Hey Finessing Fam! In this blog post I’ll go in depth on how to be a good girlfriend/partner. We often times live in a world of “me” and “I”. I believe this leads to a lot of broken hearts and misunderstanding. I would never advocate for loss of self or self-appreciation! Quite the opposite – I applaud that! However, there’s a difference between self-love and selfishness. If you’re looking to be a good girlfriend to your partner, I hope these tips help you achieve that. Notice I didn’t say “good girlfriend for your partner”. It’s important that we take this journey to not only improve the relationship but ourselves too! You’re doing this to strengthen a bond you appreciate, not only for your partner!
I had a relationship that broke me on every level imaginable. I didn’t see myself rising above that – ever! My state of mind during the relationship was bordering on insanity because I let go of some very important principles. These are the same principles and applications I’ll be talking about in this post. Each one is crucial in creating a healthy and sturdy foundation for both of your futures! I don’t mean to say you should do each one every day. No one has time for that! What I do advocate for is that you practice these as often as you can while also taking care of your needs.
I’m no expert! I am not a psychologist or therapist or marriage counselor. These are tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way. A lot of these I’ve also gotten from couples that have flourished in their relationship! I hope you enjoy the read and feel free to comment or ask any questions in the “comment” section below! Happy Reading Fam!
1. First things first – Love Yourself!
Loving yourself is the key component to a successful relationship. When you love yourself, everything else seems more magical and significant. The reason why this is the very first tip is because it’s essential to your state of mind. If you don’t love yourself first, you’ll have a weak foundation on which to build a long-lasting relationship. There are those that have never loved themselves but still have a long-term relationship. What quality of life do they offer themselves, however? How often are they appreciated for always worrying about others except themselves? Take this into consideration when thinking about this first tip.
Journey to self-love
Loving yourself can take many forms and often times it’s as simple as meditating or writing. I use my mini binder for everything! It’s nothing fancy but serves every purpose! I encourage you to journal and write down every day at least one thing you love about yourself. The journey to self-love can be a long one – so help yourself along the way by showing appreciation for what you’ve accomplished!
Summary: The journey to self-love can be an emotional one but every milestone is beautiful. Self-love is a great foundation for a healthy and stable relationship.
2. Understanding Unconditional/Conditional Love
The unconditional love that’s talked about in movies seems like something we should all strive for. But, could this backfire in an unhealthy relationship? The answer is yes! I’m all for loving your partner and accepting their weaknesses while forgiving their faults. However, if their actions are hurting you mentally or physically, gripping on to “unconditional” love can lead you down a path of unhappiness. So, being a good girlfriend consists of you determining for yourself whether you can live with the imperfections of your partner – because we all have them! Love fully and with good intentions 😊
Summary: Conditional love isn’t “bad”. It just means that your health and well being are more important than staying with someone that is detrimental to your physical or mental health.
3. Give and Require Respect
So often we see couples being disrespectful to one another. This could very well be how their relationship is handled. And, if that works for them – okay! But I’ve found that mutual disrespect can be a slippery slope and feelings will get hurt. This could be talked about between both parties and is something you should set up with your partner. Being a good girlfriend consists of you respecting your partner.
No matter what type of relationship you have, respect is essential. Being respectful can be hard at times when you’re going through a heated argument. But a word spoken can never be taken back! This is why practicing respect can grow to be almost second nature for you. You can show respect for your partner by refraining from using curse words against them when you’re upset. Whether they show this or not, cursing or being harmful with your words can hurt. And, if they reciprocate your language, it can hurt you as well.
This is a real story I’ll use about one of my sisters and her partner. Take what you will from this story. It doesn’t mean this will happen to you – but this is an example of what lack of respect can do to a relationship:
My sister and her partner got together at a young age. After the first couple of months of the “honeymoon” phase, they began to be nasty to one another. Both in person and over the phone they would curse at each other and call each other foul names. My mom tried to warn her what it can do to their relationship (my mother also experienced this with my father). My sister did not listen – the disrespect continued.
The result? When my sister met her partner, she was svelte and did not rise above 115lbs. When they had their first kid, she gained weight that she didn’t lose. Her partner began to disrespect her according to her weight. Why not? They were so used to it from the beginning – it was normal. This would really crush her and through the years it led to a painful relationship for both of them.
Summary: Respect is a two-way street. Give it with love and your relationship will strengthen with time. You can have love and fun – but building a strong foundation is important first!
4. Show Appreciation!
Have you ever given a gift or done something with love and received a “meh” response? These moments often hurt and aren’t necessarily tied to a relationship. They can happen with anyone. Point blank – they suck! So, when your partner does something out of kindness – no matter how small – show appreciation! It’s so important to reward that kind of behavior and gives them incentive to do the same or better in the future! Showing appreciation may mean biting back your words about the action done.
I often make the bed for my partner and I since his schedule doesn’t always allow. When I came to the room and noticed the bed was made – I was so happy! Looking closely, I noticed the blanket was inside out (you can’t really tell because our blanket is a monotoned quilt). My partner was home and I was about to go tell him he did it wrong when I stopped myself. Sure, correcting him would have been fine for the both of us. But, for that moment I just wanted to show him my appreciation. I thanked him and we moved on with our day.
When I made the bed again another day and he saw how I did it – the next time he made the bed – the blanket was right-side up! Two birds with one stone without me having to say anything to correct his bed-making!
Summary: Show appreciation when it’s due and remember to be kind when your partner does something for you – no matter how small! Showing appreciation for the small things can lead to huge rewards for both of you!
5. Be Supportive
Being supportive is a test of our patience and goodwill. How much support you’re willing to show depends on you entirely! This is an important factor of being a good girlfriend and shows your partner that you’re on their team.
Ways to Show Support
You can show support by lending a shoulder for your partner whenever they’re going through a tough time. We all have bad days and being a supportive girlfriend can completely change your partner’s day for the better. Showing support also consists of rooting for them regardless if others are or showing up to any of their events to cheer them on.
An important show of support is believing in your partner. When they want to try a new hobby or go after a new endeavor, giving that “yay” can mean the world to them. It could push them to do something they might not have otherwise! Yes, your partner might try that hobby or go after the endeavor without your support. But it would mean that much more if you were rooting for them the entire way!
Summary: Show support for your partner’s new endeavors. Giving support is a significant step to showing them you’re on their team!
6. Listen Listen Listen!
Listening to your partner is another way of showing respect. During an argument, listening to what they say might go out the window! But, keep in mind that communication is important. And more often than not, just listening to the other person can make a huge difference in the direction of the argument.
Listening is different to “hearing”. When you “hear” what the other person is saying just so you can respond – you aren’t practicing the art of listening! In this case, you’d be plotting. Listening takes effort and I have a hard time doing it even though I’ve been practicing if for a couple of years. If you’re interested in learning why this is such an important way to mend or deter arguments, I highly recommend reading How to Win Friends and Influence People authored by Dale Carnegie. He goes into detail on how to have the most productive and healthy conversations with others.
Summary: Listen, don’t “hear”! Soak in what your partner is saying and try to understand where they’re coming from. In a casual conversation, let your partner speak and do your best not to interrupt.
7. Give Small…or Big?!
This tip goes a bit hand-in-hand with showing appreciation. Showering your partner with gifts is not something I recommend! But I do recommend showing them appreciation with small gifts or creations of yours. This shows them that you’re thinking about them without them having to be present. If you’re going to the store to pick up some food and remember that your partner loves chocolate or a certain kind of candy – pick some up for them! Little things like these will warm their heart and let them know you’re thinking about them even when they aren’t there.
And, who said these gifts only have to be for them?! Heck, have you smelled the cologne Bleu de Chanel? Give him something like this and you’ll be swooning! It’s a bit on the pricier side but it smells wonderful! Two birds with one stone – he gets a gift and you get a good-smelling man on date night!
Summary: Big or small, gifts show your partner that you’re thinking about them. These gifts don’t have to break the bank! They can be as small as a candy bar or as big as a cologne purchase. What matters is the act and they’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness!
8. Plan Surprises!
A lot like giving gifts, planning surprises are a thoughtful way of adding some sparkle to your relationship. Who plans the dates? If it’s your partner most of the time – it would be a breath of fresh air if you took both of you on a spontaneous date! A lot like Mean Girls’ spontaneity, “Get in loser!”.
If you’re looking for some cheap date ideas – check out my blog post on 14 Cheap Date Ideas.
Maybe invite your partner over for some fresh baked *insert favorite* cookies (mine: chocolate-chip cookies). Or maybe you want to go exploring! Have fun with it!
Maybe give him a massage and light some relaxing candles! If it’s massage time – you won’t regret using the Jawku Massager! This thing works miracles and this isn’t the first time I’ve raved about it! It is THE BEST massage tool I’ve ever encountered.
What ever you choose to do, your partner will appreciate you surprising him with a fun day ahead!
Summary: Surprise your partner by planning a fun date. Little surprises like these help keep the relationship young and fresh for the both of you!
9. Keep Communication
Listening allows for ease of communication. Keeping that communication, however, is a whole other beast that needs to be conquered. We live in a time where text messages are a main source of contact between us and our loved ones (we don’t even like phone calls anymore!). Text messages can be construed the wrong way and wound the actual point you or your partner are trying to make.
Because of this, I recommend saving important conversations for an in-person meet up or date. This isn’t always ideal if you’re in a long-distance relationship so try to video chat!
Why is communicating important?
In business, in friendships and surely in relationships – communicating your needs or wants is essential to an effective flow of productivity. Being a good girlfriend consists of you understanding that lack of communicating can lead to a distancing between you and your partner. This is why it’s essential for a successful relationship. There will be times where your partner might not be able to communicate as often as you might like – so make sure you keep the line of communication open. This doesn’t mean send 10 text messages when they aren’t responding but rather let them know you’ll be there to talk when they’re ready. This is how you can effectively keep the line of communication open.
Emotions sometimes get the best of us but listening and then voicing your part will eventually lead to an understanding.
What do I communicate?
Sweeping things under the rug NEVER works. Keep sweeping and you’ll end up with an overflowing pile of disappointments, anger and frustrations. If something is bothering you – it’s best to let your partner know. It wouldn’t be fair to them if you’re holding on to pain without letting them know what’s going on, especially if it’s something they caused. There are things we’re embarrassed about or don’t want to address – and that’s okay! But just understand that if you make it a habit of letting things accumulate, the result will not be pretty.
How do I communicate?
If your partner is doing something that’s bothering you – try this: First, determine if what they’re doing is detrimental to your physical or mental health. If it is – you need to address this as soon as possible. If it’s something that’s bothering you but isn’t necessarily affecting you physically or mentally then decide if it’s something that can wait for your next meet up. If it’s something that cannot wait because it’s so important, try to talk this through over the phone because texting can lead to misunderstandings! If it’s important but can wait, ask your partner to set some time aside for a talk.
Due to the stigma of it, try to avoid sending the text of doom, “We need to talk”. But rather, sending a message with more context would help the situation, “Hey *name* or *name of endearment like honey or boo*, I was wondering if you had any free time today or sometime this week to talk *over the phone or in person* about something that’s been on my mind. I can’t wait to see you *or hear from you*! Thanks babe! *Kisses or something*.
This let’s them know you want to talk about something of significance while also telling them it isn’t a break up!
Summary: Keep the line of communication open by letting your partner know you’ll listen when you’re both ready. Save important conversations for in-person talk through.
10. Don’t be too Clingy/Needy!
This is a huge no-no for a healthy relationship. We all get it, almost nothing beats spending time with your boo. However, if you’re bordering on spending almost 24/7 with them, it can be a negative thing for your relationship. Sure, there are exceptions. But in general, you and your partner should have time away from each other. I’m sure you both have your hobbies and errands. Being clingy, however, is not something that shows confidence in yourself.
Being Clingy/Needy means…?
To be clingy or needy is to constantly want your partner’s attention and/or time. It means not allowing them to grow on their own and being upset when they go out or do something without you. Clinginess can take many forms and it only leads to the other person feeling like they’re being suffocated. It might not happen the first couple of months or the first year but with time it can progress to a dysfunctional relationship.
Summary: Don’t be clingy and instead give your partner time and space for him to grow.
11. Ask about Improvement
This is a conversation that needs to occur in person and in good will. We can all improve on something and be better versions of ourselves! Ask your partner if there’s anything that needs improvement. For this tip – I’m not saying they should ask you to “look better”. Not at all! This tip should be something that targets an area of weakness that could use improvement. This is a good point on how to be a good girlfriend because you’re opening a conversation that not a lot of people want to have. It’s an important discussion because you’re letting your partner know that you know you have faults and you can acknowledge them in a mature manner.
What this should not become
This sort of communication should not be either of you picking on each other’s insecurities or commenting on physical attributes of one another. This will cause the other person to shut down any further discussion on improvement. It’s not productive. It’s not helpful.
What this should be
This discussion should include your partner being honest and genuine with you. At this point, you two must have some level of comfort with each other. The right direction for this conversation could start off with how you can both be more considerate of one another such as,” I think you could work on not interrupting me as much when I’m talking”. That example is a good start to this conversation.
Summary: Ask your partner to advise you on what you can improve on. We often don’t notice our faults and it’s a good thing to sometimes have someone else alert us to them.
12. Be Open-Minded
Asking for improvement might not garner the response you wanted or were expecting. This is why it’s important for you to keep an open mind when approaching conversations like these. Your partner has to feel comfortable opening up to you and being honest with you. Sometimes, your feelings might get hurt but if they’re being transparent, it’s important that you keep an open mind. Sure, if your partner is going about this in a hurtful then that should be addressed. If they’re being as respectful as they can when addressing any needed improvements, you should also make an effort to remain respectful and mature through their response.
In every other conversation, it’s still important to keep an open mind so your partner knows they can talk to you about anything! This openness and maturity allows for a fruitful relationship built on trust and communication. It’s hard to keep a straight face when your partner is talking about a problem or issue sometimes – but you can pull through! Part of how to be a good girlfriend consists of keeping an open mind.
Summary: Keep an open mind at all times. This will tell your partner they can come to you about anything!
13. Be Considerate of Their Needs as Well as Your Own
Needs. We all have them. And, they vary in many ways whether it be physical or mental. For this tip, I talk more about the mental needs of you and your partner. After being in a relationship for a substantial amount of time, you begin to gather what your partner’s needs are in terms of emotional and mental stimulation. What I mean is, some people are more emotional than others. Some people need more love than others might need.
This tip consists of you determining for yourself what your partner’s needs are. Do they come from a troubled background? If this is the case, they might take longer to completely open up to you. Or, they might have quirks that you’ve never experienced with someone else. Being a good girlfriend also consists of you accepting this and showing more affection when it’s needed.
I do not mean to say your partner’s quirks should include negative traits such as possessiveness! This is a huge red flag and is not what I mean when I say you should accept these kinds of needs or quirks.
My partner comes from a troubled home. I won’t share his story since it’s something that’s very sensitive to him (maybe if he wants to share, he can do a post!). After some time of dating, he opened up about his upbringing. This explained so much at the time and allowed me to better understand his needs.
Summary: Be open and honest with one another! Learn to understand your partner’s need and be considerate of them.
14. Strive for More and Push them to be the Best They Can Be!
This is a two-parter! In order for the relationship to grow, you have to see your future with them! If this image is too much to handle or isn’t something you can see – determine what’s going on before you proceed! If you can’t see yourself with your partner, the last thing you should do is worry. It might just mean there are some underlying issues that haven’t been addressed.
By seeing your future with them, you are looking to strive for more than what you both might have right now. This includes future goals and current ambitions. To be a good girlfriend, having this ambition is important! This doesn’t mean you should jump from 0 to 100 in a matter of months, but rather look to the future for progression in your relationship. I think having this ambition in your relationship brings about positive emotions that can carry the both of you forward! Having career, hobby and personal ambition is also a great thing to have in a relationship! Don’t ever lose sight of this because it’s what makes you – you! Keeping your ambitions alive during a relationship allows for you to have other fountains of life, love and laughter outside of just your relationship. Depending on what you’re
Why It’s Important
Having ambitions outside of the relationship is important because you don’t want to lose your identity. There are hobbies or goals that you want to accomplish and they should never halt when you’re in a relationship. If anything, they should be enhanced! I also recommend reading Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. It’s an amazing book and if you add that to your ambition, it can push you to do great things!
Being in love is a beautiful feeling but it shouldn’t cloud the love you have for yourself or the things you need to get done. Believe it or not, it’s attractive when a significant other has other things to do other than spend time with their partner! It makes your time that much more valuable and special. If you find yourself in a situation where your partner is the only thing you’re looking forward to – it’ll lead to disappointments and an unhealthy relationship. So, have ambitions, goals and objectives and make magic happen!
Pushing your Partner to Achieve Their Goals and Ambitions
Part of being a good girlfriend is acknowledging your partner’s strengths. With this comes their ambitions and goals. It comes in the forms of career, physical, mental and other personal goals. There’ll be times when your partner might let their sights down and get into a slump. We all do! You can help them by pushing them and helping them get on their feet.
How to Push/Pull
Pushing and pulling sounds kinda negative – but it isn’t! You know your partner better than a lot of people, so you’ll know how best to push them to achieve their goals. For some it might look like a gentle reminder of what they hoped to accomplish. For others it can be a blunter way of putting things. Depending on your partner, you’ll have to determine the best course of action for this.
The best way to push them and pull them back on their feet is to remind them of their strong suits. And, address the issue that has them in a slump in the first place!
It’s best to talk about this when you’re both alone so you can avoid any discomfort from other people or your partner.
Summary: Seeing a future with your partner is important in an established relationship. Always strive to achieve your goals and ambitions. If your partner is in a slump, encourage them to get back up and go after their goals as well! By creating this positive dynamic in your relationship, your partner will more readily be able to get you out of your slumps too.
15. Learn and Grow from Hardships
Relationships are hard! They require work, attention and effort. Add this in with work, school or other obligations and things can sometimes get sticky. Just like day precedes night, happy times can precede arguments and fights. When this happens, rushed emotions can become difficult to sort. But, fret not! Fights are normal (not physical fights) and they’re bound to happen. Understand the normality of arguments, and you’re one step closer to resolving the issue. Yes, fighting is normal but if all your time is being spent arguing, this is not a good sign.
– as mentioned above, arguments will happen. Big and small. These help you grow closer because making up after an argument should consist of talking it out. You’ll know what pushes your partner’s buttons and vice versa. Grow from a fight instead of looking at it as something you should avoid. Avoiding arguments are as bad as sweeping things under the rug and could be worse! You can grow from these experiences by talking it over with your partner. You’ll both come out stronger!
2. The Hard Lucks
– these sorta things happen when someone loses a job or their home. These moments are frustrating and full of negative emotions. The person going through this will think of little else than their misfortunate for the time being. If this is something you’re going through with your partner, the relationship can get a bit rocky. Finances are a big part of why divorce rates are so high! If you could both come out of this strong and united, it will give you a boost in your bond and work to solidify your relationship.
– this is a tough one and no one knows how to respond to this. If you are your partner suffer the loss of a loved one, there’s no denying a tough uphill battle lies ahead for the both of you. If your partner goes through something like this during the tenure of your relationship, your call to action could be little to no action! Depending on your partner, go about this the best way possible. Some people don’t want to talk. But, don’t get offended by this – everyone’s different. As long as you let them know you’re there for them and maybe send them a care package! But, working through loss together will shine through in your relationship.
16. Be Honest (and when not to be)
Being honest can sometimes suck because you’ll come off as a rude jerk. But, in a relationship – honesty is honestly the best policy. If you build a foundation of honesty and trust, it’ll save you both a lot of heartache and uncertainty in the future. Lying only leads to more lies stacked on top of even more lies until one instance makes this come crashing down. Be honest with your partner about situations or events that you’d want them to come clean to you about. This tip is pretty simple but you’d be surprised at how many relationships come tumbling down due to lack of trust. Honesty builds trust!
When not to be
There are moments when little white lies can be used here and there. I’m not saying tarnish your integrity but sometimes your partner needs a little lie. An example can be when your partner asks you if they look bad in a shirt/suit/hat that you know they love. At this point, they’re looking more for your approval and less of an honest answer. For these situations, a small fib can go a long way!
Summary: Being honest builds trust and a sturdy foundation for your relationship.
17. Avoid Toxicity!
Being a good girlfriend and partner results in reducing and removing yourself from toxicity. If your relationship is going great and your partner is amazing to you – own it! Now, if there are friends of yours being toxic about the relationship, this is something you need to address. There can be many reasons for this and if you talk this through with them, you can figure out a solution so you can keep your friend and your partner happy. But, if there’s no reason for your friend acting the way they do or just plain being “mad” about you and your partner, what will you do?
This is a difficult question to answer. If you’ve known this friend longer than your partner, the decision is even harder. This goes both ways, however, and your partner should have the same discussion with their friends if one of them is being toxic to your relationship.
18. Try to have a Good Relationship with parents/friends
This is a tough one and doesn’t apply to everyone! Parents can be the worst or they can be the best (there’s hardly an in-betweener). For the sake of peace of mind, try to have a good relationship with your partner’s parents. If they are just outright rude with you, I’m not saying go the extra mile to still be nice. We have our limits! In cases like that, being mature is the best course of action. This way, you can say you’ve at least tried your best to have a cordial relationship with them. This goes for your partner’s friends too!
Summary: If possible, try to have a respectful/good relationship with your partner’s parents. If you can’t, being mature is the next best thing!
19. Put More Work in When Needed
50-50 split works out sometimes. But, for the most part – you may have to put in more work in the relationship than your partner can sometimes. If you live by the rule of “I’m only putting in what they’re putting in” then you probably have a partner that will think the same way. Again, if this works for you then great!
But, I’m a huge advocate of putting in as much as you can in a relationship. What if your partner goes through a difficult hurdle and they can’t put in as much effort into the relationship as they used to? In this case, I recommend giving more than the 50%. This shouldn’t be a permanent occurrence though. When they are reasonably back on their feet, they should continue to put effort into the relationship.
By building this progress in your relationship, the next time you aren’t able to put in 50%, your partner can repay the favor in kind and put more effort in. The 50-50 model hardly leads to effective relationships. But, the 0-100 model doesn’t either! You or your partner can’t be the only ones putting in effort. This is a cause for a future break up or heartache down the road.
Summary: Do your best not to live by the 50-50 model. Give more when you can and allow your partner to do the same when you can’t.
20. Have Your Limits
Much like the first tip, having your limits is best established through self-love. Be with someone that respects you and puts in effort. I’ve chosen “love lust” before over my own self-respect and it isn’t fun. It just leaves you feeling empty when the relationship ends. Having your limits is essential to your state of mind! Loving your partner is one thing but being in a harmful relationship is a huge detriment to your quality of life. Make sure you set out your limits and stick through them.
No one is worth you going through constant pain with little to no love – especially if you’ve taken the time to read through this entire thing on how to be a good girlfriend! If you would like to read a helpful book on this subject, I recommend, Boundaries. It’s a great book that’ll hopefully help you draw the line when you need to! They also have a Boundaries: Workbook that you can purchase separately for a more interactive read.
If you’d like to leave a comment or question below, I’ll get back to you as soon as possible! Thank you so much for reading and I would love to hear your feedback!