Nagging is unpleasant for both participants. If you find yourself on the naggee side of the equation, how can you put a stop to the nagging? Try these strategies:
One main reason for nagging is that a naggee isn’t responding. Some folks seem to think if they don’t answer, somehow, all will be forgotten. To the contrary. Because the nagger doesn’t feel heard, the nagging continues unabated. So if you’re being nagged:
1. Answer, to show that you’ve registered what was said. “Okay, I need to stop at the store on the way home.”
2. Commit to a deadline. “I don’t have time today or tomorrow to deal with the car insurance, but it’s on my calendar for Friday, and I’ll take care of it then.”
One unpleasant thing about being nagged is hearing the nag, nag, nag voice in your ear.
3. Find a WORDLESS way to be reminded to do a chore. Ask the nagger to put light-bulbs on the counter if the light-bulbs need to be replaced.
4. Ask to be reminded in writing, with notes or emails. This method is also more efficient and helpful.
Instead of just ignoring the nagging, explain why you’re not responding:
5. If you’re being nagged to take an umbrella, eat breakfast, or put on a coat, remind the nagger that you are a grown-up, and you choose not to do so.
6. If, in truth, you simply aren’t going to do something, tell the nagger that you’re not going to do it. A nagger would prefer to KNOW that you won’t do it rather than to be kept in frustrated suspense – especially because often, your stalling makes the task ultimately more difficult to accomplish.
Remove the prompt for the nagging:
7. Sometimes we have an aversion to a particular chore. If you’re always being nagged to do the dishes because you HATE doing dishes, try saying, “For some reason, I hate doing dishes. Is there something else I could do, as a substitute?”
8. Throw money at the problem. Marital happiness is a high life priority. Instead of buying a new kitchen table, spend the money to hire a teenager to mow the lawn.
And naggees – remember, one obvious way to stop being nagged is to DO YOUR SHARE! If you never follow through, if you never do a chore without being repeatedly asked to do it, if you never pitch in, you know why you’re being nagged.
It’s no fun to be nagged, and it’s no fun to be a nag. It’s worth putting some thought into cutting down on this noise in your household.
If you’re in the mood for a more scholarly approach to happiness, try poking around on Happiness and Public Policy–it has a lot of interesting, provocative material. It hasn’t updated in a little while, but there’s plenty of information there to keep a reader busy.
If you’re new to the Happiness Project, you may want to consider subscribing to my RSS feed: Subscribe to this blog’s feed.