Science Submits to Nagging: My Response
Well, science has finally done it! What’s it? Given aid and comfort to the nags and whiners (whingers in some parts) of the world! Woohoo! The message from the data – Go ahead and drive people to exhaustion, it works! When their defenses are down, when they can’t put up any more of a fight, YOU WIN! Well, that’s someone’s interpretation. Not mine.
I was reading an article in the The Australian about this, and was left with some nagging questions. Sure, this bad behavior works in the short term, but what are the long term consequences? What happens to the relationship when this is the method used to get what a person wants? What happens when you see one of these folks coming? What happens when you learn the trick and know how to counter it? Alas, the study offered no such insights.
Now, I don’t have much science to back me up on this, and I confess that what I’m about to say is mostly opinion, tempered with real world experience derived from over two and a half decades of my own studies into human behavior. Nagging and whining work, but only to a point. And that point is often the breaking point in relationships, and the backlash can be significant.
Nags and Whiners become unwanted and unwelcome. They come across as negative, obnoxious and oblivious to their effect on others. And those who deal with these bad behaviors tend to go out of their way to stay out of the way, and dismissive of other more productive behaviors when coming from a grievous source.
If a person wants long term persuasive success, then building relationship almost always works better than tearing apart and beating others down. If a person wants the next interaction to be simpler than the last, more productive than then last, less work than the last, whining and nagging just don’t cut it.
I could go on, but I have no desire to be whiner or nag myself. I like people. I believe in their capacity to learn, grow and change for the better. And when articles like this one draw erroneous and potentially damaging conclusions, I choose to make the case clear for those with the desire to hear. Enough said. I end this post here.
Rick is a best selling author and the founder of the Art of Change Skills for Life. His book titles include, Dealing with People You Can’t Stand: How to bring out the best in people at their worst, Life by Design and Influence and the Art of Persuasion. These days he is spending quality time away from the spotlight enjoying the company of his wife and practicing his electric guitar.