Healthy, happy relationships seem like they should happen naturally, but learning how to be a good girlfriend requires practice and a little heartfelt effort.
The truth is, many of us lack the most basic skills required for all types of healthy relationships and situations in life. This is especially true today when electronics have completely changed the way in which we communicate with one another.
While FaceTime, text messages, DMs and Snaps offer us endless new possibilities for connecting, they can also make life more complicated and increase the chances of misunderstandings and misinterpretations.
The good news is, many of the lessons from the past on how to be a good partner still hold true. That’s because healthy relationships are timeless.
What does a healthy relationship look like?
The key to being a good girlfriend is doing your part to maintain your healthy, happy relationship. That means valuing your partner’s well-being, autonomy, values and opinions. It also means valuing all of those things in yourself, and finding a way to maintain that balance together.
Dr. John Gottman, a relationship expert known for decades of research into what makes relationships work (and predicting which ones will fail) and the man who coined the concept of love languages, insists that there is a “magic ratio” that is foundational to healthy, successful relationships.
“That ‘magic ratio’ is 5 to 1,” Gottman explains. “This means that for every negative interaction during conflict, a stable and happy marriage has five (or more) positive interactions.”
In healthy relationships, each partner makes sure that this ratio is met by doing and saying kind things throughout each and every day, and most people who achieve this goal don’t even know the ratio exists. They simply enjoy being positive with the person they love, and avoid hurting their partner as much as possible.
Most importantly, a healthy relationship will not always be perfect or full of joy, but you should never feel as if it is dragging you down or affecting your self-esteem negatively.
With that in mind, here are a few ways to be a good girlfriend by doing your part to create a healthy, happy relationship where both you and your boyfriend feel valued and loved.
If you’re wondering what it takes on how to be a good girlfriend or how to be a good wife without coming on too strong or seeming desperate, read the list carefully:
11 Ways To Be A Good (Or Even Better) Girlfriend
1. Listen more, lecture less.
So many people, including myself at times, are so focused on responding to what another is saying that they are missing the point and feelings involved with whatever is being talked about.
Here are some active listening concepts to keep in mind:
- Pay attention and give your undivided attention.
- Show you are listening through your nonverbal behavior and communication.
- Provide feedback when it is appropriate. Do not give unsolicited advice or opinion.
- Hold off from making judgments.
- Respond appropriately and respectfully.
- Avoid immediately making a situation about yourself or comparing your own experience to his.
All of this advice applies to listening in person as well as online or during FaceTime. Be present, pay attention, try not to multi-task.
2. Respect his prior relationships.
Put your feelings aside because there were people in their lives before you and they will continue to be in their lives (assuming these are people close to your partner).
So even if you don’t like some of them or even one, get over it. Be accepting and warm.
Even former romantic relationships need to be respected, no matter how jealous you feel when thinking or talking about them. You should both be able to talk about your exes (within reason, and with respect) and past relationships without shame.