How Nagging Ruins Your Relationship [2]

Nagging, in interpersonal communication, is repetitious behaviour in the form of pestering, hectoring, or otherwise continuously urging an individual to complete previously discussed requests or act on advice. As expressed by Elizabeth Bernstein, a Wall Street Journal reporter, nagging is “the interaction in which one person repeatedly makes a request, the other person repeatedly ignores it and both become increasingly annoyed”. Thus, nagging is a form of persistent persuasion that is more repetitive than aggressive and it is an interaction to which each party contributes. Nagging is a very common form of persuasion used in all aspects of life including domestic and professional. It is also a common practice in order to avoid more aggressive persuasive moves like threats.


Whether as a parent, wife or husband, no one starts out wanting to be a nag — it just seems to happen. It may seem like reminding your child to do his homework is a good thing, so why doesn’t it work? Or asking your spouse to do something. Here are some ideas as to why this traditional method of motivation is anything but motivating, and why it may be infact, ruining your relationship.

5. It’s negative reinforcement. 

Nagging says, in effect, “I will stop punishing you with this annoying nagging when you do what I want you to.” And the person being nagged feels that as soon as he does one task to make you stop nagging, you will just nag about another one.

6. It leads to unresolved issues.

Arguments become about the nagging, rather than the real underlying issues, such as trust (yours) and responsibility (his). Instead of making him your enemy, see his side and help him see yours. Maybe he’s overworked and stressed, or maybe you’re juggling too many chores and need help. Communicate with each other!

7. Nagging can make you feel controlled, and no one likes to feel that way. 

Being nagged feels like you’re being manipulated, and tends to make the “nag-ee” feel like digging in his or her heels instead of doing what he or she is being nagged to do.

8. Talk is cheap, and nagging simply comes down to words.

Kids (and spouses, for that matter) find it pretty easy to “duck” annoying words. They have learned that you are just talk, and you’ll eventually end up doing the task yourself; all they have to do is weather the word storm to make you go away.

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