What does it take to be a good boyfriend? Every relationship is different, but if you want to know how to be a good boyfriend, there are things you can do that will make you stand out as an especially great partner.

But instead of citing another stuffy study on how to do deal with relationship problems, we collected some advice from a group of the best boyfriends ever — 25 of them to be exact.

From smelling good to being a better listener to genuinely paying attention to her needs, interests and, get ready to take notes, fellas. After all, you can’t have a great relationship unless you’re a great boyfriend.

25 things real guys say about what it takes to be a good boyfriend:
1. Be patient.

“It takes patience to be a great boyfriend. Patience within yourself to teach your partner new things and patience to learn new things from them. Building relationships together takes time. Don’t rush it.”

He’s right, it takes time to develop the trust, love, and communication skills necessary to have a truly great relationship. If you’re crazy about someone, it’s easy to want to rush them into something neither of you are really ready for. Try to take a breath and let things unwind in their own time.

You can ask for what you need in your relationship without rushing things.

What to avoid at all costs: Don’t be so patient that you don’t get your needs met. Ask for what you want and need in the relationship.

2. Show her you’re interested in her.

“It always helps to be conscious of how your partner is feeling, ask questions about a person’s day, and show interest. Another thing is just about constant, open two-way communication.”

Pay attention when they’re speaking and show that you appreciate what they’re saying by affirming what you hear.

What to avoid at all costs: Don’t chase after your partner or crowd them. You can show interest without seeming desperate.

3. Pay attention to little things.

“I try to listen to what she is saying and then really remember one or two things. Maybe something she has really been wanting, or something that I know I could buy her that would make her life easier. In the beginning, I asked what her favorite flower is and made a note of it in my phone, this way when it came time for me to get her some, I knew exactly what it is without having to fish around.”

These are the types of things women brag to their friends about. Be the guy your partner brags about by paying attention to even the littlest things.

What to avoid at all costs: Don’t keep score about the negatives, only the positives. Take note of the great little things that happen all day long, but try to let go of the little things that bother you.

4. Put your partner’s needs first.

“I believe understanding how to be a good boyfriend is something only a few men can understand. It’s putting somebody else’s life ahead of yours because you want to, not because you have to.”

If you’ve been single a long time, it can be hard to switch from “me first” to “you first”, so try thinking of it this way: When you put your partner’s needs first you’re building a healthy relationship that you’ll both benefit from. So really it’s “us first”.

What to avoid at all costs: Make sure you’re not putting your partner’s needs first in order to use that against them later, or in hopes that every little thing you do for them will be reciprocated. A great boyfriend is giving, kind and thoughtful because it’s the right way to be, and it comes from love. Not to get something from it.

5. Provide her with emotional security.

“Being a good boyfriend is always being there for the one you love, listening to her when she wants to talk, providing her with emotional support in all she does, taking her side, making her believe she looks beautiful when she doesn’t feel that she is, holding her tight when she doesn’t feel good, and not making her cry.”

A great boyfriend is someone who can be relied upon consistently to listen, brainstorm with, and be a source of support no matter what comes along. Forming a strong emotional connection is key to security, and it’s so worth it.

What to avoid at all costs: Don’t offer and then withdraw yourself as an emotional “safe place” for your partner. Be consistent. The inconsistency of your support will make the relationship less secure and will build up mistrust between you.