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Last Updated on August 14, 2020

How to Stop Nagging And Communicate With Your Partner Better

How to Stop Nagging And Communicate With Your Partner Better

Asking for the same thing over and over again isn’t fun for anybody. Repeating yourself makes you feel like a nag and makes them feel bad about themselves. Not to mention, it drives you both crazy.

So, how do you break the cycle of nagging?

Learning how to quit nagging and start talking isn’t as complicated as it seems. It’s all about opening up those lines of communication and adjusting your expectations.

Keep reading for 6 easy steps on how to stop nagging and learn how to open a healthy dialogue with your spouse.

1. Watch Your Words

It’s natural to feel exasperated if you feel your spouse isn’t pulling their weight around the house, but the last thing you want to do is put your partner on the defensive. How can you avoid this? Simply put, listen to the way you’re asking your partner for help.

How you think you’re saying things: “Honey, I would really appreciate it if you did the dishes while I’m at work.”

How you’re actually saying things: “How are you so oblivious that you don’t even see those dishes piling up while I’m at work?”

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As we can see from this example, your words and the way you make requests of your spouse matter. Instead of making them feel guilty or belittled, phrase it in a way that makes them feel good.

“I would really appreciate your help with…”

“It always makes me feel good when…”

“You’re my hero when you…”

The above openers are great conversation starters.

2. Don’t Believe in Mind Reading

Men and women have a terrible habit of believing that, after a time, their spouse knows them so well that they should be able to understand what they want without ever having to tell them. This is a cute thought but rarely is it ever true.

Any marriage therapist will tell you that your spouse cannot read your mind. If you need something from them, you need to learn to ask for it.[1]

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You can start by sending out little cues that you want X or Y, but if they don’t catch on by the time you get to Z, it’s time to start communicating with your words.

Not only does this save your spouse from playing a guessing game, but it also saves you a lot of frustration.

3. Make It a Shared Decision

One way to stop nagging and start being proactive is by getting your partner involved.

Problem-solving isn’t something you should do on your own. When you are married or in a serious relationship, you are partners, not parents to each other.

What your job isn’t: Mummying your spouse and telling them what to do.

What your job is: To come together as a couple and work at healthy conflict resolution. Identify the problem you’re having in a kind and respectful manner and then ask your partner to weigh in on how to resolve the conflict at hand.

The keys to great problem-solving are empathy, communication, and listening to each other.

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4. Take a Marriage Course

The need to nag comes down to a fundamental lack of communication in a relationship.[2] When both partners are open and honest about their needs, conversation flows, and partners look for ways to help each other out – instead of being told to do so.

Instead of seeing a marriage therapist, why not take a marriage course?

There are plenty of online courses designed to help couples understand each other better. Topics covered in a popular online marriage course include setting shared goals as a couple, building compassion and empathy, mastering the art of communication, intimacy, and making and sharing traditions.

5. Get Your Partner to Hear You

No partner wants to be a nag, and the argument could be made that if the spouse or child did what they asked the first time, they wouldn’t have to keep bringing it up, which effectively stops nagging.

A fair point!

But harping at people doesn’t usually get the job done – so how DO you get someone to listen without nagging them?

The best way to get your partner to listen to you and avoid ending up in a marriage course for couples on the brink of destruction is to get them to see things from your perspective.[3] Relate your situation to something they can understand.

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One stay-at-home mom and homemaker worked hard to keep her house neat and tidy, but her construction worker husband would come home and walk through the freshly mopped hardwood floors with his dusty work boots on. She asked him to take his boots off repeatedly, but he could never seem to follow through.

One day she said to him, “Keeping the house clean is my job, just like doing drywall is your job. When you come home and walk through the house with your boots on after I just finished cleaning it, it’s as if I came to your construction site and ripped down the drywall you put up that day. Do you see how I could find this to be frustrating?”

The wife used an example the husband could understand, and so he became more empathetic to her desires.

6. Do It Yourself, If Possible

As they say, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.”

To decrease nagging, ask yourself whether what you’re about to say is worth getting upset over and whether it’s worth taking the task into your own hands.

Sure, it’d be nice if your spouse refilled the compost bag so you don’t have to do it, but the next time you’re getting ready to nag about it, ask yourself: Is a compost bag worth starting World War III over?

If you want to break the cycle of nagging without ending up in the office of a marriage therapist, you need to learn how to rephrase your requests. Speak respectfully and work on building empathy in your relationship. A marriage course can also help build communication and work on your conflict resolution skills.

Final Thoughts

Communication is key to any relationship, and it’s especially more important for partners. Sometimes, a person may feel like they’re communicating properly, unaware that their partner is already hearing them nagging. These 6 tips will help you stop nagging and communicate better with your partner.

Learn More About Communicating With Your Partner Better

Featured photo credit: Milan Popovic via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Sylvia Smith

Sylvia is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt its principles in their relationships.

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Published on September 23, 2020

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

I don’t know about you, but many times when I hear the word negotiate I think of lawyers working out a business deal or having to do battle with a car salesman to try to get a lower price. Since I am in recruiting, the term “negotiation” comes up when someone is attempting to get a higher compensation package.

If we think about it, we tend to negotiate almost every day in a wide variety of things we do. Getting a handle on the important negotiation skills can be incredibly beneficial in many parts of our lives. Let’s take a look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

What is Negotiation?

First, let’s take a look at what negotiation is. Put simply, negotiation is a method by which people settle their differences. It is a process in which compromise or agreement can be reached without argument or dispute.

Anytime two people or sides disagree on something, they are almost always looking for the best possible outcome for their side. This could be from an individual’s perspective or someone representing an organization.

In reality, it’s rare that one side gets everything they want and the other side gets nothing that they are seeking. Seeking to reach a common ground of sorts where both sides feel like they are getting most of what they want is the key to being successful and maintaining the relationship.

Places We Negotiate

I’ve mentioned that we negotiate in just about all phases of our life. For those of you who are shaking your head no, I invite you to think about the following:

1. Work/Business

This one is the most obvious and it’s what naturally comes to mind when we think of the word “negotiate”.

When you first started at your current job, you might have asked for a higher salary. It could be that you delivered a huge new client to your company and used this as leverage in your most recent evaluation for more compensation. If you work with vendors (and just about every company does), maybe you worked them to a lower price or better contract terms.

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In recruiting, I negotiate with candidates and hiring managers all the time to land the best talent I can find. It’s very common to accept additional work with the (sometimes spoken, sometimes unspoken) agreement that it will benefit your career in the future.

Recently, I took over a project that was my boss was working on so that I would be able to attend a conference later in the year. And so it goes, we do this all day long at work.

2. Personal

I don’t know about you, but I negotiate with my spouse all the time. I’ll cook dinner with the understanding that she does the dishes. Who wants to mow the lawn and who wants to vacuum and dust the house?

I think we should save 10% for retirement, but she thinks 5% is plenty. Therefore, we save 8%. And don’t even get me started with my kids. My older daughter can borrow my car as soon as she finishes her chores. My younger daughter can go hang out with her friends when her homework is done.

Then, there are all those interactions in our personal lives outside our homes. The carpenter wants to charge me $12,000 to build a new deck. I think $10,000 is plenty so we agree on $11,000. I ask my neighbor if I can borrow his snowblower in the winter if I invite him over the next time I grill steak. And so on.

3. Ourselves

You didn’t expect this one, did you? We negotiate with ourselves all day long.

I’ll make sure I don’t skip my workout tomorrow since I’m going to have that extra piece of pizza. My spouse has been quiet the last few days, is it worth me asking her about, or should I leave it alone? I think the car place charged me for some repairs that weren’t needed, should I say something or just let it go? I know my friend has been having some personal challenges, should I check in with him? We’ve been friends for a long time, I’m sure he’d come to me if he needed help. I’ve got the #4 pick in this year’s Fantasy Football draft, should I choose a running back or a wide receiver?

Think about that non-stop voice inside your head. It always seems to be chattering away about something and many times, it’s us negotiating with ourselves. I’ll finish up that report that the boss needs before I turn on the football game.

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Why Negotiation Skills Are So Important

Put simply, negotiation skills are important because we all interact with other people, and not only other people but other organizations and groups of people as well.

We all rarely want the same thing or outcome. Most of the time a vendor is looking at getting you to pay a higher price for something than you want to spend. Therefore, it’s important to negotiate to some middle ground that works well for both sides.

My wife and I disagree on how much to save for retirement. If we weren’t married it wouldn’t be an issue. We’d each contribute how much we wanted to on our retirement funds. We choose to be married, so we have to come to some agreement that we both feel comfortable with. We have to compromise. Therefore, we have to negotiate.

If we each lived on a planet by ourselves, we would be free to do just about anything we wanted to. We wouldn’t have to compromise with anyone because we wouldn’t interact with anyone. We would make every choice unilaterally the way we wanted to.

As we all know, this isn’t how things are. We are constantly interacting with other people and organizations, each one with their own agenda’s, viewpoints, and opinions. Therefore, we have to be able to work together.

6 Negotiation Skills to Master

Having strong negotiation skills helps us create win-win situations with others, allowing us to get most of what we want in conjunction with others around us.

Now, let’s look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

1. Preparation

Preparation is a key place to start with when getting ready to negotiate. Being prepared means having a clear vision of what you want and how you’d go about achieving it. It means knowing what the end goal looks like and also what you are willing to give to get it.

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It also means knowing who you are negotiating with and what areas they might be willing to compromise on. You should also know what your “bottom line” is. By “bottom line” I mean what is the most you are willing to give up to get what you want.

For instance, several years ago, I decided it was time to get a newer car. I say newer because I wanted a “new to me” car, not a brand new car. I did my research and figured out what type of car I wanted. I decided on what must-have items on the car I wanted, the highest amount of miles that would already be on it, the colors I was willing to get it in, and the highest amount of money I was willing to pay.

After visiting numerous car dealerships I was able to negotiate buying a car. I knew what I was willing to give up (amount of money) and what I was willing to accept, things like the color, amount of miles, etc. I came prepared. This is critical.

2. Clear Communication

The next key skill you need to be an effective negotiator is clear communication. You have to be able to clearly articulate what you want to the other party. This means both clear verbal and written communication.

If you can’t clearly tell the other person what you want, how do you expect to get it? Have you ever worked through something with a vendor or someone else only to learn of a surprise right at the end that wasn’t talked about before? This is not what you would call clear communication. It’s essential to be able to share a coherent and logical vision with the person you are working with.

3. Active Listening

Let’s do a quick review of active listening. This is when you are completely focused on the speaker, understand their message, comprehend the information, and respond appropriately. This is a necessary ingredient to be able to negotiate successfully. You must be able to fully focus on the other person’s wants to completely understand them.

If you aren’t giving them your full attention, you may miss some major points or details. This leads to frustration down the road on both sides. Ensure you are employing your active listening skills when in arbitration mode.

4. Teamwork and Collaboration

To be able to get to a place of common ground and a win-win scenario, you have to have a sense of teamwork and collaboration.

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If you are only thinking about yourself and what you want without giving much care to what the other person is wanting, you are bound to wind up without a solution. The other person may get frustrated and give up if they see you are unwilling to meet them halfway or care little for what they want.

When you collaborate, you are working together to help each other get what is most important to you. The other upside to negotiating with a sense of teamwork and collaboration is that it helps create a sense of trust, which, in turn, helps provide positive energy for working to a successful conclusion.

5. Problem Solving

Problem-solving is another key negotiation skill. When you are working with the other person to get the deal done many times you’ll face new challenges along the way.

Maybe you want a new vendor to provide training on the software they are selling you but they say it’s going to cost an additional $20,000 to provide this service. If you don’t have the additional $20,000 in the budget to spend on the software but you feel the training is critical, how are you going to solve that problem?

From what I’ve seen, most vendors aren’t willing to provide additional services without getting paid for them. This is where problem-solving skills will help continue the discussions. You might suggest to the vendor that your company will also be looking to replace their financial software next year, and you’d be happy to ensure they get one of the first seats at the table when the time comes if they could perhaps lower the pricing on their training.

There’s a solution to most challenges, but it takes problem-solving skills to work through them effectively.

6. Decision-Making Ability

Finally, having strong decision-making ability will help you seal the deal when you get to a place where everyone feels like they are getting what works for them. Each step of the way you can cross off the list when you get what you are looking for and decide to move onto the next item. Then, once you have all of your must-have boxes checked and the other side feels good about things, it’s time to shake hands and sign on the dotted line. Powerful decision-making ability will help you get to the finish line together.

Conclusion

There you have it, 6 effective negotiation skills to master to lead a more fulfilling life. Once we realize that we negotiate in one form or another almost every day in every phase of our lives, we realize how critical a skill it is.

Possessing strong negotiation skills will help you in nearly every one of your relationships at both the workplace and in your personal life. If you feel your arbitration tools could use some sharpening, try some of the 6 effective negotiation skills to master that we’ve talked about.

More Tips to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

Featured photo credit: Windows via unsplash.com

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