1. Communicate over more than just a text message.
Text messages and communicating over social media can be so easily misconstrued and seen as impersonal. Set yourself apart from other guys and actually call her when you want to make plans or catch up with her to see how her day was.
2. Take the time to get to know her family.
Meeting the parents or extended family can always be a bit awkward but once the initial meet and greet is over showing interest in her family and loved ones is crucial to building a lasting relationship with her. Bonus points if you can win over the younger siblings.
3. Share important moments from your childhood.
Let her know about the 3rd grade bully that terrorized you all year, the word you just couldn’t get right at the 5th grade spelling bee, or all the trophies you scored when you played sports. She’ll love hearing the things that made you who you are and knowing these small pieces of your past.
4. Let her know what makes you laugh.
Tell her the latest YouTube clip you can’t stop watching or some ridiculous thread on Reddit that had you seriously WTFing the entire time. She’ll love knowing what amuses you.
5. Take mental note of her favorite things.
When she gushes about her favorite author coming out with a new book surprise her with it when it’s released. If she talks about some band she really likes check out to see when they’re coming to your city next. Even something as small as picking up her favorite beverage before you stop over to her place are all awesome ways to show you pay attention to what she likes.
6. Share totally random, useless facts.
These are great for conversation starters, filling in awkward silences, or just sharing a bit of random information you know.
7. Be your total weird, unadulterated self around her.
Maybe you have a serious passion for ‘80s dance music or perhaps there’s something you just can’t stop nerding out about lately. Be your true self around her and let her see you for who you really are. She’ll probably find it adorable.
8. Share what your beliefs are.
It’s amazing what we can learn from each other when we talk about what we truly believe in when it comes to life and death. Being able to talk about what you believe in is important for any couple.
9. Be open and unafraid of being emotional or vulnerable.
Dating, love, relationships are never easy but bonds and trust can be built upon when both people are willing to be truly open with each other. If something at work has you frustrated or you’re feeling uneasy about something within the relationship be honest about what’s going on in your internal world.
10. Have your own unique style.
Whether it’s the way you do your hair or how you dress showing off your individual style lets her get tuned in more to your personality and personal aesthetic.
11. Show her the places that mean the most to you.
Your hometown. The spot on East Campus you go to be alone sometimes. The 24 hour coffeeshop you love going to late night on the weekends to see who’s there. The drive you take upstate once in awhile to clear your head. Showing her little spots that you love spending time is is a simple yet meaningful way of connecting with her.
12. Be truly passionate about something.
Nothing makes a dude more dreamy than actually having passion for something. It can be your career, your soccer team on the weekends, a side project you started, a blog you keep on the side, a place you volunteer once a month, whatever—the crux of passion vs. hobby is that you do it not only because you enjoy it, but also because you believe in the core principle of that thing. Do you love to read? Are you down with literacy? Don’t develop a savior complex, but do be the kind of guy who believes in more than whiskey and old episodes of Entourage.
13. Be down to get your hands dirty.
Everyone needs help with something, whether it’s highlighting notes for a paper, organizing a drawer, or building a shelf— even Queen Beyonce needs Jay to give her a boost when she can’t manage everything herself. Even when it seems like everything’s great, you’d be amazed how relieving it is to hear: “hey, is there anything I can do to help?”
14. Offer the ’10-mile-radius trip’ every once in a while.
You don’t need to take a girl on a huge vacation to impress her or to celebrate a milestone. What’s nearby? Where are the adjacent treasures, the weird townie spectacles, the secretly incredible views, the cutest bed and breakfasts? If you show a girl a good time in the small world you two already share, it shows that you’re both thoughtful and down-to-earth.
15. Be thoughtful about the things you can share when you’re apart.
Make a ‘must’ playlist of music/TV/film that’s just for the two of you. A Spotify playlist, Pandora channel, Netflix queue, Goodreads list, even just a blank journal titled “our stuff—” the possibilities to create something close to tangible that you can share even when you’re apart, something that’s just between the two of you, are endless.
16. Once in a while, send her some love— signed, sealed, delivered.
Send her chocolate covered strawberries if you’re ballin’ and she’s into that, or for less than a dollar, send her a hand-written letter, or even just a short note. Everyone likes receiving mail, especially now that most of our snail mail consists of annoying coupon books that only the Extreme Couponing crowd thinks of as romantic.
17. Don’t be afraid to leave the “other girls” comparisons at the door.
Tell her something you love about her, not something that she does “so much better than other girls.” While that kind of compliment can be flattering, it just encourages the idea that you’re always comparing her to everyone else. Just focus the compliments on her and let the flattered blush take the wheel.
18. Be ready to give her the old razzle dazzle (well, sort of).
It’s always so, so, so indescribably wonderful to see you dressed up, no matter what your style looks like. Clean up nicely for no reason, tell her to get dolled up to the nines and take her literally anywhere that isn’t a diner, drive-in, or dive. Honestly, though? As long as you made the effort to get suave, it hardly matters where you end up.
19. Show physical affection in subtle ways.
Link your pinky to hers instead of full-on deathgrip, sweaty-palmed hand-holding. Of course most girls want to hold your hand and kiss you on the mouth, but it’s always swoon-worthy when a guy kisses a girl on the forehead, puts his hand on her knee, or gives her a little “hey, you’re cute as hell” nuzzle.
20. Be the one who wakes up first.
This one is pretty simple: let her sleep in, cook her breakfast, and you will have a wonderful day, trust.
21. Don’t be afraid to lend her some favorites.
Several of the points above could overlap with this last one, but one truly underrated, yet endlessly charming thing you can do is give a girl one of your softest tee shirts, warmest flannels, favorite lighters, or anything that she can look at and think: “damn, I love this. That was sweet. What a guy.”