Are You A Nag? Try New Ways of Dealing with Others

Communication Relationships


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So many times, people become upset because they are continually telling someone what should be done without results. They nag and nag about the issue, but nothing changes. Then they try to recruit others to join the game of trying to motivate through repeated conversation. Over time, the talk has the same power as Charlie Brown's teacher. Wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah.

Eventually the target of the chatter becomes angry and starts pointing the finger at the reformer! They deflect the problem onto the person who is trying to bring positive change.

Are you a nag? Have you been trying to "fix" or change another person who is not responding the way you want? Are you noticing that the other person's situation is worsening and that you are wearing down?

Unfortunately, no matter how dysfunctional someone's life appears to be, that person will never change unless they think that life isn't working for them anymore. It is not your opinion or judgement or suggestions that will make the difference. No matter how positive you are or how eager to offer support, your actions are really only wearing you down.

Here are some things that you can do differently:

  1. Focus on your own behaviour. Make sure that you are practicing self-care with healthy eating, sleeping and accessing resources that will build you up.
    2. Clearly, and without emotion, write down the things that you have valued about the other person and the things that you want to see changed.
    3. Add a deadline to your request stating that you will talk again on the deadline to discuss what will happen next based on the situation at that time.
    4. State positive and negative consequences of their actions without threatening the other person. For example, if you pass your biology exam, we will go out for dinner to celebrate. If you abuse me in the future, I will the call police.
    5. Do not let their crisis become your crisis. If you have plans and the other person is demanding or dramatic, don't get derailed but instead carry on with your plans.
    6. Make sure that you are not doing what you are asking the other person to stop or start doing! If you want them to get up earlier in the day, make sure you are up. If you want them to clean up their desk, ensure that yours is clean.
    7. Let the other person make their choices and experience the consequences without trying to "save" them.
    8. Do not expect the other person to think or do things the way that you would.
    9. Never blame yourself for the choices that the other person makes.
    10. Enjoy the serenity that results when you learn to live and let live.

Dr. Linda Hancock, the author of “Life is An Adventure…every step of the way” and “Open for Business Success” is a Registered Psychologist who has a private practice in Medicine Hat. She can be reached at 403-529-6877 or through email office@drlindahancock.com


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