It can be tough to figure out what the deal is between the two of you after the first few dates. That confusion can lead to some awkward situations (“Hey guys, this is … my … uh … friend …”), and it can also cause some major misunderstandings that have the potential to derail the relationship before it begins. The beginning courtship phase can’t last forever, and that’s a good thing because once you get past that, it means she’ll pick up the damn tab from time to time. So here’s how to make her your girlfriend without making her hate you.
DO: SEND SUBTLE SIGNALS
It’s best to make a gradual transition from the full-court charm press of the first few dates in which you go out of your way to be accommodating to becoming a couple who works together. For instance, if you ask her to split the check immediately after the first time you sleep together, she’ll feel cheap. Instead, let her know the rules have changed by, say, inviting her over to cook dinner together, then ask her to pick up the wine or grab a certain ingredient. That doesn’t put her on the spot, but it does send the message that you’re ready to take things a little more seriously.
DON’T: MOVE TOO FAST
Recently, I went on one date with a guy. At the end of the night, he walked me home and we made out in front of my front door. A week later, he texted me to say he was out with friends in my neighborhood and asked if I wanted to hang out. When I said I was stuck on deadline, he told me he was coming over.
It’d have been acceptable if he was my boyfriend, but this was a guy I barely knew and the text really creeped me out … and made me turn off all of the lights and double-lock the doors. The lesson: Less is more. If he’d stopped with the text to hang out, it would have seemed sweet.
DO: ASK HER ON A LAST-MINUTE DATE
On a random weekday with perfect weather, see if she’s up for outdoor margaritas after work. Or if you’re heading on a bike ride on a Saturday, see if she can come along. Inviting her to do the day-to-day stuff you already had planned makes it clear that it’s not going to be some over-the-top event, and it’ll make her happy that you want to see her just because.
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But to be clear, this does not mean you should text her at midnight to see if she’s out and about; that’ll just make her feel like a booty call.
DON’T: WORRY ABOUT LABELS
I once had a guy who asked if I could be his girlfriend after the third date. That would have been the height of romance if he was in seventh grade, but as an adult, it just sounded awkward and clingy. On the other hand, after six dates and two sleepovers, a guy I was dating said that he didn’t see us ever getting serious, but wanted to keep doing what we were doing.
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I know he was just trying to be honest, but that was a little too much (especially since this conversation happened while we were both naked).
DO: OFFER TO HELP HER OUT
After date three, it’s totally cool for you to offer assistance with moving large objects, putting together furniture, or fixing an effed-up router. Yeah, it’s stereotypical, but we really appreciate it — and when you offer help unsolicited, it presents you with opportunities to ask for favors from her, like acting as the DD on a night out, helping you pick out a Mother’s Day present for your mom, or wearing a Pee-wee Herman costume to bed. (No judgments.)
After your third or fourth sleepover, she’ll likely ask if you’re seeing anyone else. She might ask after the first sleepover, which is totally legit, but if it’s anytime before, that’s a red flag she may have control issues. Look, I know it’s not easy to tell the truth here, especially if you are seeing other people because she’ll most likely request that you stop.
So when she pops the question, you have to make a choice. Being honest the first time won’t necessarily make her bolt, but it will create a foundation of trust that she’ll appreciate … unless she’s psycho. But then you should end things anyway.
DO: SHOW THAT YOU CARE
Another way to make someone your girlfriend is by showing that you care about them. Ask questions about their day or what they like or don’t like. Showing genuine interest in them helps build an emotional connection, which is essential for any long-term relationship.
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Take the time to get know each other better – learn about their hobbies, interests, passions and dreams – all of these things can help deepen the connection between you two and will show her that she is important to you.