12 Positive Alternatives to Nagging

Picture this:


Wife: “Can you pick up your clothes in the bathroom?

Husband: “Sure.”

Wife, one hour later: “I asked you to pick up your clothes.


Husband: “I said I will. I will get to it.”

Wife, two hours later and rather pissed: “You said you would pick up your clothes! Was that too much to ask? I guess I have to do everything for you!

Husband, irritated:Can you just stop nagging me?!


Sound familiar?


No, you say. I'm a Guy. Guys don't nag. Yeah, right. And cats don't use humans as their personal servants.





Men Nag, Too.


Although the term nagging is typically applied to women, it is something that men do as well.

Men who nag might be called domineering or wrathful. Women who nag may be called pestering or fussy.

So, while women who nag are seen (or heard) as irritating, men who nag are seen as controlling or as having anger issues.


Can Nagging Harm A Relationship?

It isn’t the nagging in itself that causes the problems, but rather the underlying communication issues that make the nagging occur.


Nagging is ineffective and puts a strain on your relationships. Instead, try some of these ways to get what you want. Some are so easy you can start doing them immediately while you work your way up to the more advanced strategies. Simple Alternatives to Nagging


  1. Do the math. What's that phrase? "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result." The tenth time is likely to turn out the same as the first nine attempts. Limit yourself to three tries then take a new approach. You have everything to gain.

  2. Focus on the positive. Keep your eye on the big picture. When you think about how your family, friends, and colleagues enrich your life, it's easier to cut them some slack on the less pleasant details of your interactions.

  3. Do it yourself. It may be faster and more satisfying to complete a task yourself rather than waiting for someone else to do it. Learn to replace the furnace filter. Sweep the stairs or wash the dishes even when your spouse was going to do those jobs this week. If you have to remind someone more than twice, there's a good chance they've got something else going on that's preventing them from doing it.

  4. Become more flexible. Is Kyle's method of making the bed different from your own? Does Loretta just throw it over the pillows and call it a day? Maybe learn to live without the hospital corners.

  5. Engage outside help. Consider paying professionals for chores that cause ongoing conflicts. A weekly housecleaning service may be worth the investment.

  6. Streamline your workload. Chronic irritability is often a sign that you're trying to do too much. Figure out which responsibilities are priorities and which you can put aside.

  7. Embrace technology. Brief text messages and automated calendar reminders deliver the same information with less risk of putting people on the defensive. Remind your partner that you have a dinner party tonight without saying a word.

  8. Take a time out. Deal with sensitive subjects when you're feeling calm and collected. Sometimes the best thing you can do is take a walk until you settle down.

More Advanced Alternatives to Nagging




  1. Address the root issues. Probe more deeply to see if nagging is a symptom of deeper issues in your relationships. Marital counseling, coaching, or a seminar may help you get to the bottom of what's going on.

  2. Ask for what you want directly. Work up the courage to state what you need clearly and tactfully. One skillful message beats years of beating around the bush.

  3. Listen well. Practice attentive listening. Concentrate on what the other person is saying and confirm that you understand. It's easier to cooperate with each other when we feel validated and cared for.

  4. Nurture your self-esteem. Some studies suggest that people are prone to nagging because they feel like they have less power or that their voice isn't being heard. Encourage yourself with positive self-talk and pursue meaningful goals. Feeling strong and secure makes you less vulnerable to finding faults in others. If you're tired of repeating the same requests without getting the results you desire, it's time to try some alternatives to nagging. Change your expectations and improve your communication skills. You may wind up with a happier relationship and a cleaner house.


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