Life
by Reggie Noble on January 15, 2013

Coupling is hard, you guys. You’ve got to, like, care about another person’s happiness. When that person is a certified lady, there’s bound to be some trouble.

Look, as a boyfriend, you’re never going to bat 1.000. There are, however, plenty of ways to build up some latitude with your girl to limit the damage done by your inevitable screw-ups.

Some are easy, some are harder, and all can help soften the blow when you get caught texting an ex-girlfriend.

Make Dinner
Sure, going out to eat is perhaps the easiest date imaginable. Someone else does all the work for you and your only responsibility is to have enough money to pay for the food. But putting in some solid kitchen time to prepare a romantic, candlelit dinner at her house shows that 1) you can take care of her and 2) that you’re not completely helpless and lazy. Also, women are much kinder than men. If they are served something that tastes like a car tire, they generally won’t bitch about it. Dudes, on the other hand, inertly go into the old gag-and-die routine.

Clean
Hey, that’s women’s work! Maybe it is. But HOLY SHIT will she be surprised if you scrub her dirty toilet without her knowledge. The bar is set so, so low for dudes when it comes to tidiness that any effort is a heroic effort.

Ask About Her Friends
Yeah, her stories are a little boring, but you’d better pay attention. Does Becky’s father run a marketing company? What’s Kelly’s brother’s name? This shit is important. Instead of saying something self-centered, ask about someone she knows. It will prove you’re actually listening when she talks and — rightly or wrongly — suggest you actually care.

Give Up Your Sunday
But … BUT … the NFL! This one hurts. It does. Going to a flea market or watching “Love Actually” instead of the RedZone Channel is so counterintuitive. That’s why it doesn’t go unnoticed. Don’t spent all your time checking scores on your phone, either. Suck it up, Bro. This one buys you a lot of leeway.

Surprise Her
Surprise her with gifts, notes, any-fucking-thing. Surprises are cocaine to women. I don’t know why. I don’t want to know why.

Get Along With Her Family
Deep down, you can think they’re a worthless band of degenerates that secretly hate you. Grin and bear it. You are NOT going to win in a family-versus-boyfriend battle, so don’t even try.

Give Her Hobbies a Chance
OK, you two are going to be into different things. But stepping outside of your comfort zone to try something new is never a bad look. Besides, you might actually like salsa dancing.

Don’t Tell Her When She’s Wrong
It isn’t worth it. Think of how much you hate being told you’re wrong about something and multiply it by 29. Bite your tongue, avoid an argument and apologize even if you aren’t sorry. Don’t like it? Get fucking used to it.

All of these behaviors are designed to create a little slack in that rope she’s got around your neck. Honestly, though, if you really like the person you’re with, they shouldn’t be all that challenging. If you don’t… well, shit, then all this hoop-jumping probably isn’t worth it.