Monday, July 9, 2007

Oh, How I Hate to Nag, but...

Gretchen Ruben's article on the Huffington Post is a good reminder of how to communicate successfully.

Her 8 tips on how to stop the nagging:

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.


Clever list. In our relationship, I'm usually the nagging offender. But as you can see from this list, it's not a one-sided equation. Both parties are responsible for maintaining the lines of communication. I might think I'm reminding him to do something that he keeps forgetting about, but he's actually avoiding the task for some particular reason, so he just thinks I'm nagging. I do it because I'm concerned (e.g., did you take your vitamin), and as far as I can tell, he prefers avoiding the confrontation caused by "no, I haven't booked the tickets, yet." And it goes both ways. I've gotten my fair share of "have you eaten lunch?"

One *quiet* thing that's helped us is Backpack. We share a "to-do" list, and either of us can add things as needed, or check them off as completed. A nice, quick way to communicate without the confrontation. And all I have to say is "have you checked our list?"