How to be a good girlfriend: 22 practical tips!

happy couple
Image credit: Shutterstock - By Peter Berni
We sometimes include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate disclosure.


Want to be the very best girlfriend you can be?

Whether you’re getting into a relationship for the very first time or are needing a brush-up on how to be a good girlfriend, these 22 practical tips explain what turns a girlfriend from good to awesome.

The best part? You don’t have to change who you are as a person one bit.

Let’s get started.

1) Radiate Self-Confidence

It’s natural for us to feel uncomfortable in our own skin. We’re human beings after all, and we always strive to be a better version of ourselves.

It’s tempting to get your fix of assurance from your relationship. As a result, people generally tend to rely too much on their partners to recreate their self-image.

Remember that relationships begin from the inside-out. If you’re not happy with who you are as a person, you’re inevitably going to turn into a black hole sucking the life and joy out of your partner and your relationship.

Start by accepting who you are. After all, that’s what he fell in love with in the first place.

2) Appreciate Him

Too many women make the mistake of thinking that their partners are invulnerable to pain, precisely because their men.

Despite the tough guy act, men are riddled with insecurities, too. And just like us, they need a confidence boost once in a while.

Make him feel good about himself by giving him a compliment every now and then. Men are socially conditioned to give out compliments and not receive them.

However, the fact stands: it’s always nice to hear nice things about yourself, regardless of gender.

Don’t stop at compliments. Let him know that you acknowledge his efforts and appreciate him for the person that he is.

3) Trigger his hero instinct

If you want to be a good girlfriend, you need to trigger something deep inside him. Something he desperately needs.

What is it?

For a guy to be really invested in a relationship, he needs to like your provider and protector. Someone that you genuinely admire.

In other words, he needs to feel like your hero.

I know it sounds kind of silly. In this day and age, women don’t need someone to rescue them. They don’t need a ‘hero’ in their lives.

And I couldn’t agree more.

But here’s the ironic truth. Men do still need to be a hero. Because it’s built into their DNA to seek out relationships that allow them to feel like a protector.

Men have a thirst for your admiration. They want to step up to the plate for the woman in their lives and provide for and protect her.

This is deeply rooted in male biology.

If you can make your guy feel like a hero, it unleashes his protective instincts and the most noble aspect of his masculinity. Most importantly, it will unleash his deepest feelings of love and attraction.

And the kicker?

A man is a lot less likely to stay in a relationship when this powerful emotion.

There’s actually a psychological term for what I’m talking about here. It’s called the hero instinct. This term was coined by relationship psychologist James Bauer.

Check out this free video by James. He gives a great explanation of what the hero instinct is all about.

I think the hero instinct provides a compelling explanation for what drives men in relationships. Because I can relate to the psychology behind it in my own life.

Here’s a link to his free video again.

4) Listen To Him

There will be days when all he wants to do is come home to you and tell you about the horrible day he’s been having.

Remember what we said about the tough guy act? Underneath that facade is a human being needing a companion who will listen to his stories.

Guys are simple beings: sometimes all they need is a box of pizza and you right by their side. So the next time your guy comes over in a bad mood, lend him your ears and simply listen.

This is especially the case if they’re experiencing anxiety or emotional issues. Guys are afraid to speak about that stuff so it make it comfortable for them.

QUIZ: What does your man really want from you (based on his Zodiac sign)? My fun new Zodiac quiz will tell you. Take my quiz here.

5) Develop Your Own Hobbies

Nothing kills a relationship faster than people who do nothing else but obsess about the relationship.

Sure, you love the other person but don’t forget that you’re still your own people, which means you should still maintain your own personal lives and nurture that individually.

In simpler terms, take the time off from hanging out all the time and do something else.

Nothing is more attractive than dating a person who is set on doing his or her own things, whether it’s writing a book or starting a new business venture.

You don’t want your identity to revolve around being his girlfriend. Trust us, no successful, happy, and mentally healthy person would want to date someone who is 100% invested in the relationship and nothing else.

Image credit: Shutterstock – By lzf

6) Hang Out With His Friends

There was a time before you, and unless you marry each other, there will be a time after you.

In those different parts of his life, only one thing has remained constant: his friends. These people have seen him through the good, the bad, and the ugly.

If you want to create a strong foundation for a healthy long-term relationship, keep his existing relationships in mind and start nourishing those, too.

happy people talking about the Harvard happiness study

7) Don’t Compete With His Friends

The previous point goes hand-in-hand with this one.

Most girlfriends choose to isolate themselves from their boyfriend’s friends because they feel like they won’t belong in that group or because they just don’t like his friends.

Remember that his friends are a constant presence in his life which means they’re going to be around a lot.

If you want to make your relationship work, you have to accept that his friends are as an important part of his life as you are, if not more significant because of the many years he has already spent with them.

Don’t be the notorious partner who constantly has her boyfriend pick between her and his friends.

Instead, be flexible enough that you are genuine in accommodating and befriending his pals.

8) Stay Faithful

It’s not just about making sure you don’t sleep with his friends; it’s about making him feel like he has no reason to feel jealous.

It’s all about being mentally kind to the person you’re seeing and making him feel wanted, loved, and appreciated.

Faithfulness and loyalty is assuring him that despite the looks and the suggestive advances you get from other guys, there is absolutely nothing in this world that could make you betray his trust.

9) Build Up Trust

Privacy and personal boundaries are the key to a successful relationship.

Give yourselves space to breathe, grow, and create a culture of trust so much so that you can spend days and miles apart without wondering if they’re already talking to someone else.

Trust is a good foundation to have as any if you want your relationship to stand the test of time.

Trust creates confidence and that positive energy is a good catalyst for growth, both as individuals and as partners.

10) Make him feel essential

Being in a relationship doesn’t mean you need to live in each other’s pockets or have an unhealthy attachment to each other.

However, showing a man this he is essential to you is an important way to be a good girlfriend.

Especially for a man, feeling essential to a woman is often what separates “like” from “love”.

Don’t get me wrong, no doubt your guy loves your strength and abilities to be independent. But he still wants to feel wanted and useful — not dispensable!

This is because men have a built in desire for something “greater” that goes beyond love or sex. It’s why men who seemingly have the “perfect girlfriend” are still unhappy and find themselves constantly searching for something else —  or worst of all, someone else.

Simply put, men have a biological drive to feel needed, to feel important, and to provide for the woman he cares about.

Relationship psychologist James Bauer calls it the hero instinct. I introduced this concept above.

He’s created an excellent free video explaining his concept. You can watch the video here.

As James argues, male desires are not complicated, just misunderstood. Instincts are powerful drivers of human behavior and this is especially true for how men approach their relationships.

So, when the hero instinct isn’t triggered, men are unlikely to be satisfied in a relationship. He holds back because being in a relationship is a serious investment for him. And he won’t fully “invest” in you unless you give him a sense of meaning and purpose and make him feel essential.

How do you trigger this instinct in him? How do you give him a sense of meaning and purpose?

You don’t need to pretend to be anyone you’re not or play the “damsel in distress”. You don’t have to dilute your strength or independence in any way, shape or form.

In an authentic way, you simply have to show your man what you need and allow him to step up to fulfill it.

In his new video, James Bauer outlines several things you can do. He reveals phrases, texts and little requests that you can use right now to make him feel more essential to you.

Here’s a link to the video again.

By triggering this very natural male instinct, you’ll not only supercharge his confidence as a man but it will also help to rocket your relationship to the next level.

11) Keep Him On His Toes

We’re not saying you should deliver full-blown mood maelstroms every three days or so.

You can do something a little less intense, like inject novelty into the relationship. Whether it’s doing new things in bed or taking the weekend off to do something crazy, experimentation is a great way to keep the passion burning bright.

The point is to plan these fun experiences yourself instead of relying on him to plan them all the time.

RELATED: The strangest thing men desire (And how it can make him crazy for you)

12) Be An Amazing Friend

At the end of the day, the solution to becoming the world’s best girlfriend is simple: be his best friend.

You can plan the most amazing trips and be an amazing pal for his friends, but if you neglect intimacy and take for granted his likes, interests, and emotions, you’re forgetting a crucial part of what makes romantic relationships different (and better) from the others.

When in doubt, just ask yourself, “Have I been a good friend lately?” If the answer is yes then congratulate yourself because you’re already an awesome girlfriend!

QUIZ: What does your boyfriend really want from you? My fun new Zodiac quiz can help you figure it out, based on his Zodiac sign. Take my new quiz here.
A couple bonding. Signs he respects you.

13) Give Him Space

Nobody likes a clingy girl. They’re annoying and impinge on a guy’s freedom.

To avoid being a clingy girl, you need to give your man space to live the way he wants. But in essence, you need to build your own life so you’re not relying on your man.

It’s girls that “need” a man for them to be happy that become problematic.

So build your own life, have your own hobbies, get involved in passion projects. Do whatever you can to create a fulfilling life.

Not only will be you able to give your man space, but you’ll probably become much happier within yourself too.

14) Feed Him Well

I know, you can’t be in the kitchen 24/7. But you can every now and then cook him an amazing dish.

As shallow as it is, food really is the way to a man’s heart. It doesn’t matter if it’s just a cake, or a full on 3 course meal. Just making an effort will let him know that you want to take care of him.

15) Don’t Flirt With Other Guys, Especially in Front of Him!

This goes without saying, but it can be surprising how many girls unknowingly flirt with other guys.

When you meet a handsome guy, it can be natural instinct. This is fine when your man isn’t around, but if he is around, you better be aware of it.

Flirting with other guys when your man is around is an absolute no-no. It’ll make him feel like less of a man and that you’re not really into the relationship.

What’s more, it may also cause him to retaliate and flirt with other girls. Trust me when I say, that’s a slippering slope you don’t want to go down.

The bottom line is this:

Don’t flirt with other guys and let him know that you’re loyal to him. He’ll be loyal to you, too.

16) Disarm Him With Kindness, Not Nagging!

If he doing something annoying, don’t shout at him. It will only make things worse. All it does is turn negativity into more negativity.

Instead, ask him nicely. Disarm him with your sweetness. Not only will he be more obeying to you, it won’t create a toxic atmosphere as well.

17) Be Great in the Bedroom

Okay, you don’t have to be a porn star. In fact, that would be a turn off for a lot of guys.

But you do need to make sure that you’re both having fun.

Try a few new moves and see how he reacts. Does he like it? If he does, continue doing it!

If you’re not enjoying yourself, speak up! Have a conversation about what you like and what he likes.

Bedroom action isn’t everything in a relationship, but it is important. Having fun will lighten up the atmosphere and build connection between the two of you.

18) Feed His Ego

It’s no secret that most men have a big ego.

They love it when they receive compliments. It makes them feel like a real man.

But you also need to know that their ego can be very fragile as well.

So every now and then, give him a compliment and boost his ego. It will mean that he won’t go looking around for another girl to do the same.

19) Let Him Be the Man

Even if you really have the control in the relationship, let him feel like he does every now and then.

Men need to feel like they’re in control. They want to be in charge.

Ask for his opinions, listen to him and make him like he is making some decisions in the relationship.

We all know that a strong woman really has the control, but if you let him feel like he has some control, he’ll feel less insecure.

RELATED: The Hero Instinct: How Can You Trigger It In Your Man?

20) Be There For Him When He Needs It

We all go through tribulations in life. It’s inevitable. In fact, even Buddha said that “Pain is inevitable.”

So when he is going through problems, be there for him. A man loves to feel the empathy, kindness and soft touch of a woman, especially when they’re experiencing challenging times.

So make sure you support him, through the good times and the bad. It means that when you’re going through tough times yourself, he’ll be there for you, too.

21) Don’t Compete With Him Too Much

When you’re in a close relationship, it can be tempting to compete with each other on things like how much you earn, pool table battles or how much smarter you are than them.

But be careful about taking this too far. You don’t want to cause unnecessary tension.

If a guy loses to a girl, they can become very sensitive about it.

Yes, it’s fun to have some competition with each other, but don’t let it interfere with the love in the relationship.

Sometimes you just need to take it easy and have fun with each other, instead of always competing.

22) Be Humble

Being an arrogant, cold-hearted chick can take its tool on any guy.

If you think that you’re really good, not only will he get tired of it, but it might start getting insecure about himself.

So be humble about yourself. You’ll be more authentic, which will enable you to build a stronger connection with your man.

The bottom line is this:

A confident, but humble person is much better to hang out with than an over-confident, arrogant douchebag.

Relationship success comes down to this

I hope these 22 practical tips will set you on the path to being a great girlfriend.

However, relationships are hard work. And I think there’s one crucial ingredient to relationship success I think many women overlook:

Understanding what their guy is thinking at a deep level.

Let’s face it: Men see the world differently to you and we want different things from a relationship.

And this can make a passionate and long lasting relationship — something that men actually want deep down as well — really difficult to achieve.

I know that getting a guy to open up and tell you what he’s thinking can feel like an impossible task. But I’ve recently come across a new way to help you understand what’s driving him in your relationship…

Men want one thing

James Bauer is one of the world’s leading relationship experts.

In his new video, he reveals a new concept which brilliantly explains what really drives men romantically. He calls it the hero instinct. I talked about this concept above.

Simply put, men want to be your hero. Not necessarily an action hero like Thor, but he does want to step up to the plate for the woman in his life and be appreciated for his efforts.

The hero instinct is probably the best-kept secret in relationship psychology. And I think it holds the key to a man’s love and devotion for life.

You can watch the video here.

My friend and Hack Spirit writer Pearl Nash was the person who first introduced the hero instinct to me. Since then I’ve written extensively about the concept on Hack Spirit.

For many women, learning about the hero instinct was their “aha moment”. It was for Pearl Nash. You can read her personal story here about how triggering the hero instinct helped her turn around a lifetime of relationship failure.

Can a relationship coach help you too?

If you want specific advice on your situation, it can be very helpful to speak to a relationship coach.

I know this from personal experience…

A few months ago, I reached out to Relationship Hero when I was going through a tough patch in my relationship. After being lost in my thoughts for so long, they gave me a unique insight into the dynamics of my relationship and how to get it back on track.

If you haven’t heard of Relationship Hero before, it’s a site where highly trained relationship coaches help people through complicated and difficult love situations.

In just a few minutes you can connect with a certified relationship coach and get tailor-made advice for your situation.

I was blown away by how kind, empathetic, and genuinely helpful my coach was.

Click here to get started.


Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Hack Spirit review team. In our reviews, Hack Spirit highlights products and services that you might find interesting. If you buy them, we receive a small commission from that sale. However, we only ever recommend products that we have personally investigated and truly feel could be valuable to you. Read our affiliate disclosure here. We welcome your feedback at [email protected].

Did you like my article? Like me on Facebook to see more articles like this in your feed.

Written by Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

“What am I doing with my life” – 7 steps to finally work it out

The gray rock method: How to deal with a narcissist you can’t avoid