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How to get your point across without nagging

Nagging is one of the biggest points of contention in many relationships. We all do it at some point or another, but the key is to avoid letting it become a habit.

Woman nagging boyfriend

There are better, more effective ways to get your point across — that won’t drive your partner crazy.

Be direct — with a smile

If you want something done, or if something your partner does is bothering you (he never cleans up, he’s always late), be clear about how you feel, but do so with a smile. You can be direct without coming across as a nag if you’re nice about it. Keep your tone light and even (no raising your voice), and avoid being accusatory (e.g. “you never do this”). The more easygoing you are about what you want, the more likely you are to get it.

Be clear about what you want

If you would like your spouse or partner to do more around the house, be specific about where you need help. If you just say something vague, such as, “This place is such a mess,” every day with a scowl, he may never take the hint that you want help. But if you give him a few specific tasks and explain why it would be nice if he did them, he’ll know what to do and why, rather than just feeling like you’re constantly upset with him.

Avoid sarcasm

It’s easy to succumb to sarcasm when you want something done (that seems to never get done), but doing so will just upset the other person. People can’t help but respond negatively to sarcasm, so if you want something done, request it in a way that’s non-confrontational.

Don’t say: “Are you ever going to get off the couch and take the garbage out?”

Say: “Would you mind taking out the garbage while I clean up after dinner?”

Keep it short and sweet

Going on a 20-minute rant about how he never puts his dirty clothes in the hamper isn’t going to help you. It’s just going to make your guy roll his eyes in frustration. Keep your request short and sweet to ensure you get your point across and he listens to what it is you want.

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