When you first start dating someone, you're all about being the sweetest, most thoughtful person who ever lived. I'm talking love notes, surprise dinners, little presents — the whole thing. But these cute considerations often start to slide over time, which is why it's important to find ways to be more thoughtful.
However, I know it can be tough to notice when thoughtfulness is slipping, especially if you've been with your SO forever and have passed into the comfy zone. But there are signs, like maybe one of you has mentioned feeling under-appreciated, or the spark has long since gone.
Luckily, there's a pretty easy fix. As Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., noted on Psychology Today, "It’s easy to forget that you are in this together, but here’s a great way to remind each other and make your life better for it. You have to have a little talk about how to be more thoughtful to each other. This practice has made many relationships better, and in plenty of cases, it was all the couple needed to get themselves back on the positive track."
So talk about it, and then take some steps to show you care. Here are some easy ways to go back to being the best, most thoughtful partner ever.
1. Do Things You Don't Want To Do
Being thoughtful means showing consideration for the needs of others, and sometimes others need you to go to a boring birthday party, or awkward family dinner. Everyone loves it when their partner tags along to act as a side kick, support system, or fellow eye-roller. So do your best to be available for such occasions, even if you would pretty much rather do anything else. It'll be appreciated, for sure.
2. Keep A Running List Of Gift Ideas
Some people are hard to buy for, so when birthdays and holidays roll around, you might find yourself at a loss for gift ideas. But this is really no excuse to not find them the perfect, most thoughtful present. Why? Because everyone wants or needs something — you just have to listen.
Your partner probably drops hints (accidentally or intentionally) all year long, so gift ideas are really just about paying attention. Is she constantly complaining about being cold? Store that little tidbit away, and look into getting a pretty sweater, or an awesome electric blanket. Does he ask you what time it is every five seconds? Consider presenting him with a watch, and a cute little explanation to go with it. Gifts like these show that you're listening, even to the most mundane things.
3. Write Sweet Little Notes
Everyone loves a note, whether they downplay it or think it's mushy or not. So get in the habit of leaving little messages here and there for your partner to find. As James Michael Sama noted on HuffingtonPost.com, "It's free, easy, and can be left anywhere to surprise him or her. A surefire way to put a smile on his face." You can also send sweet texts throughout the day. Maybe slightly less romantic, but it still does the trick.
4. Remember Important Dates
Of course you should remember your SO's birthday, as well as your anniversary. But it's also super sweet to remember more obscure dates, like his mom's birthday, or the one year mark of your first kiss. If you have trouble with such things, get yourself a calendar. Like right now.
5. Truly Listen To What Your SO Has To Say
If you live with your SO, or see them all the time, it's normal to get a little too comfy around each other. When this happens, it can become easy to tune each other out. However, you can easily prevent this from happening by truly listening to what your partner has to say. According to Sama, "In a healthy relationship, each partner relies on the other for love, guidance and advice. Sometimes, just taking the time to genuinely listen to what she has to say, and not saying anything at all, will say more to her than your words ever could." Aw, so sweet.
6. Be There During Tough Times, Even If You're Busy
We're all super busy, so I under how easy it is to brush off your SO when you're feeling tired or stressed. But this isn't a good habit to get into, especially when life starts to hit the fan. As Dustin Wax noted on Lifehack.org, "It’s obvious what you need to do when your partner faces a major life challenge like the loss of a job or the death of a loved one. But it’s just as important to be supportive when your partner faces life’s little challenges, too — an argument at work, a rough commute, a misplaced check. Listen to what’s bothering them and offer whatever help — even if it’s just sympathy — you can."
7. Start Some Loving Rituals
Tell your partner that you'd like to set up some rituals that just the two of you will share, like eating breakfast together every morning, or watching one episode of a dumb cartoon every night. As Margarita Tartakovsy, M.S., noted on PsychCentral.com, "Rituals help couples build their connection and remind partners how important they are to each other..." It may seem like a simple thing, but this kind of mini-date really means a lot.
Thoughtfulness is not that hard, but it is something that can start to slide, even in the best of relationships. So take a few minutes each to be a more thoughtful, caring partner with a few of these tips.
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