How To Make Suggestions Without Nagging

Last night, I was a bit of a nag. When my fiancÚ pulled out a bag of potato chips, I told him I thought he should eat less processed food. I want him to be healthy, and I want us to have a future together that is as free of illness as possible. I love him and I want the best for him. So, concerned that my message wasn’t sinking in, I repeated it. Several times.

What I finally realized was that I was not making my point in a caring and supportive way. I was making him feel judged and bullied. He has been making real efforts to eat more healthfully, and I should have acknowledged and encouraged those efforts last night, rather than demanding more.

There is a fine line between constructive criticism and nagging. It has to do with ego. Last night, I wanted my fiancÚ to say that I was right. That he would give up processed food because he knew that everything I was saying was correct. A sentiment that originally came from a place of genuine love and concern was transformed into an ego-fueled quest to win a disagreement.

So how do we make suggestions without nagging? Recognize the other person’s efforts and accomplishments. Do not be critical or judgmental – meet the other person where he or she is. Be sure to emphasize that the suggestion is being made out of love. Keep in mind why you’re making the suggestion. When we make genuine suggestions, it is out of concern for the other person. But when we nag, it is simply our ego wanting to be right.

 

Related:
Is Criticism Ever Constructive?
Are You Addicted to Your Ego?
Accepting Criticism

325 comments

Aud Nordby
Aud nordby3 years ago

ty

Elena T.
Elena Poensgen3 years ago

Thank you :)

Aud Nordby
Aud nordby3 years ago

ty

Ro H.
Ro H.3 years ago

ty

Danuta Watola
Danuta Watola3 years ago

Thanks for sharing this info.

Dawn D.
Dawn D.3 years ago

why's it gotta be a girl in the pic? you know that ain't right

Patricia Geraldes

Thanks for the article.

Margaret M.
Margaret M. F.3 years ago

Thank-you for posting this article. Many times it is not necessarily what you say but more of how you say it. I also feel that the human nature tends to be quick to complain &/or criticize rather than complimenting someone on a job well done. A lot also depends on the person/people & the situation. When the situation is really awkward I find that prefacing what ever it is I am going to say with something like, 'I don't mean to be offensive...' & continue from there. Letting the person you are speaking with know that from the start I think possibly helps to quell any negative thoughts. Also, it needs to be remembered that actions, or lack of them, can speak louder than words.

Margaret M.
Margaret M. F.3 years ago

Thank-you for posting this article. Many times it is not necessarily what you say but more of how you say it. I also feel that the human nature tends to be quick to complain &/or criticize rather than complimenting someone on a job well done. A lot also depends on the person/people & the situation. When the situation is really awkward I find that prefacing what ever it is I am going to say with something like, 'I don't mean to be offensive...' & continue from there. Letting the person you are speaking with know that from the start I think possibly helps to quell any negative thoughts. Also, it needs to be remembered that actions, or lack of them, can speak louder than words.

Margaret M.
Margaret M. F.3 years ago

Thank-you for posting this article. Many times it is not necessarily what you say but more of how you say it. I also feel that the human nature tends to be quick to complain &/or criticize rather than complimenting someone on a job well done. A lot also depends on the person/people & the situation. When the situation is really awkward I find that prefacing what ever it is I am going to say with something like, 'I don't mean to be offensive...' & continue from there. Letting the person you are speaking with know that from the start I think possibly helps to quell any negative thoughts. Also, it needs to be remembered that actions, or lack of them, can speak louder than words.