If you’ve ever wondered how to save a relationship that seems doomed to fail, you’re not alone. Go ahead and ask any of your buddies if that same thought has creeped into their minds and you’ll find that a lot of them would agree it’s a worry that can do more harm than good at times.

For instance, one of the simple things that we often talk about here is confidence and the impact it has on building a successful relationship. Problem is, when you’re on the defensive and are constantly worrying about trying to save a relationship, you won’t be at your best. Think of it like a pro athlete who’s too geeked up about a big game but is worried about making that one mistake; it often holds him back from “leaving it all out on the field;” to steal a sports cliche.

When it comes to knowing how to save a relationship, there are certain things that guys can do in order to take the anxiety out of trying to be perfect, while also putting into action some things that can help. Whether that’s better communication or something else, it can be hard to just change your ways and get out of your head, so don’t think you’re overreacting if it’s something bugging you while dating.

Thanks to the good people over at Psychology Today, we have some proven psychological methods that will tell you how to save a relationship and get you back to feeling more connected with your girlfriend.

Can positive influence be a way to save a relationship?

As it turns out, yep, simply having a positive influence on your girlfriend can help save a relationship, according to the aforementioned Psychology Today article. This can mean encouraging your partner that they can do something — like quit their job and take the risk to start their own company — or by offering positive feedback after they do a job well done at something.

Be careful with your wording here, though, because it’s important not to say something like, “see, I told you so,” when giving positive feedback. On the surface it may seem harmless, but, when someone hears it, it can often be taken as a sign of not being confident in themselves prior to achieving their milestone.

Make sure to listen more than talk when it comes to positively influencing your girlfriend and you may just save the relationship in the end.

So, too, can positive reinforcement

Know how people hate to hear compliments? Well, when you receive one from your girlfriend, don’t be afraid to return the favor by saying something nice back to make them feel good about themselves, too. This has shown to be a good way to save a relationship, so don’t be shy in saying good things to your partner.

For example, if your girlfriend says she loves the way you make her feel when she’s talking to you after a hard day at work, say thank you and then tell her it’s all because she’s so great at helping you with something, too. Whatever that might be is up to you, but to help her trust you and feel comfortable sharing things with you, she needs to know you’ve got her back just as much as she does yours.

If you want to know how to save a relationship, become an emphatic listener

Communication is more than just talking, we all know that. In fact, nonverbal communication is one thing we’ve talked about here before, explaining how important it is in building (and keeping) relationships alive.

According to the Psychology Today piece, that’s why being an emphatic listener is one way in which you can save a relationship.

So what does emphatic listening really mean? The goal of it is to allow your girlfriend to feel comfortable sharing feelings, thoughts, concerns and any problems they have without you reacting negatively, but, instead, absorbing their words and understand their feelings. Too often we think it’s our job to give advice to a problem, but emphatic listening is about giving your partner attention and letting them vent, without giving suggestions.

It may sound easy, but it’s much more difficult than it first seems. Once you get good at emphatic listening, though, it’s something that can improve communication and trust, which, in effect, is a way to help save a relationship

Saving a relationship can be as simple as forgiving and giving back conditional regard

People make mistakes, there’s no way around that. Anyone who tries not to make mistakes — especially in a relationship — is already setting themselves up for failure, so it’s important to have a partner who understands that things aren’t always going to be perfect.

When bad things do happen, that’s expected, it’s just a matter of how you both respond to them that can make the difference between saving a relationship and seeing one crash and burn.

That’s why forgiving and giving back conditional regard is important, guys, because it shows each other that you’re both accepting and supportive of one another no matter what happens. It can be difficult to not snap and give your opinions after something bad happens, but, if you’re able to give this kind of forgiveness, so, too, will your partner over time.

It may feel like you’re being taken advantage of at first, and, if that happens, make sure you communicate with your girlfriend that it seems uneven. If she reacts negatively, then your mind might want to reconsider even trying to save a relationship, because dating takes a lot of giving and taking to be successful.