Human relationships are fickle things. Over the months or years, the “spark” starts to inevitably wear down, and that initial feeling of intrigue and titillation that you felt for each other the first day that you met might not be what it used to be. Eventually, she’ll start whining, “I feel like we don’t do anything exciting anymore!” or “You never do anything nice for me!” or “Oh my God, you’re so boring; I’m leaving you for your best friend! By the way, I have herpes!”

Because of this, it’s essential to try to keep the magic alive by doing fun and exciting things for your girlfriend. Whether or not you expect your relationship to last long-term, it’s always worth it to keep it well-maintained, or else you’re not going to enjoy being a part of it. Now, keeping your girlfriend happy and entertained doesn’t need to be complicated, and, to this end, here is a list of 7 simple ways to surprise your best girl:

1. Leave her a note

Women love little details. In fact, if love were a video game, the accumulated experience points of all the little details would be worth much more than any one of your grand gestures. In other words, it’s the little things that you do every day or every week that will keep her thinking of you.

One small detail that will keep you on her mind in a positive way is to surprise her with random post-in notes with pleasant messages written on them. Leave them somewhere where she can see them—on her bathroom mirror, on her computer, on the dashboard of her car—and write simple one-sentence notes that will brighten her day. If you don’t know what to write, a simple “I love you” might do, but just be careful not to do this too often. The whole point of this gesture is that it is a surprise, something random and interesting that will break the monotony of her day in a small way.

2. Cook her something. Anything

This is pretty much an old cliché, but it can win you a lot of points nonetheless. Unless you already do most of the cooking, surprise her one night by inviting her to dinner…at your house. Better yet, don’t just cook dinner while she sits there waiting to be served—make it a team effort; have her help you prepare the meal according to what you had planned, so that you can both enjoy your handiwork together afterwards.

3. Teach her a skill she didn’t realize you had

Part of what makes relationships exciting in the early stages is that getting to know a new person is like unraveling a mystery. There was something she liked about you when she first met you, but there were also many unknowns, many mysteries that filled her with excitement. Send a clear signal that she still doesn’t know everything about you and introduce her to a skill that you’ve already mastered well enough to teach to someone else.

It doesn’t matter what this skill is, whether it’s tennis, or kayaking, or underwater basket weaving. Just show her (don’t tell her, show her) something positive about yourself that she didn’t know before and enrich her life with it.

4. Take her someplace she’s never been before

You have a choice here: You can take her to a place that you’re already familiar with, so that both of you aren’t running around not knowing what you’re doing, or, on the other hand, you can enjoy discovering a completely new place together. Either way, the key here is to inject novelty into the relationship, which is what those stomach-butterflies thrive on.

The place where you decide to go doesn’t even have to be that amazing. Again, it’s the little things, those little doses of constant novelty, that are superior to any single grand, exciting change. Take her to a park you’ve never been to before. Take her hiking in a forest that you’ve never hiked. Visit a nearby zoo that you’ve never bothered to go to. It can even be as simple as taking her to a new coffee shop that you noticed on the way to work. The possibilities are endless.

5. Make her something with your own two hands

In the increasingly consumerist culture that most of us live in, it’s long been out of style to craft your own personalized gifts, and most people default to buying them from the store. This is a perfect opportunity to surprise her by showing your prowess in one manual trade or another by building her a present from scratch.

If you’re not the handy type, and such a task seems overwhelming to you, luckily technology is on your side. These days, you can make unique, customized objects with 3D printers. Look into where you can borrow or rent one. They are available for use at many universities.

6. Disappear for awhile

This seems counter-intuitive, but as a relationship progresses and you spend more and more time together, one of you is eventually going to utter the dreaded, “I need space.” In a lot of ways, this is just part of growing closer. Keeping that in mind, beat her to the punch, and surprise her by getting lost—but only for a little while.

Of course, don’t draw attention to this particular surprise. Let it float by unnoticed, or only subconsciously noticed. Don’t storm off in the middle of your latest mild disagreement and scream, “I’m leaving for exactly 16 hours, 43 minutes, and 7 seconds!” In fact, it’s best if you say nothing about it at all. Subtlety is the key here.

Simply don’t call her or text her for a day or two. Appear busy, even if you aren’t—or better yet, make yourself busy. By not bringing too much attention to it, you 1) avoid signaling that you’re angry or are disappearing for some sort of emotionally-driven reason, 2) avoid making her feel like she pushed you away, and 3) avoid looking like a loser who plans his relationship moves in advance. (By the way, making plans about your relationship doesn’t make you a loser, but letting anyone catch on that you make these plans makes you look like a loser, unfortunately.)

Basically, just give her some time alone before she even asks for it. Give her both time to miss you and also time for her own self-maintenance. We all need periods of quiet reflection to keep sane.

7. Take her on a trip

If you’re in a more serious relationship, you may want to invest in a trip together. It doesn’t have to be anywhere fancy or even very far, but a change in surroundings for a few days can do wonders when you’re looking to free yourself from the drudgery of a daily routine. While hitting up a touristy vacation spot can be fun, try to go for places that are also culturally enriching, where the two of you will be challenged with new information that might expand your horizons as human beings.

Especially in a more advanced, long-term relationship, growing together as people is essential to keeping the flame of desire alive.

By all means, don’t limit yourself to just these suggestions. The most exciting ideas you will ever come up with are probably the ones born from your imagination, after all.

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