Noticing vs. Nagging

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In a perfect world we would be in  loving relationships with individuals who are caring, attentive, affectionate and invested but the truth of the matter is there is no such thing as a perfect relationship…or a perfect partner for that matter. I know we stress the importance of communication but nothing is ever simply cut and dry.

Communicating with your partner can be a pleasurable experience and conversely it can sometimes be as precarious as walking through a minefield. Think back to when you were a child and your parent would say “It’s not what you say; it’s how you say it.” In that statement they were giving you the HOLY GRAIL of communication tools!!! Be forewarned, even with the holy grail firmly within your grasp you may still hit some communication roadblocks with your mate and that is when you must dig a little deeper to understand the basis of the obstacle(s).

Some people notice everything and many notice nothing! It is the way of the world and it doesn’t make one person better than another within the relationship. Some people don’t like to be criticized so in that case everything you say to them will be taken with a negative connotation and perceived as nagging. On the other hand, some people are completely open and welcome the criticism and they view it as just an observation from their mate.

Nagging – 1. continually faultfinding; complaining or petulant. 2. persistently recurring; unrelenting.

Noticing – 1. observation, perception, attention or heed. 2. an announcement or intimation of something impending; a warning.

Before you get frustrated and throw in the towel when encountering a situation in which you are being accused of nagging ask yourself the following:

  1. is this issue really important?
  2. is the concern coming from a place of care and/or love?
  3. is your inquiry and/or observation being worded to purposely hurt your mate?
  4. is your overall intent hurtful in any way?

Your answers to the previous 4 questions will determine (to some degree…there are more questions) if you are noticing things or just plain ole nagging. Here at Notations of a Nappy Gryl we like to inform as well as enlighten so if the questions stumped you here are the answers (from a healthy relationship):

  1. Yes – when you broach a subject with your mate it should be of some importance to one of you. After all, if it’s not important why are you even bothering to discuss it.
  2. Yes – anytime you open a dialogue with your partner about something that has an effect on your relationship it should be from a place of caring and concern.
  3. No – the foundation of all relationships should be love so the act of intentionally hurting your mate with your words is completely counter-productive to the fostering of a healthy relationship and/or effective communication.
  4. No – just because you notice/observe something doesn’t mean that it needs to be discussed openly. Some things should be kept to yourself as there are instances in which no matter how it’s worded – the message is hurtful and make no concession; YOU know when something will be hurtful to your mate wayyyyyy before you ever open your mouth.

Notice the word should was used quite a bit and that is because with every relationship there is always the variable of the people in it. Not everyone is open to observation and not everyone knows how to convey what they have observed – therein lies the ability to decipher the difference between noticing something about your relationship/mate and nagging your mate about something.

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