How to Quit Nagging and Start Communicating


Photo courtesy of a2gemma

Women have endlessly been type-cast as naggers on comedic TV shows and in famous comedy sketches around the world. Unfortunately, there’s a reason why we find those bits so funny – there’s more than an element of truth to them.

Of course, any duo that’s comprised of a Type-A, super-organized person and an easily distracted, forgetful type is bound to face a fair amount of conflict, whether the Type-A is a female or not. Howard Markman, professor of psychology at The University of Denver, says that although either sex can nag, women are the more likely offenders because as a rule they feel more responsible for keeping the home and family running smoothly. Women are also more sensitive to early changes in relationships, so when they ask and don’t receive, they know something is amiss and begin to panic.

It’s kind of obvious that being endlessly nagged is annoying and can be quite detrimental to any relationship. What’s not as obvious is that even the naggers hate nagging! So, why do they do it? And how can they stop?

The most important thing to realize is that naggers pester the people they love and care about the most. The closeness of a relationship can lead to a comfort level that allows nagging to stem from concern. Unfortunately, even though it may come from a good place, constant reminding, bugging and nitpicking feels a far cry from love. It’s an important behavior to self-assess if relationships are to flourish.

To be clear, psychologists say that there are definitely more than one type of naggers – not all reminders are bad, and some are actually part of being a good person.  It’s all in how you go about it and why you’re doing it in the first place.

Gentle reminders that genuinely come from a loving place aren’t normally something to worry about. Especially if the gestures are meant for your children, and they’re still relatively young. Be aware though, that what you may perceive as gentle reminders may actually feel quite annoying to others, such as a partner, spouse, and older children (teens.)

If you feel like you’re being ignored – you probably are. Asking someone to meet your needs multiple times with no response is a definite problem – and not only yours. The reason for your nagging is that you feel unheard, and oftentimes the reason you’re being ignored is because the other person feels harassed.

The solution is just as twofold as the problem, as it involves both players. And since Dr. Markman suggests that “Nagging is an enemy of love, if allowed to persist,” it’s something to address as soon as you recognize it in your relationship, or preferably, avoid it altogether.

The best way to eliminate the need for nagging in your relationship is to open the lines of communication from the very beginning, or as early as possible. When I met my current husband, I knew that nagging was a no-no because I had already been married once before.

It’s vital to be heard in any relationship, especially those that are most important in our lives. The key is to agree on a system of airing grievances that works for both of you. Create wording that makes both of you feel safe and avoid insulting or belittling each other at all times. On the flip side, when your partner asks you for something important, make sure you deliver. This system of safe and gentle sharing along with follow through develops trust, security, and appreciation, which will allow your relationship to succeed and your self-worth to skyrocket.

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