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If you’re in a relationship and you want to make it work

If you’re in a relationship and you want to make it work, it’s worth putting some thought into the steps you could take to make life smoother for your partner– and, by extension, you. Here are the top 10 things you can work on to make your girlfriend happy:

1. Listen To Her
It’s become a familiar cliche: Men don’t listen, and there’s not much that can be done about it. Resist the impulse to try to immediately fix everything: Sometimes she just wants to be heard, and the simple act of listening and reassuring her that you care is enough.

2. Buy Her Thoughtful Gifts
If you trot out a variation on the same theme year after year, or worse, have resorted to getting your girlfriend gift certificates every birthday and Christmas, it might be time to pull your socks up in the gift department. In the weeks leading up to the event, pay attention to clues she may be giving you about things she ‘d love to receive, or try soliciting help from her friends, who might be able to offer a fresh perspective. Checking her Pinterest or Amazon Wishlist will almost certainly help you find a tailored and appreciated gift.

3. Make An Effort With Her Friends
The longer you’ve been with your girlfriend, the more important it is to make sure you’re gelling with the other people in her life. You don’t need to adopt her group of friends wholesale, but if you have petty grievances with any of her close friends, why not resolve to get over your differences. Doing so is bound to make life easier for your girlfriend, and it has the bonus effect of reducing the level of animosity in your life.

4. Show An Interest In Her Interests
Boost her esteem by showing some interest in it if your girlfriend has a hobby or passion that you’ve always effectively ignored. You don’t necessarily have to take part yourself, but showing up to watch some of her soccer games or providing positive feedback about her blog will make her feel valued. Mutual respect is the glue of successful relationships, so if you’ve been acting as though her interests are incidental or trivial, it’s time to start showing them some enthusiasm.

5. Take Your Grooming Up A Notch
Women show an overwhelming preference for men who are well-groomed. Make sure that your facial hair is tidy (or completely absent) and that your nails are clipped and clean, and why not consider adopting a fresh fragrance?

6. Do Your Share Of The Housework
If you live with your girlfriend, it’s important to make sure that you’re doing your part to help keep your surroundings liveable and clean. This dynamic can leave your partner feeling taken for granted, so try to take a proactive approach to cleaning to counter it, or simply ask more often whether there’s anything you could do to help around the house.

7. Make Good Use Of Your Time Together
Once you’re in a relationship it’s easy to fall into a comfortable Netflix-and-takeout routine. It’s fine to spend the odd weekend chilling entirely at home, but if it’s a constant fixture you should aim to make better use of your precious free time together. There are bound to be restaurants, parks, cafes, clubs, markets, bookstores and boutiques you haven’t yet visited in and around your city, so make an effort to start exploring them together in 2016.

8. Plan A Trip Together
There are very few people who don’t appreciate a break from work and some time in the sunshine, and your girlfriend is probably no exception. Whether you can afford to take a whole week off work or just a long weekend, planning a getaway together will perk up your relationship without fail. Planning a holiday is often every bit as fun as the main event, so start sending each other screenshots of Jamaican beaches and discount airfares.

9. Change Up Your Bedroom Routine
If you’ve noticed your girlfriend’s enthusiasm for sex has recently waned, you might need to vary your usual routine. When it becomes clear that something needs to change, men often make the mistake of assuming that everything needs to be done harder, faster and for longer.

10. Consider The Level Of Commitment
You’re reading an article on how to make your girlfriend happier, so it’s clear that you value her and the relationship you have together. Assuming she feels the same, the ultimate way to make her smile might be to ramp up your level of commitment. Depending on how long you’ve been together, this could take many forms: It could mean buying a car or pet together, moving in with each other, or, if the time is right, perhaps even popping the question.

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