So your girlfriend is down in the dumps and you want to make her happy. Fair enough.
I’ve been in the same boat plenty of times before (females are emotional creatures after all) and there are some things that work and some things that backfire.
So in order to make your girlfriend happy (and keep her there) here are 12 things you can start doing in your relationship right now.
12 things that make your girlfriend happy
1. Be thankful on the regular
Journalist Janice Kaplan wrote in “The Gratitude Diaries” about how she tried a yearlong experiment of being more grateful for everyone and everything in her life – including her husband.
She said that thanking her husband for even small things such as fixing a leaky faucet improved their marriage a great deal.
This is something that won’t make your girlfriend happy immediately, but it’s a routine you can adopt.
Whenever your girlfriend does something for you, like cook you a meal, be grateful for it and thank her.
It’s basic manners but you’d be surprised how many of us forget to thank our partners because we get lost in our routines.
Business Insider reported that psychologists have known for a while that couples who express gratitude toward each other are more likely to stay together.
In fact, they even go as far as saying that thanking your partner even once can bring you two closer months later.
I’m not sure how they worked that out, but it doesn’t matter. The main point is, say thank you! It’s two words that will undoubtedly improve your relationship.
2. Every time you see her, give her a warm hug and farewell
Little things like this can make a difference.
Every time you see your girlfriend, give her a warm hug and hello. Same with your goodbyes.
It’s a simple routine to get in the habit of and it will make her feel good every time she sees you.
Research suggests that physical affection is related to greater satisfaction in romantic relationships.
So take the time to show your partner how happy you are to see them.
3. If you live with your girlfriend, start doing chores around the house
On the “Best of Both Worlds” podcast, time-management expert Laura Vanderkam recommends a simple strategy to relieve some of the stress from your relationship.
It involves two steps.
1. You write down all the responsibilities you and girlfriend are taking care of in the household.
2. You then share which of those responsibilities you enjoy, and which you don’t.
Then you can figure out how much you’re both really doing around the house and you can “swap” duties that you enjoy more.
The reason you want to do this is simple.
It ensures you’re both contributing, which takes the stress away from the relationship.
Your girlfriend will be less likely to get down if you’re shouldering your fair share.
In fact, according to research reported on the Daily Mail, couples who do chores together are happier, fight less, and have better sex lives.
The research also suggested that women who felt they washed the lion’s shares of the dishes were more likely to be unhappy with their partners.
So lift your weight around the house, your girlfriend will be glad.
4. Use the 10-minute rule
The 10-minute rule is coined by relationship expert Terri Orbuch.
In her book “5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage From Good to Great” she says that a 10-minute rule can work wonders for any relationship.
What is the 10-minute rule?
The rule is a “daily briefing in which you and your spouse make time to talk about anything under the sun – except kids, works, and household tasks or responsibilities.”
Here are some questions you can ask during the 10-minutes.
– What is the one thing you want to be remembered for?
– What do you feel is your strongest trait?
– What do you think is the best song of all time?
– If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?
5. Cheer her on
Even though you’re in a committed relationship with your girlfriend, we all have our own lives.
We have our own paths with different personal dreams and aspirations.
According to relationship expert Rachel Astarte, it’s important to “acknowledge that you are each on your own path.”
You don’t need to become one entity – that would be unhealthy.
So whatever your girlfriend is trying to accomplish in her life, cheer her on. Be her number one supporter.
This is one area I’ve made a conscious effort in my relationship. I’m interested in what my girlfriend’s goals are, and I actually listen when she talks about them.
I want her to achieve whatever she wants to achieve, which makes our relationship supportive and encouraging.
This may seem simple, but I’ve seen many couples put each other down without even realizing it.
This is usually the case when there’s a level of competition in the relationship. They’re constantly trying to one-up each other.
But that leads to resentment and bitterness, which is unhealthy for any relationship.
There doesn’t need to be competition. A relationship where you support each other with your own goals is much more healthy and fulfilling. There’s more room for positive growth as well.
6. Focus on your communication
Communication really is the most important factor in making a relationship work. A common negative pattern that I see in my relationships is communicating in a cycle of criticism and defensiveness.
How does this happen?
Well, one partner hears something they perceive as an attack from their partner which leads to an immediate defense.
This sets both partners to be not heard and there is no level of understanding. The key to avoiding patterns like this is through adequate communication.
By communication, I mean properly listening. Understanding diffuses reactivity and allows you both to communicate as adults.
The one takeaway from this point is to focus on your listening skills. It’s really important.
It definitely takes practice, but here are some tips to become a better listener:
– Put yourself in her shoes. Think about what she’s saying from their perspective.
– Avoid making assumptions or judgments as if you know better.
– Pay attention to her feelings as she’s talking.
– Talk to her back in their own words (empathetic reflection).
– Look into her eyes as she’s speaking.
– Acknowledge that you’re listening by nodding or saying “uh-huh” or “yep”.
– If possible, summarize her comments if given a chance so you can better understand.
– Focus on fully taking in the message that she is trying to get across.
And when it comes to communication, it’s important to share your own feelings as well. I know, we’re guys and we don’t share feelings. I’ve always found it difficult.
But if you’re honest with how you’re feeling and what you’re thinking, it’ll make the relationship easier on her part. There’s no second-guessing. She’ll know exactly where you stand.
When you think about it from her perspective, if she can totally trust you, it removes a large potential worry. It builds internal security within her which is crucial for her happiness.
Psychologist Barton Goldsmith Ph.D. explains why honesty is so important in a relationship:
“What honesty gives you is a great deal of comfort. Knowing you can implicitly trust your mate allows you to be your best self, and your relationship will continue to thrive because you are able to give each other the positive energy you need to navigate life’s ups and downs.”
7. Don’t be too needy or clingy
I can’t tell you the number of guys I’ve seen throughout my life that are way too needy with their girlfriend.
It’s as if the girl becomes the only thing they focus on in their life.
They lose their passions, stop going out with their friends and focus solely on their “love” for their girlfriend.
It sounds a little extreme, but it definitely happens.
But it doesn’t work for 2 reasons.
Firstly, they eventually become completely unattractive to the woman because they haven’t got a life of their own. No career. No prospects. No hobbies. Women don’t find that attractive at all.
And secondly, the girl has all the power in the relationship because they’ve literally dropped everything for her. Anything she says goes.
But what happens?
She’ll eventually become bored and unattracted to the man. A powerless man is an unattractive man.
It’s really important for both people in the relationship to have a life of their own.
So make sure you have your own goals, hobbies, and friends. You’ll be much happier and so will she.
8. Have fun
When you’re getting deeper into a relationship, it’s easy to forget to have fun.
The more you mesh your lives together, the more time you seem to spend on chores and just generally mooching about, rather than on exciting dates and adventures.
This happens to all of us. It’s the inevitable consequence of a developing relationship.
Being able to do boring stuff together as well as partying all night and swinging from the chandeliers is just part of creating a strong, long-term bond.
But that doesn’t mean that the fun’s over.
It’s vital that you don’t allow your relationship to end up being just about sensible nights in and saving for the future.
This isn’t an either/or kind of choice at all.
You know that famous breakup phrase “I love you but I’m not in love with you”?
What that often really means is “we don’t do fun stuff together anymore”.
Having fun together is part of the fabric of a relationship. It is a big part of what binds you together.
In the beginning, fun was what it was all about. Now, it can’t be everything. But you can make sure it’s still a pretty big feature.
The way you do this? It’s boring, but schedule in some fun time.
If it’s not happening naturally, then you need to take action to make sure it starts happening.
Maybe a regular Saturday night date, or a Sunday movie, or just a hot night in once in a while.
Whatever works for you.
For me, I usually meet my girlfriend after work on a Friday and we go out drinking and having fun.
Sometimes friends join us, sometimes they don’t. But we let loose for a while and enjoy some cocktails, music, and dancing.
We might have a hangover the next day, but at least we had fun.
9. Be spontaneous every now and then
Relationships can start to get predictable. Some level of predictability is good. But at some point, you need to be surprised.
Surprising her doesn’t have to be about grand gestures such as booking an expensive weekend in Paris (though if you have the budget for that, why not?).
It can be about tiny, simple surprises designed to brighten up the day.
These surprises are important because they help move your relationship away from the mundane.
They take you back to those early days of dating when everything was surprising and new.
Simple, everyday ways to surprise include buying a little gift that you think she’ll love, filling the fridge with his favorite foods and tipples one weekend, or getting dressed up and cooking a fabulous dinner when she thought you were having a takeout night.
If you can stretch to a night away (even if it’s not Paris), that will generally go down pretty well with most people.
If you can’t find the cash or time, what about a surprise day out somewhere?
Tell her to get in the car, and you drive to the beach.
10. Make plans for the future
Without plans, relationships stagnate. If you have no plans, you have no destination. And without a destination, your journey quickly becomes stale.
Trust me when I say, a woman needs some sort of an assurance for the future. If not, she’ll feel insecure and that could lead to problems in the future.
If you’re at the beginning of the relationship, this might not pertain to you as much.
That’s fine, when you’re at the start of your relationship, you want to live in the moment and spend your time getting excited about the next Saturday night date.
But as time goes on, it’s important to have some longer-term goals.
Your goal might just be to plan a holiday or it might mean marriage and kids. The goals will shift as your relationship develops.
The important thing is to make sure that they shift at a similar rate and in a similar direction for both of you.
This is where being honest about goals and the future is important.
You don’t want to put off talks like this to only disappoint her in the future. This especially true if you’re in your 30s.
Making plans together is a way of making sure that your long-term relationship is moving in the right direction for you both.
If you’re talking about holidays and she’s talking about babies, then it’s time to have an honest discussion.
Don’t wait until you’re worried and stressed. If you’re not on the same page, you need to deal with it sooner rather than later.
11. Respect differences
People say that opposites attract. And it’s true that, most of the time, there are a few fundamental differences between partners.
That’s good and healthy – few of us would want to date someone who was simply another version of ourselves.
If we did, where would the excitement be?
So, having differences is a good thing, at least up to a point. Sometimes, those differences that seemed so attractive early on can become annoyances when we get to know each other better.
Trust me, it happens in any relationship, especially when you start living together.
There are things that initially little things that annoyed me about my partner when we started living together, but I either learned to accept them, or let her know so she can change.
It’s also easy for negative thoughts to build up without us really noticing it happening.
That habit he has of being moody if he’s had a bad day at work, for example.
That might have seemed like a cute character quirk early on, but now, it’s starting to grate, and you can’t be bothered to shower her with attention every time.
You stop bothering and then she gets worried as she’s noticed the drop in affection.
How do you get past your differences? The most important thing is to recognize them for what they are.
The fact you have differences doesn’t mean you’re not compatible, it means you’re human.
Try and spend time appreciating the positive sides of any personality traits that you consider negative.
For example, if you get irritated by her taking forever to do simple household tasks, remember that the flipside is probably that she’s methodical and detail-oriented.
Look at yourself. Are there things she gets annoyed at that you do?
Think about what the positive and negative sides of your own personality traits are.
Remind yourself that differences can be positive and negative things are rarely entirely negative.
When you’ve learned to acknowledge your differences and understand them, you’ll have learned to respect them.
If there’s something she does that really irritates you, bring it up, but do it gently. Separate the thing she does that annoys you from her.
Tell her that you’ve noticed her doing the thing that you don’t like, and see what she says. Keep your language neutral and free of accusations.
For example, say ‘I’ve noticed you keep leaving the bathroom window open’. Don’t say ‘why do you insist on leaving the bathroom window open?’.
12. How to make your girlfriend happy after a fight
Now if you’ve done or said something that she’s hurt about, it’s important to apologize and take responsibility.
Now, of course, the problem sometimes is that you’ve done something wrong that you don’t know about.
More often than not it might be something they’re upset about that you consider small and inconsequential.
For example, once I didn’t respond to a text that didn’t need responding (which I’ve done a million times before) yet when I saw my girlfriend she was furious about it.
I never could have predicted that.
But if you’re desperate to lift the mood of the place after a fight (which I’m assuming you are as you’ve googled something to do with how to make your girlfriend happy) then, the most effective way is to just apologize.
So to apologize correctly, here are the 4 Rs of a successful apology.
In order to initiate a proper apology that’ll make her feel better, you need to first regret what you did.
Even if you don’t, at least verbalize it. I regret saying “whatever you said that was wrong in her eyes”.
You also need to understand why she’s hurt.
2. Taking responsibility
This means owning what you did. Don’t try to make excuses. Just own it.
Listen to what she says she’s feeling. Get her to verbalize it. Then repeat it back to her. I understand that you’re feeling in “her words”.
If you want to make amends, then you need to take action. This means addressing the issue that she’s upset about.
So for example, I forgot to get my girlfriend a present for Valentine’s day one year. She was understandably upset. I don’t blame her.
So I gave a genuine and heartfelt apology that included the 4 Rs. The result? Everything was fine within 30 minutes.
It really can make a big difference.
My apology went something like this:
“I’m so sorry for forgetting to get you a Valentine’s gift. I understand that Valentine’s Day is a big day for you and you deserve a present from your boyfriend. It’s totally my fault. I’ve been so busy lately with work that I’m going to take more time off to spend with you in the future.”
You can see that this apology took responsibility, understood why she was hurt and offered a solution at the end.
To make your girlfriend happy:
1. If you’ve done something wrong, a genuine apology is a must.
2. Be thankful on the regular, even for small things.
3. Every time you see her, give her a warm hug and farewell.
4. Take 10 minutes every day to talk about anything under the sun – except kids, works, and household tasks or responsibilities.
5. Whatever your girlfriend is trying to accomplish in her life, cheer her on. Be her number one supporter.
6. Focus on your communication and listen to understand.
7. Don’t be too needy or clingy. Have your own life as well.
8. Continue to make time for fun in the relationship. Enjoy life together.
9. Be spontaneous every now and then and surprise her with something special.
10. Make plans for the future.
11. Respect your differences. It’s human nature to get annoyed at small things.