What Do We Talk About?

At least once a week someone emails me saying, "I have this girlfriend and I love her - what should I talk to her about when we're on a date?" Well, let's start at the beginning. And note that while I'm describing a girlfriend, it could just as easily be a boyfriend. The idea is the same.

First off, she is your girl - friend. That means she's a friend that is a girl. She's not a space alien with strange alien tastes :) All humans have the same basic needs - to be cared for, to be respected, to be told they matter, to feel like someone in the world understands them. They want to feel like the things THEY care about - their hobbies, their pets, their favorite types of music - are also appreciated by someone else.

Yes, having a "girlfriend" often also means you do extra things like kiss and hug. But the FRIENDSHIP is the key of the relationship. A good boyfriend is there when she's down, is reliable if she needs help, is supportive if she's upset. In short, he is a great FRIEND to her. All great relationships are based on great friendships. You can't have a relationship without having trust, honesty and communication. Otherwise it's just two people who do things together. A boyfriend/girlfriend is someone you know will BE there for you, no matter what. You can say anything, and they'll listen ... you can be stuck in the rain because your car broke down, and they'll find a way to help you out.

So anyway, if you have a girlfriend, then hopefully the whole reason she's your girlfriend is that you were great friends and got along really well, and decided to take it to the next level. You want to be sure you can get along before you start making commitments! If not, you really need to start NOW. How do you talk with friends? You talk about things that interest you both. You talk about your parents and your brothers and sisters - how they've treated you recently, what you like about them, what you don't like about them. You talk about school and work, what's going well, what's been difficult. You talk about your favorite movies that have come out, about what's going on in your favorite TV shows. If you follow sports you talk about the games. If you have a hobby you talk about that.

If you want to have fun sometime, I have a list of interesting conversations that can get you started. But those are meant to help you learn the 'inner thoughts' of someone that you already know pretty well. You have to have that base down first, just like you would with any friend you have. When you show up at her house, you don't want to not even know the names of her family members! And when she calls you sad because she had trouble with "Joey", you want to know if it's her co-worker or her younger brother or her pet mouse!

There are times when being quiet is perfect. When you sit watching a sunset together, just enjoy it, holding hands or cuddling. That beautiful sunset and time together doesn't need any words. And if she's upset and releasing all her sadness through words and tears, don't feel necessarily that you have to talk or to "do" anything. Often just explaining things and letting it out is the perfect way to get through a problem. Be supportive, listen, and say that you understand. At the end, if you can, offer to help. But if she doesn't want any help, know that just by being there and by listening, you HAVE helped. And perhaps you've given her the best help of all by being there for her.

It all comes down to friendship. Your aim should be to be the best friend she could possibly have - open, supportive, always willing to listen, able to be trusted. It's something that most couples continue to work on for years and years. Start enhancing your own relationship today!

How To ... in Love