5 Underrated Things Everyone Should Learn To Be A Better Boyfriend or Girlfriend

Stephen Hussey

We’ve all been told the important stuff that helps a relationship work in the long-run:

  • Kindness 
  • Respect
  • Clear and compassionate communication

But there are also other little skills that make a big difference.

Things that our partner may not even be able to vocalize, but that deep down in their subconscious they are eternally grateful for and that keep the relationship working and make us No.1 in their books. 

Cultivate these skills and your name will be on its way to becoming an ill-judged impulsive tattoo on someone’s bicep in no time: 

1. Be able to be on your own at parties

Couples spend a lot of time together. Hopefully most of that is pleasurable.

What’s also nice though is spending time together apart. This doesn’t just mean having separate lives, but even being able to detach when you’re in the same room.

Take going to a party. There’s always that moment when you worry if you’re partner is going to sink or swim. You worry about whether they’ll be ok when you go to the bathroom, only to return and see them enraptured in conversation and totally enjoying themselves. 

You see them talk, tell stories, laugh. All while other people listening intently. It’s sexy. It’s cool. It’s the kind of person you want to scoop back up and have all to yourself again. (which is why brushing up on our conversation skills doesn’t hurt either). 

2. Not Complaining

Ahhh the sweet sound of…nothing.

The first thing anyone takes for granted in a relationship is the newfound benefit of having a partner who act as a sounding board for their problems, be it their career anxieties or worrying about that passive-aggressive email they got from their cousin about the most recent family tension. 

In the early stages your partner, deep in the drug-like effect of the honeymoon phase, will be happy to hear all of this. Until they’re not.

Complaining is a bit like masturbating. It’s easy and feels good for a while, until you overdo it. Then it becomes a problem. A distraction from other important things. A waste of energy.

The exception is if there are serious problems – family bereavement, illness, divorce, etc. – in which case these things will obviously take precedence in the relationship until they’re processed and worked through emotionally.

But for the day-to-day nonsense? i.e. what most of us complain about after a long day at work? That’s what eats away at a relationship like a constant wave crashing against a rock until it crumbles away against the overwhelming force.

Yes, partners are there for support, but they’re also there to share the loveliest version of ourselves with, at least 80-90% of the time. 

10% of the time we get to be difficult, moody or boring. 10% of the time we get to bring our problems and be the one who needs help. Then we need to reset and realise our partner is there to share joy with, not be an unloading dock for whatever annoyance we happen to be carrying today. 

3. Taking care of dinner, booking tickets, driving home

The person you want to be with forever is the person who can get things handled.     

This is often framed as a male-female divide (i.e. “women like men who can change a tyre”, or book a surprise vacation), but this kind of reliability is attractive regardless of gender.

It’s not essential to be fixing sinks and mending shelves, but just being able to take the reins and handle little annoyances like sorting movie/theatre tickets, pre-planning a ride home after a party, or having dinner handled either by cooking or buying groceries/takeout, are just the kind of qualities that mean you can rest easy knowing that you’re with a solid teammate who won’t require you to pick up all the slack.

That being said, every man should note: you probably will get bonus points for being able change a tyre as well.  

4. Learn your partner’s favourite things

Hopefully you’ve chosen a partner with a rich, colourful, fascinating mind full of preferences and opinions you can spend a lifetime learning about.

If so, take time to study it.

Read their favourite books, check out the movies they love, ask about the gifts and art they cherish, or take time to understand the projects they spend time working on in their career.

These might seem like things you’ll learn naturally, but it takes effort to actually dive into them fully, and once you do your partner will feel like you “get” them on a much deeper level than most people ever will.  

5. Massage

To be honest, I snuck this one in for myself. The more this post gets shared, more people out there will be keen to give great massages and that’s great news as far as I’m concerned. 

But seriously: who the hell doesn’t want to get their back rubbed and be told they’re wonderful as the aroma of sandalwood emanates from their pores?

It’s indulgent. It’s frivolous. And it requires a mindset of total giving without reward (unless there’s some sexy prior agreement struck beforehand). 

If being rubbed with oil isn’t your thing, just anything that’s pampering for your partner will work. For best results, surprising someone out-of-the-blue so they never know when they’ll get a random treat from you works wonders. 

Just make sure you choose a partner who also keeps a stash of balms and incense in their bedside table for you as well (or whatever you’re chosen treat is) – the more indulgent moments you both share in the relationship, the better. 

What’s your skill that you think everyone should learn to be a better boyfriend/girlfriend? Let me know in the comments below!

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15 Replies to “5 Underrated Things Everyone Should Learn To Be A Better Boyfriend or Girlfriend”

  • LOL. I give a Great Massage, and I’m taking an advanced year long certification course for Tai Massage.

  • This advice is perfekt and I feel even more sure that my better half is exactly the kind of person who I am more then happy to spent my life with. Besides that we love to go to his tournaments from his sport he loclves dancing with me and will even loosen one day of his sport to make room for dancing lessons and that’s so beautiful that it’s amazing that he cares for y loves aswell as I support him with his tournaments and sports. We love spending time together and we discuss and talk about whatever is on our heart and mind. And even though I have got so much work to work on myself he helps me to get through it and believe more in myself even makes it possible for me to go to a Florida retreat and helps me with his spending money aswell so we can together afford the retreat and have a week of holiday afterwards in Florida ❤️ we are so blessed with each other… And I have learned so much from your videos even though I have always stayed myself through everything I havenever stopped believing that my heart will deserve and find the love that I am sharing life with now.

  • Lovely post. My best advise would be:
    I have always loved spending a whole week with my (rather large, loud and sometimes inappropiate) family. My ex found it tiresome and began spending more and more time on his phone, rather than blending in and taking part of some of our family traditions and values. We love food, talking, laughing and just spending time together. If his/hers family might not be your cup of tea, try your best for him/her you love and the love will bloom.

  • I possess all those qualities but I must admit I am still a work in progress. Sometimes it is hard to balance everything in life and I am mostly trying the best I can, though I also make sure I take a break sometimes to tend to myself. It is important too that no matter how close you are to each other, you also provide space in the relationship when needed.

  • These are all great points!!!! Well thought out!:)
    I would ad something that is most important for me the ability to hold space for someone by listening to them and asking them difficult questions that bring up difficult emotions and then not judging or commenting or giving advice to them. Just giving them a space to feel think speak and process without needing to add something to them. It works wonders in helping resolving any inner conflict and the gift of not giving advice is so valuable!
    X Laura

  • To be able to give and receive a compliment or a criticism (a s*it sandwich!) in the loving way it was intended. All done in kindness of course in a loving supportive way. Without the either person getting moody and having a cob on for the rest of the day. It gets easier with practice!
    Also, working out what their love language is. Massive help and everyone wins.

  • Communication is a major part in being a better partner for our loved ones. With lack of communication, it will only get difficult to understand the other person and what they feel.

  • Being active listener for his words and i want you to talk about how i can become active listener with my husband regarding to all we pass by during the day from work, meeting people and home work etc.. How we put a time for talking together

  • I agree completely with this article and also doing little things like leaving cute little notes for your partner (in his briefcase / gym bag for example) is always nice and I find was appreciated by the guys I’ve done it for. Everyone wants to feel loved afterall we’re only human!

  • Very well said Stephen. I loved the tone you wrote this in. Playful and casual yet serious and instructive. I could hear the sound of your voice in my head!

  • Stephen I completely agree on all those skills, especially the LAST ONE.
    I AM A FAN OF MASSAGE!!! I love doing massage to my partner, I find it very intimate, sensual and a caring attention… TOP!!!
    When you find a partner who is good at massage as well… mmmhhhh, that’s perfect !

  • Wasn’t that a joy ride :) Just reading the article made me feel good. Thank you for the advice. Will be storing it into my subconscious for future use.
    And on a side note, as a writer, really appreciated reading this metaphor – “ill-judged impulsive tattoo on someone’s bicep in no time”. :)

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