Listening may seem easy but it’s actually quite technical when it comes to relationships. A good boyfriend is a good listener. It doesn’t stop there though.
A good boyfriend is a good active listener. But, what is an active listener?
Active listening involves concentrating fully on what your girlfriend is saying, understanding what she is saying, responding to what is being said, and then remembering it.
When listening to your girlfriend, you need to observe her carefully. Observing her body language means you are likely to understand her more.
When carrying out active listening, it is important that you paraphrase what your girlfriend has said when there is a pause in the conversation. This is important because it will allow both of you to have a clear understanding of what has been said.
If you practice active listening, your girlfriend will feel understood and will feel more connected to you.
How good boyfriends look at their girlfriends
Eye contact is really important in any close relationship. In fact, eye contact is an imperative in communication – it often gives away a lot more than a verbal response can ever do.
A 2015 research paper stated that eye contact is a conversation without words. In times when smartphones and screens are always to hand, it’s really important to make sure you look at your girlfriend.
If you suddenly ‘up’ the intensity of your eye contact, she might start questioning why or ask you what you’re looking.
If this happens, just tell her you’re looking at her and how beautiful she is. This is sure to go down well.
Give her space
This piece of advice might come as a surprise! But a good boyfriend will give his girlfriend space if she needs it.
If your girlfriend requests some alone time or heads out somewhere, don’t make it a habit to be tagging along – or worse, ask her not to go! All healthy couples need time apart.
Give your girlfriend the space she needs and you’ll actually appreciate each other even more.
If you want to be a good boyfriend, don’t be a bad one!
It can be really easy to say do X, Y, and Z and you’ll be a good boyfriend but it’s also really important to avoid things that will make you seem like a bad boyfriend, too. Let’s take a look at some things you should definitely avoid.
1. Don’t use sex as a bargaining tool.
If you do something nice for your girlfriend, remember that she doesn’t owe you anything!
2. Don’t cancel your dates to meet your mates (aka friends).
This is so important. You are in a relationship with her and she should come first. If you don’t have plans, fine, go ahead, but if you do then you need to stick to them and let your friends down instead of her!
Remember the golden rule? Do unto others and you would have done to you! This goes for this relationship too. Just be respectful of her.
3. Don’t refuse to watch her favorite shows or listen to her favorite music.
Everyone has different tastes. If you’re a good boyfriend, you’ll stick around when her favorite show is on, whether you like it or not.
She’ll really appreciate it, especially if she knows you don’t actually like it yourself. Remember, it’s NOT all about you.
4. Don’t forget to send her a text every now and then.
This is especially true if the two of you are apart for an extended period of time. She’ll really appreciate it, even if it’s just a short “hello” with an emoji.
5. Don’t yell.
It’s actually really hard to avoid raising voices sometimes. If you want to be a great boyfriend, however, choose your words and your tone of voice carefully. You don’t actually need to yell.
Get in control of your emotions. Don’t let your emotions control you.
6. Don’t let her arrange all of the dates.
What I mean by this is that if she arranges dates for you all of the time, the relationship might seem a bit one-sided. Show her it isn’t by arranging to take her out.
How to be a good boyfriend – a summary
In this article, we’ve covered everything from saving a failing relationship to improving any relationship. We’ve also given you some tips on what not to do if you want to be a good boyfriend.
To summarize, the key factor when learning how to be a good boyfriend is excellent communication on every level. This comes down to body language, eye contact, listening skills, affection and lastly, the words you speak to her.
Being a good boyfriend isn’t always easy, since it is a deliberate effort and it does take some work. But, as they say, practice makes perfect and once you get into a habit of being a good boyfriend, you’ll realize you’re doing it without thinking!
Why not begin now?
Send your girlfriend a complimentary text message, it’s sure to bring a smile onto her face!