Know a woman who always seems to be in perfect sync with the guy she is dating — they laugh at each other’s jokes, are considerate of one another’s feelings, and are devotedly in love (and best friends to boot)? Well, the reason this gal’s so lucky in love is pretty simple: It’s because she treats her guy right, and he can’t get enough of her company. Now, when I say she “treats her guy right,” what do I mean? She treats him like a friend, giving him the same five-star support, understanding, and (yes) slack we automatically extend to our girlfriends. If you want to reap the same benefits in your own love life, try some of these tips, and, trust me, you’ll notice a difference.
1. Share an activity
For women, it’s second nature to invite their girlfriends along for a shopping spree, yoga class, spa day, you name it. But activity-based bonding shouldn’t be relegated to females only. Guys love jawing over a shared pursuit, and while he might not be up for a mani/pedi (nor you for a day spent watching basketball), there are plenty of other options. Becoming gym buddies is a no-brainer (and can serve as that extra kick-in-the-butt you need to go more often!), or if you two usually dine out on a Saturday night, consider delving into a cook book and taking a crack at a recipe that’s a bit of a challenge, like duck terrine with glazed shallots. Whether it turns out terrific or so odd that you end up ordering takeout, the fact that you’ve worked toward a common goal together builds team spirit. And by investing in a history of shared experiences with your partner in crime, you’ll increase the things you have in common and experience a deeper bond.
2. Cheer him on
Women take great pains to make their girlfriends feel great about themselves, showering them with ego-boosters like, “You look amazing; that is the best color on you” or “Of course, you should email that guy — he’d be lucky to have you!” And while we might think the world of the men we date and even brag about them to our friends and family members, telling him these things doesn’t always occur to us. Maybe it’s because we assume guys possess impenetrable egos — but the truth is, they can be just as insecure as your female friends and would probably appreciate a compliment now and then. So, if he just got a promotion at work, toast him at dinner and tell him exactly why he deserved it. Or try a simple off-the-cuff statement, such as: “You look so good in that shirt — it really brings out the color in your eyes.” Don’t be surprised if he suddenly seems to be around a whole lot more often, basking in your presence.
3. Let him be himself
Most women find it hard to love guys just the way they are. We want to change their hair, their clothes, their job, and sometimes even their friends to fit our ideal. With our own pals, we’re more accepting of their differences; we can actually be proud to have a technology nerd, yoga snob or fashion slave as part of our collection of confidantes. Ruthanna Hall, a sales associate in New York, has learned to relax and appreciate distinctly male behaviors (with great results) in her own relationship. “When we go out, I might feel more like a cool lounge uptown, but then all he’ll want is a round of darts at the neighborhood dive,” she explains. Rather than sulk all evening about his lack of class, she’ll focus in on the funny conversation they’re having. “Sure, most guys do things that cause girls to go ‘uggghhh!’ But that’s just the way they are,” she says. “Why not get on with it and have fun?”
4. Tell him what you think
We don’t expect our best friends to always know what we’re thinking. In fact, we actually enjoy swapping our thoughts, hopes, and fears — that’s most of the fun! But why, then, are we so disappointed when our boyfriends don’t exhibit mind-reading tendencies 24/7? We’ve all been guilty of harboring romantic notions like, “If he’s been listening to me, he’ll know exactly where to take me for dinner on Valentine’s Day” or “If he were truly paying attention right now, he’d know I’m freaking out about this virus on my computer and offer to come over and help.” But trust me, you’ll save yourself a lot of disappointment by just telling him where you want to dine out on Valentine’s Day, or by asking him to come over with his anti-virus software. After all, it’s common knowledge that two heads are better than one, so just because you’ve decided he’s The One, don’t go mum and add major guesswork to your communications.
5. Give him his space
Sometimes, girlfriends just go MIA for awhile. They get so busy at work that they don’t return your emails. Do we give them flack for it? Nothing serious. But for some reason, the rules change for guys: We rail on them for not promptly returning phone calls, take offense if they want a guy’s night out. But remember, achieving a balance between “me” time and “we” time will make the time you do spend together even better. Bridget Cunningham found her relationship got so much mellower once she stopped stressing about where her boyfriend was every hour. “I don’t hold it against him when he wants to have his own time,” she says. “You don’t cut your friends off when they do things with other people, so why shouldn’t it be the same with the person you love? Meanwhile I’m free to go running off with my girlfriend and blab about girl stuff. We meet afterwards for coffee, and we’re both feeling refreshed and fulfilled by spending time apart…and that much happier to be spending time together again.”
Jerusha Stewart, a.k.a. The Last Single Girl in the World, reveals how to be singularly sensational in her book, The Single Girl’s Manifesta.