What A Guy Needs To Do Before You Call Him Your Boyfriend

Between being ghosted and the prevalence of almost relationships, it seems more confusing than ever to figure out if a guy you’re dating is actually going to commit to you. Maybe instead of focusing on him, you should be thinking about how you feel — you have a say in this too. Don’t just settle for crumbs when you deserve the whole damn cake. Here’s what he needs to do before you call him your boyfriend.

  1. He actually plans dates. To be honest, even if he plans a super sweet night in, that still counts. Some guys aren’t the fancy dinner type and you might not even be, either. You just want someone who takes the time to think about you and wants to make sure you’re having fun.
  2. He passes the “bar test” with flying colors. As Erika Ettin, dating coach and founder of A Little Nudge, explains, you won’t want to call a guy your boyfriend if you’re embarrassed to be seen with him in public. “As simple as this may seem, I call it the ‘bar test’ to know if you’re with the right person. When you’re at a bar (or restaurant, wherever) with your new partner, are you looking around to see who else is out there or who might see you two together? Or, are you perfectly content with your partner, and you want everyone there to notice you with him/her?” she asks. “If the latter is true, then he/she passes the test. But if it’s the former, it might be time to decide whether being in a relationship with this person is your best option.”
  3. He’s upfront about where his head is at. It’s not cool to be vague about how you feel about someone you’ve started dating, but that’s not a memo many guys seem to have read. If he has the guts to say how much he’s into you, then he’s definitely a keeper. You want someone who chooses you and who makes it clear that you’re his #1 choice, at that. Anything less is just not worth it.
  4. He can end an evening gracefully. It’s kind of nuts how politeness and chivalry seem to have gone out the window. No, you don’t owe him sex if you’re not in the mood or would rather not, even if he bought you an expensive dinner. If your guy can end the night properly, whether he’s setting up your next date or sending you off with the best kiss of your life, he’s definitely boyfriend material.
  5. He accepts you as you are rather than trying to change you. So often, people get into relationships with others based on potential. They see what they believe you could be (even if you have no interest in being that in the first place). That’s why it’s important to feel confident that he’s into you just the way you are. “When you feel good, feel that your partner is patient and true, treats you the same in public as he/she does at home, then you’re on the right path. Keep in mind that your intuition may send out warnings as well. It may come as a gut reaction,” says Tracy Malone, founder of Narcissist Abuse Support. “For example, if your partner wants to change you in any way. He/she is not accepting you for who you are. If that happens, run. That is a sign of a controlling person and he/she will never treat you properly.”
  6. He deletes Tinder. By now, it’s pretty obvious that some people think they have tons of “options” and can treat dates like disposable objects. If your guy is not into the dating game and seems to appreciate that he’s lucky to have found you, that’s a good sign. He definitely shouldn’t be swiping still when you two are getting serious-ish.
  7. His friends and family know you’re together. It’s weird if he won’t introduce you to his friends and family, so you definitely can’t call him your boyfriend if he’s hiding you. Gross. More than that, you should be part of his whole world now. You should know his fave TV shows and the video games he pretends not to play and even the name of his second-grade crush. (OK, maybe not that last one, but you get the picture.)
  8. He makes an effort to fit into your life. While you don’t expect his life to revolve around you, you don’t want to call a guy your boyfriend if he doesn’t make an effort to fit into the already amazing life you had before you met him. “A good sign that someone is right for you is if you can imagine that person fitting in to other parts of your life and not just living in a microcosm of the relationship,” explains Sober College‘s Dr. Holly Daniels. “Ask yourself: Do they get along with the other people in my life? Do I get along with their friends and family? Do we have mutual interests and things that we enjoy doing together that can be a source of sustainability in a relationship? If the answer is yes, then you may be on the right track.”
  9. He’s in sync with your needs. You both love to go out all the time or belong to the homebody society or you enjoy a balance. You share similar interests or at least respect each other’s need for alone time. He gets that you like to get up early on the weekends to hit the gym and knows that you need coffee in the morning before having any deep conversations. He seems to go out of his way to understand you and what makes you tick, and that’s excellent boyfriend material.
  10. He gets that you love your career. This is a pretty big deal and can definitely end a budding relationship before it even begins. You don’t need someone who makes you feel bad for working on a Sunday instead of getting brunch or for being preoccupied some evenings with work stress. He should be your biggest cheerleader and encourage you to accomplish every single one of your goals, both personal and professional.
  11. He truly listens to you. Have you ever had a conversation with a guy who only seemed to be listening to you so that he knew when he could start talking about himself again? Or one who claimed he “totally gets where you’re coming from” when it’s clear that your words went in one ear and out the other? That’s not cool. “One of the signs that your date is likely to make a good mate is that they show genuine interest in your life and listen attentively when you are speaking. They also remember things that you have told them about yourself,” says Elinor Greenberg, psychologist and author of Borderline, Narcissistic, and Schizoid Adaptations: The Pursuit of Love, Admiration, and Safety. She adds:  “If they are not interested now at the beginning of the relationship, they are likely to be even less interested later on.”
  12. He feels the spark just as much as you do. It’s baffling how many couples aren’t even attracted to each other and don’t enjoy each other’s company – it’s just the worst when people are always whining about their significant other. You want a spark, a connection, and enough chemistry to make any awkward moments totally worth it. Why would you call a guy your boyfriend otherwise?
  13. He makes things more fun than stressful. Dating is stressful and awful, but it’s also supposed to be fun. If you’re not having the time of your life, you need to hold onto your single girl status a little while longer. Especially during the honeymoon period, there’s no reason you should be full of anxiety and other negative emotions. If it’s bad in the beginning, what will it be like down the line?
  14. He makes you feel good about yourself. As dating coach James Preece advises, you should never call a guy your boyfriend if he doesn’t uplift you and make you feel like a million bucks. “[He’ll] reassure you, pay compliments and let you know how amazing you are,” Preece says. “If you start to believe it too then you are never going to need to question anything or doubt yourself.”
  15. He’s someone you can imagine sharing a future with. You don’t want to call a guy your boyfriend just so you can change your relationship status on Facebook or for bragging rights with your friends who are still single. You want to make sure the future looks bright for the two of you. If you think of your life five years or even five months down the line and honestly couldn’t imagine him in it, it’s clearly not meant to be.
Aya Tsintziras is a freelance lifestyle writer and editor from Toronto, Canada. In addition to writing about dating and relationships for Bolde, she also writes about movies, TV, and video games for ScreenRant and GameRant. She has a Political Science degree from the University of Toronto and a Masters of Journalism from Ryerson University. You can find her on Twitter @ayatsintziras and on Instagram @aya.tsintziras.