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You took the initiative to engage with someone and discovered that you had a bunch of things in common. After a few times of hanging out, flirting, getting to know each other, eating ice cream, walking around the park, and laughing about growing up as an awkward kid, you have decided that you like this person as more than just a buddy. Now is the time when you might want to consider ways to move this budding relationship forward.

It doesn’t have to take a lot of elaborate planning, but some thoughtful efforts can show that you really care and are interested in investing time and energy into the relationship. Of course, doing sweet things during the honeymoon phase of a relationship is fine, but don’t let the thoughtfulness leave the relationship just because it goes on for longer than three weeks. These are ideas that can be used throughout the time you are together with someone.

Make a home-cooked meal. You don’t have to make a fabulous coco van or other elaborate delicacy. Sometimes, meatloaf or a grilled chicken breast with asparagus is a great way to show someone you care about them. After a long day, a home-cooked meal with someone special can be a fantastic way to relax and recharge. Of course, there are dishes to do after eating, but that might be something you can do together. Cleaning up the kitchen can be a romantic bonding activity too, especially if it is followed up by snuggles on the couch or in bed. It can be a wonderful way to nourish the body and relationship.

Gifts are a treat. Giving and receiving presents on holidays is to be expected, but sometimes, getting a gift out of the blue can be an incredible way to let someone know that they are thought of regardless if a celebration is coming up. It shows not only that you are thinking about them, but also that you got them something cute and thoughtful. Anyone can purchase something expensive if they have enough money or credit, but it takes a special connection with someone to purchase something that means something to them. Maybe it brings up a sweet memory from a previous date or supports one of their interests or hobbies.

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Share your relationship with others.  There are times when people first start to date and seclude themselves from friends. This can be annoying and concerning on many levels; you don’t have to ignore other, important people in your life just because you find someone who makes your heart jump. Invite friends to do something with you. Throw a mellow, potluck dinner at your place, and ask your buddies to bring a side dish, a great bottle of wine, or a scrumptious desert, and have a great time. You could also have a fancy, sit-down dinner at your place or at a restaurant, but it doesn’t have to be crazy. Going bowling, out for a cocktail or meeting up for a hike can be fun, too. Sometimes, creating the opportunity to have awesome people in our lives interact with each other is an extremely fulfilling way to stay engaged with people we love.

Give a back rub. A lot of people say they will offer a massage, but it generally lasts for under five minutes, and the quality isn’t very good. Sometimes, it is a veiled attempt to turn someone on for sex. Often, their initiative declines quickly because they are tired or get bored. A long, connected, passionate massage is a great way not only to make someone feel good physically, but it also helps them to relax and shows that you are willing to put the time, energy, and effort into doing something for them. I’m not talking about an apathetic rubbing of their shoulders. Light some candles; put on some relaxing music, and get down to business. Spend time exploring and rubbing all over them. Use lotion or oil if you want, and get into it. Hopefully, they will return the favor at another time.

Spend quality time. Most of us get comfortable with curling up in the evenings ready to watch something entertaining on Netflix after dinner to decompress from a long day of work and running around. There is nothing wrong with just relaxing and spending time together, but it is easy to fall into boring ruts where you do the same stuff over and over. Of course, there is nothing wrong with consistency or familiarity, but you can also think about some new and creative ways to do things together. They don’t have to be complicated, lavish, or expensive. Being thoughtful, romantic, or goofy can get you further than you might think. It shows an interest in someone and a willingness to be thoughtful.

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Keep talking. One of the quickest ways to have a negative impact on people close to us is to communicate poorly. When there is a lack of honesty, mutual respect, or thoughtfulness, hurt feelings can be experienced, concerning patterns of engagement can develop; trust can lessen, and we risk not feeling close to a person. Be careful about not bringing up issues that concern us and allowing them to fester until resentment creeps in. As much as the early part of getting to know someone is exciting and fun, there may be times where hurt feelings are not discussed or shared. Don’t be scared to acknowledge that there are some concerns. Hopefully, the relationship can withstand these conversations and be strengthened by facing these challenges together so good habits in communication can be established.