Men aren’t always the best at communicating—he may not always be aware of what it is he needs until he gets it.
Women are more accustomed to talking about their emotions and needs, so a woman who trusts in herself and the relationship enough to ask her guy what he wants, or communicate gently what she needs, can be a godsend.
A guy generally won’t ask for what he needs because a lot of the time, he doesn’t even know what it is. But then when you give it to him, it feels amazing. He feels appreciated and loved, and he comes to love you even more.
And with that, here are 11 things he definitely wants that you can give him, and everyone makes you happier, too.
Take The Quiz: Does He Like You?
1. Appreciate him
Men need this more than anything else—appreciation is like oxygen to a man. Without it, he will not be happy and will not survive in the relationship. The good news is, it’s not hard to give him what he needs.
One way to appreciate him is to speak his love language. Show appreciation in a way that really reaches him by taking some pointers from the book “The 5 Love Languages.” Author Gary Chapman identifies five ways people experience love: words of affirmation, physical touch, quality time, gifts, and acts of service. If you speak a different love language than he does, you may not intuitively understand how to make him feel loved and appreciated.
If words of affirmation is your love language, you might be tempted to compliment him and tell him how much he means to you, but if his love language is physical touch then a hug would be much better. One way to guess his love language is to pay attention to how he shows love to you—chances are this is what would make him feel appreciated.
Basically, pay attention to what makes him feel good, what makes him feel loved, and do more of that!
2. Pursue your passion
There is nothing more attractive than a passionate person! Pursuing your passions makes you feel alive. It invigorates you and lights you up, and that’s an attractive energy.
You should have more going on in your life than just him. Do this for you, because ultimately you want to lead a fun and full life, and do it for him, because who can take the pressure of being someone’s be-all and end-all? If you make him the center of your universe, and he’s the sole thing going on in your life, what do you bring to the table in terms of sharing your interesting and awesome self with him?
Pursuing your passion and having things in your life that get you excited (besides him!) makes you a much more interesting and well-rounded person. You need to pursue interests and challenges outside of him and outside of the relationship in order to be you, your best you, because if you don’t have that, you don’t have anything.
3. Have a life outside of the relationship
By pursuing your passion, you nurture yourself, but another part of having a life outside of the relationship is nurturing all of your relationships. Go to events for things you love that have nothing to do with him. Spend time with your family. Take your dog to the beach. Go away for the weekend with your best friend.
Nurture all of your relationships and nurture your interests and hobbies. It doesn’t have to be your driving passion. Maybe you like to knit, so join a knitting group, or take a class, or go hiking or an art or a foodie meetup.
Let him wonder what you’re up to. When you do see each other, you won’t be talking about the relationship, you’ll be sharing what you did that day or that weekend, bringing more of you into the relationship and making it better, and he should be doing the same.
4. Respect him
This doesn’t mean you bow down and cater to his every whim. It means you trust him and you trust his decisions. You respect him and his opinions. If you didn’t, why would you be with him?
Respect is about admiring someone for his capabilities and his character and his achievements. He wants to feel like your man, and having your respect means you see him that way.
What about when he does something you don’t respect? Nobody’s perfect. If it’s a single incident or uncharacteristic, try not to be too disapproving or harsh, especially without knowing the whole story and before listening and really considering all sides of the situation. You can encourage change without being disrespectful or demeaning him. And remember, it’s not even always your job to encourage change—it’s always best to accept your partner for who he is, not treat him like some sort of project to fix up.
Ultimately any decision to change should be his. You should be honest about your concerns without being too critical—criticism, to his ears, is the opposite of respect, the opposite of appreciation. You should be able to respect your partner. If you don’t or you can’t, then maybe this isn’t the right person for you.
How do you show respect? Ask him for his opinions, for his advice. When he makes a decision about something, show through your words and behavior that you have full faith in him to do so. Don’t question him constantly or treat him like he’s incapable of handling his finances or making big purchases or dealing with work situations.
5. You need him
This is not the same as neediness. You can still be a self-sufficient, strong, confident, independent woman. It is not weak to need a man. You rely on your friends and this is a similar thing. We all need others.
How do you do this? You accept his help, which means you trust him. In turn, when he helps you he’s investing in you and placing a high value on you and his relationship with you, so don’t ever think of accepting help as taking something away from him because it’s not—It will make your bond stronger and it will make him happy.
Let him do things for you. Let him share things with you that enhance your life in some way. Maybe this will be something physical like helping you rearrange your furniture or something technical like setting up a gadget for you or something emotional or practical like giving you advice. Men want to feel useful and necessary, and you can give that gift to them.
6. To make you happy
Yes, he wants to make you happy. That’s actually a driving need in a man. Remember the love languages here! Is he always buying you little presents? Bringing you flowers? His love language is probably gift giving.
If he wants to change the oil in your car or fix things in the house or run errands for you, he’s trying to make you happy and show you he loves you with acts of service.
But if your love language is not gifts or acts of service and he’s not making you happy, you need to let him know. Some men will just observe what makes you happy and do it, but not everyone has that talent, so you need to communicate. Don’t focus on what he’s not doing right, which puts things in a negative light and comes off as critical. Instead, focus on what you love. Tell him: when you do X, I feel so loved. Give lots of positive reinforcement when he does that thing.
7. Your support
Support him in what he wants, in pursuing his mission. Every man has a mission. Don’t take over and try to run his mission yourself or second-guess him, because that means you don’t believe in him, and he will feel disrespected. Support him by believing in him, trusting him to be smart enough and capable enough to succeed on his own. Be there to listen and to give your opinions when asked.
Be secure enough in the relationship to let him focus on pursuing his mission even if it means that sometimes you won’t get to be with him. That mission is a driving need in him and he’s not himself without it, so don’t try to take it away. Support him the same way he should be supporting you in pursuing your passions.
There is no greater feeling to a man than having a woman in his corner who will support him no matter what.
8. Give him space when he needs it
Men don’t operate like women. When he’s overwhelmed or stressed he will probably prefer to work on it internally, so give him the space to do this. Don’t take it personally and turn it into a relationship problem. Remember, everything is not about you … everything is not about him … and everything is not about the relationship. You are each your own person and you have to allow each other the space to have the things in your life that make you both you.
It can be hard for us when the times men need to take space are the exact kind of times we would be running to them, trying to be closer with them. When women have tough times emotionally they will generally reach out to friends and those they love for support, while men retreat.
This can feel like rejection to a woman. But he wants to be your man—strong—and showing pain or the fact that he’s struggling can make him feel more vulnerable than he’s comfortable with. Maybe once you become closer he’ll learn he can be vulnerable with you, maybe he won’t, and either is okay. He can only be who he is, and you don’t want to try to force someone to change to satisfy an insecurity of yours.
It could also be that he’s not having a hard time—maybe he just needs space to recharge, to think, or to take care of work or personal issues. The key is if he needs to take space you won’t gain anything and may lose everything, by not allowing him to.
Let him be himself and see how you feel about it. If he ends up taking so much space in the relationship that you feel alone and sad more often than not, he’s probably not the guy for you. Just keep in mind that most men do usually need to take some space occasionally, and it’s good for both of you if you’re okay with that.
9. Love his friends and family
OK, maybe his mom is critical and drives you nuts. Maybe his friends are immature and fratty, but find some good and extract that! If you can’t get along with his people, it will always cause problems in the relationship.
Men are very averse to drama. If you bring the drama and make his life more difficult by constantly complaining about the people in his life you’re just going to stress him out and you risk no longer being one of the people in his life anymore!
10. Your friendship
Too often people in relationships act like foes instead of friends. This is usually because the relationship is built on expectations, which leads to demands, which leads to disappointment and anger.
We tend to be more easygoing and flexible with friends. If a friend cancels plans on us we take it in stride, but if a guy we’re seeing does so, it becomes a statement about our worth—if he appreciated us he wouldn’t have canceled! It’s disrespectful.
11. When you tell him what you want in a way that makes him feel good
Men want to make the woman they are with happy; this is actually one of the biggest driving forces for a man in a relationship. In fact, if a man doesn’t think he can make a particular woman happy, he most likely won’t want to continue a relationship with her
– And men appreciate it when you tell them how to make you happy as long as it’s done in the right way. The right way does not include nagging, guilting, lecturing, or shaming. It entails lovingly telling him what you like and what you want in a way that makes him feel good. Framing something as, “I really love it when you …” rather than “Why don’t you ever …” is a good place to start.
MORE: What Men Want in a Woman
Some expectations are good—someone shouldn’t always cancel plans on us, shouldn’t always be late, shouldn’t cheat on us or forget to pick us up at the airport. But sometimes expectations get in the way of the moment, and they get in the way of the relationship. If you’re constantly anticipating one thing, having an image in your mind of how he should be and comparing that to who he actually is to see if he measures up and deciding no, he isn’t good enough, are you really living in the moment and truly seeing him? We don’t have as many images in our minds of what a friend should be, the way we have images in our mind of what a boyfriend or husband should be. We let our friends just be the kind of friends they are, and we adjust to that.
Maybe that’s why the best relationships are built on friendships. We’re in the habit of seeing our guy for who he is instead of who we expect him to be because of what it says about us and the relationship. He should always be your friend first and foremost, because your relationship should be a friendship enhanced by passion and chemistry and a deep intimate bond.
Strengthen that bond by having fun together, confiding in each other, going on adventures! Be on the same team because ultimately a relationship is a partnership.
I hope this article helped you better understand what your guy wants from you, but there’s more you need to know. As I mentioned in this article, men sometimes need space to deal with things. Do you know how to give him space the right way? If not, you may end up pushing him away so make sure to read this next: If He’s Pulling Away, Do This...
Also, do you know what it really takes to get a man to commit and see you as the one? If you want to know, read this too: The #1 Things Men Desire in a Woman