By BRYANT MATERA and KAT DICKINSON
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner—next Sunday, for those of you keeping track. So, how do you show your significant other that you really care? You don’t have to hire a skywriter or propose on the Jumbo-Tron at a basketball game. The movie stuff should stay in Hollywood. Ask any real girl (or guy, for that matter), and they will honestly tell you that the most meaningful things are often the littlest ones.
With that in mind, here are a few little ways to tell that special someone that you love them all year round, not just on Valentine’s Day. Keep in mind that these tips aren’t aimed at couples in love. It can be for anybody in any situation (feel free to switch around any he or she pronouns), whether you’re only trying to catch his or her eye, or you’re already in a committed relationship.
BAM: Tell her she’s beautiful. I know this seems like an obvious one, but I feel like it’s one that probably gets overlooked pretty often. Please, don’t take her for granted. She needs to feel like she’s the only person in the room when you’re with her. So tell her she looks amazing today, or that she smells nice. Just don’t overdo it or be disingenuous.
KED: I totally agree on this one. I love hearing that I smell nice, or that I look good, even though I just threw something on at the last minute before I ran to class. But ladies, guys like to know that they’re attractive too! Don’t be creepy and just sniff him, but if you happen to catch a hint of that cologne that you know he wears, compliment him!
BAM: Show her your sensitive side and write her a heartfelt note or poem. It doesn’t have to be super long, but do tell her how you feel, how much she means to you and how much you care about her. I know the poetry idea sounds either emasculating or too difficult for some of you, but often a stanza here or there will do wonders. Open up your heart and pour it onto the paper. For those of you not poetically inclined, at least she’ll get a laugh out of your attempt.
KED: I’m not as much of a poet, but I get my own little notes in. Last semester, I started writing weekly notes about what I liked best about him. When you let him know why he’s so great, he just might keep up what he’s doing!
BAM: Or we might just do it because we love you! Pay attention to the details. She’ll drop hints here and there about everything, from her favorite this to her most loathed that, and when you pay attention and actually show a genuine interest (not to mention make an effort to remember those things), you’re going to be showing her she’s more than just some girl—that she’s your equal. That’s what the relationship should be about. It’s a partnership. She should stand beside you, not behind you. Ask her about her day, and actually listen. (And you’re an amazing poet, Kat.)
KED: Good point. I’m not as good at the whole memory thing like Bryant is, but I try my best. Ladies, even if you don’t care at all about the topic, whether it be video games or sports, show a genuine interest. Personally, whenever Bryant and I go home, we have Mortal Kombat (a video game) dates so that I’m a part of that whole world of his. Although I rarely beat him, I love trying to, and when I finally do win, it’s that much sweeter! I know he appreciates that I try to be in his world, and that he doesn’t have to live alone in mine. So ladies, try it out, maybe you just might like that new game called Mass Effect 2 that he’s been hyped about for the past week and a half!
BAM: Be a gentleman. If she’s actually taking the time to play a video game with you, A) propose (just kidding—mostly), and B) give her a fighting chance. I’m not saying lose on purpose, but you know it isn’t any fun having your butt handed to you during Modern Warfare 2, so go easy. Do the whole chivalry thing and open doors, hold her hand, carry her over puddles, all that. Seriously. It can be embarrassing, but I’ve done it, and if you really care about her, it won’t be a big deal if people look at you kind of sideways.
If you take her out for a nice dinner, for God’s sake, pick up the check. No halfsies. If you can’t afford that, go to Wal-Mart or something and whip up one of her favorite guilty pleasure foods. You may not be a master chef, but I’m pretty sure you could follow the directions on a box of macaroni. Another idea is to escort her during shopping trips. It might drive you nuts to look at pair after pair of shoes, but she’ll appreciate you being there.
KED: I know that it’s always a lot more fun to shop when I have a friend, but when my significant other is there holding my hand, it’s honestly one of the best times I have. Bryant and I go on weekly shopping trips, and whether we go to Target or Wal-Mart or the mall, I love every second.
Also, go to meals with them! Lunch, breakfast, dinner, anything. Even at Seaco or the Nest! It’s always great when you’re eating with someone you care about, and when you make it a routine, you have something to look forward to, even if the meal isn’t always 5-star quality.
BAM: A cute surprise here or there will speak volumes. Whether it be a necklace she mentioned three weeks ago when she was half asleep, or whether you pull out your guitar and sing her favorite song, doing something extra special now and then will definitely let her know you care.
KED: Cheap tip on this one: make a mix CD! Not only will you get the chance to show someone your tastes and favorites, but you also get to show them how much you truly care. A mix CD between friends or in a relationship draws you closer. You could even start an exchange between you two! Not only do you get brand-new tunes, or the chance to re-hear older ones, but it’s also a good insight into someone’s thoughts and feelings.
BAM: Last tip, and please take this to heart: if you love her, if you genuinely truly love her, and if you actually treat her like the queen she really is, please tell her. But don’t bother if you aren’t 100 percent sure. Honestly, you’ll just make the rest of us look bad, needlessly complicate whatever you have going on and hurt people. Those three words are serious business. Don’t mess with them unless you’re positive you cannot breathe without her.
There you have it. Take these tips to heart, and be sure to implement them whenever, not just in these next few weeks. Sometimes the littlest things mean the most, especially when they’re for no reason other than just because.