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How To Make Suggestions Without Nagging

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

Read more: Love, Relationships, Spirit, , ,

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Sarah Cooke

Sarah Cooke is a writer living in California. She is interested in organic food and green living. Sarah holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Naropa University, an M.A. in Humanities from NYU, and a B.A. in Political Science from Loyola Marymount University. She has written for a number of publications, and she studied Pastry Arts at the Institute for Culinary Education. Her interests include running, yoga, baking, and poetry. Read more on her blog.

325 comments

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10:10AM PDT on Apr 13, 2013

ty

3:31AM PDT on Apr 3, 2013

Thank you :)

3:46PM PDT on Mar 22, 2013

ty

7:03AM PDT on Mar 22, 2013

ty

12:27AM PDT on Aug 24, 2012

Thanks for sharing this info.

11:40AM PDT on Aug 17, 2012

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

5:27PM PDT on Jul 22, 2012

Thanks for the article.

11:28PM PDT on Jul 20, 2012

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.

11:28PM PDT on Jul 20, 2012

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.

11:28PM PDT on Jul 20, 2012

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.

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