It's not fool-proof; I'm sure some things won't fit with every guy or every girl. Still, I think it fits most situations and most girls pretty well. Let me know what you think, and thanks to any guy who's been awesome enough to help inspire my list! :)
1. We appreciate small gestures.
It might seem like all girls want five dozen roses or a diamond ring- and some girls do- but little gestures mean a lot, especially when for no reason at all. A single rose or a plastic ring you got from a machine for 25 cents may not seem like much, but it lets her know you’re thinking of her, and it’ll make her smile. Notes, especially, might not seem like much- but to a lot of girls, a random Post-It or text message is all it takes to feel special and loved. (Note: a 25-cent ring or similar gift may not be quite so appreciated on a special occasion.)
2. That said, a big gesture every once in awhile will also be appreciated.
Especially for a very important occasion, don’t be afraid to go a little over-the-top. You’ll want to make sure that it’s something the girl is okay with- if she’s easily embarrassed, she might not enjoy a personal serenade by you and five of your closest friends in the middle of downtown. A big gesture, especially one on which you’ve spent a lot of time, effort, or money, says that she’s worth it. (Note: I said a lot of time or effort, not just a lot of money—not all big gestures are expensive!) Sometimes you can use a talent or skill you already have, but personalize it!
3. Personal gifts mean the most.
Contrary to what some lists on Facebook will tell you, not every girl wants the same thing. While some girls would love you to buy them a box of chocolates and a teddy bear, not every girl would. Guys should find out what their girl likes- and if it’s one of the “classic” romantic gestures, fine. The important thing is that you’re getting her roses because they’re her favorite flower and you know she loves them, and not because she’s a girl and ‘girls like flowers.’ Giving a really good gift is hard, but it’s a great opportunity to show a girl that you know her and care about the things she likes and talks about.
4. We’re not all the same.
Try not to be sexist. Sometimes it’s not even intentional, but try not to assume things. Offer to take us fishing sometime; invite us to watch football with you. Yes, some of us are girly girls, and do things like stress over breaking a nail, obsess over Mr. Darcy, or not leave the house before our makeup is done. But there are girls all over the spectrum, and expecting us to be girly all the time is like us expecting you to be manly and macho all the time. Do you really want that?
5. Our friends mean a lot to us.
There may very well be times that friends come first, even above you. This isn’t because you’re not important; it’s just that sometimes it’s even more important to be there for a good friend. This also means that you should be civil, at least, to our friends. You may not get along with them well, but that’s not always a deal-breaker. If you are consistently rude or mean to a girl’s friends, though, it really doesn’t look good. She likes those friends for a reason, and she might just decide that anyone who can’t at least try to like her friends isn’t someone she should try to like. Plus, getting to know her friends can be helpful when you need a gift idea or some help to pull off a surprise.
6. Chick flicks are not always that bad.
Seriously—not all chick flicks are the same, and they’re not all terrible movies. If your girl really likes them, give them a chance. If you can’t stand chick flicks, even after watching a few, try to compromise! There are lots of movies that have a love plot as well as another one- such as comedy or action- that might hold the attention of both you and your lady. And if you do get stuck watching a chick flick and you hate them… my only advice is to try choosing one with a leading lady you find attractive!
7. Whether it’s a book, a ballet, a musical, a television show, a certain music artist, sports team, whatever- please show at least a mild interest.
You don’t have to like everything we like, but we love it if you take the time to find something out about an interest of ours. Be willing to try it- don’t knock a television show that your ladyfriend loves if you’ve never even watched it once. Even if you don’t like it, learning the basics about something a girl is interested in shows her that you actually care about the things she likes and talks about. As an extra bonus, learning about her interests may give you something to talk about with her if you’re struggling for conversation, and may give you insight on something that would be a great gift later!
8. Respect us.
I could list a million examples, but the important thing is this: treat us as an equal. We are not dumb; we are not incapable; we are not objects. On the other side, we are not better than you; we don’t deserve anything just for being a girl; we don’t need to be worshipped. We want you to do nice things for us because you want to make us happy, and not because you think we need or deserve your help or courtesy.
9. If something is upsetting you, tell us.
You don’t have to tell us what’s wrong, or talk to us about it, if you don’t want to. But it helps if you tell us at least that school’s stressing you out, a friend’s making you mad, or even just that you’ve got a lot on your mind. Especially once we know you well, it’s very possible that we’ll notice something’s wrong whether you tell us or not, and if you don’t tell us, it’s easy to assume that we might be part of what’s bothering you. Besides, we may be able to try to cheer you up, or try to help the situation if you tell us about it.
10. Don’t be afraid to compliment respectfully.
I think some guys get a little afraid of compliments being taken as “objectifying.” This kind of thing differs from girl to girl, I’m sure, but I know very few girls who don’t like to be complimented. The most important thing is that the compliments be genuine and respectful. Respectful may depend on the situation; ‘sexy’ might be more appropriate if she’s wearing lingerie and kind of going for that. Terminology can also help determine how respectful something is; obviously, ‘breasts’ sounds a little more respectful than ‘tits.’ Also, while any compliment is nice, sometimes specific compliments are especially great. “Your eyes look so beautiful when you wear that shirt” may sound more genuine than a vague “You’re pretty,” and helps add some variety!
11. Be proud of us.
You don’t have to show her off, take her everywhere, or talk about her constantly, but you should never act ashamed of a girl you like or date. Be willing to be seen in public with her, tell your friends you’re dating her... that sort of thing. If you’re not proud to be dating her, you either shouldn’t be dating her, or you care too much about what others think!
12. If you say you’ll do something, do it.
There are some valid excuses, of course, but really… it’s easiest to just not promise things you’re not sure you can do. It’s just plain disappointing, otherwise. If you consistently fail to follow through, girls (and, really, people in general) won’t be able to see you as dependable… and that’s definitely a great trait for a significant other to have. We’d rather you say “I might call you after work tonight, if it’s not too late” so that our expectations are at least realistic!
13. Listen to us- and talk, too!
Some people talk more; some people talk less. But, usually, when people talk, they want to be listened to. Listen to what we have to say, and then respond. Ask questions, state your opinion, offer advice; basically, engage in the conversation. Sure, listening can be informative and make her feel valued, too, but good communication is also just plain vital to a great friendship and relationship.
14. Be polite.
The definition of polite varies from girl to girl; I, for one, burp loudly and often, and wouldn’t at all mind a guy who did the same thing… other girls wouldn’t be able to stand it. Still- there are some basics. “Please” and “thank you,” for instance, are great. Most girls will be impressed by you opening a door for them or offering to pay for them, but not all—it’s best, I think, to get to know the girl you like. If she curses like a sailor, it’s probably okay for you to. If you’re not sure, ask her! If in doubt, be more ‘gentlemanly’ than you think is necessary. Extra politeness around family and friends can help make a good impression, too!
15. Treat us as a priority.
Every person’s priorities are different, and every girl probably has a different opinion of how high she needs to be on someone’s list of priorities. Family, close friends, academics, a sport—anything very, very important to a guy may top his girlfriend without much squabbling, depending on the girl. But, no matter what, we need to feel important too! Make an effort to make time to see us; be sure to talk to us; ask us about our lives, too. And… if you choose us over something else important once in awhile- it makes us feel really special!
16. Don’t get stupidly jealous.
You’re allowed to be a little jealous. It’s perfectly okay, and even a little sweet, to get slightly protective of your ladyfriend, but there’s definitely such a thing as overprotective. If you don’t have a reason to doubt us, don’t look for them! Many girls have guy friends, and it doesn’t mean that we like them as anything more than friends. Unless there is some blatant reason you shouldn’t, trust her!
17. Be honest.
If we find out you’ve lied, we’re going to wonder why- and, essentially, what you were trying to hide. It just doesn’t end well. A fib here and there- especially when it comes to our insecurities- is okay; optimism that’s a little unrealistic when we’re really upset might be okay, too. Most of the time, though, lies are just a bad idea. Honesty really is the best policy- especially if you want it in return!
18. Don’t assume it’s PMS.
There are plenty of reasons why a woman might be upset. Sometimes, PMS is one of them- but this is only true, at most, a fourth of the time. Even then, not all women get cranky during that time of the month. If you suggest to a woman that it’s just PMS, you’re minimizing our concerns (and probably making us angry). You should at least hear us out and consider what’s bothering us whenever we’re upset. It doesn’t mean we’re always right or that our concerns are always valid, but we do deserve the respect of you at least listening before you pass judgment.
19. If you’re wrong, admit it. If you hurt us, apologize.
I don’t mean to buy us things, though a lot of girls wouldn’t object to a gift; I just mean that you shouldn’t be stubborn if you somehow screwed up. A sincere, heartfelt apology does a lot to make things better and shows that you respect us. If you feel bad about something, even something little, it’s worth mentioning that you’re sorry. Willingness to admit mistakes is admirable and humble.
20. Don’t pressure us!
If you really care about and respect a girl, you won’t push her to do anything she doesn’t want to do. This definitely applies physically/sexually, but in other ways as well. The great thing about a relationship is that two individuals have a connection- but it’s important that you still remain individuals! Offering advice about what is best for a girl is okay, but she should remain true to herself, her values, and her morals (just as you should). If you like the girl already, as she is, why ask her to change?
Well, there’s my two cents. I realize, of course, that no list can apply in every situation, for every girl… but I tried!