Women nag. It is their gift to make up for cramps, cellulite and labour pains. Over the years, women have been nagging their men about various things—from not picking up dirty socks to forgetting important dates in life. We know men are bad at it, but then that’s what they are. Women will continue with their rant until the world becomes a better living place. And we know that feminine nagging is the bane of your life, and all you want is to stop it.
Allow us to make your day. Here are some revelations about how any man can end the nagging in his life without—and this is key—giving in to it. The trick? Simply understanding your partner’s motive for haranguing you in the first place, then employing the proper counter-strategy to calm her up. Here you will find four ways men get nagged, four tricks for squelching those nags, and four strategies to use in case those tricks don’t work.
The Nag: You never tell me anything! She asks what happened at work today. You say, ‘Nothing’— a true statement in your book. Even so, she immediately gripes that you’re shutting her out of your life.
What not to say : “I don’t tell you anything? You never shut up long enough to give me a chance.”
Why she gets so bent : Men see communication as an exchange of useful information, so in your mind nothing you could tell your partner about your day would be of any use to her. But when she asks you what happened, she wants feelings, details, snippets of dialogue. To her mind, the answer is never ‘nothing.' “This frustration belongs to both partners, in fact. In a successful relationship, both partners need to feel involved in each other’s life. If you take the initiative to share things or discuss your day with her, you’ll allow her to be more involved. Then obviously the nagging will stop. You also won’t feel left out if she tells you everything about her day,” explains Dr Samir Parikh, consultant psychiatrist and chief of the department of mental health and behavioural sciences, Max Healthcare, New Delhi.
Sneaky trick to stop it : Introduce her to one of your female co-workers. If their friendship gels, your partner will soon be telling you what’s happening at your job. Warning: run this scam with plain-looking workmates only. “This may not work so well because, after all, for your wife nothing can substitute you,” cautions Dr Parikh.
Backup strategy : You can make this nag less onerous by negotiating a moment of silence when you come home. “Better to say you need half an hour alone than to have the same tense conversation day after day, where you feel interrogated and she feels ignored,” says Brian Kane, PhD, of Allentown College of St Francis de Sales in Pennsylvania. However, Dr Parikh says, “If you maintain good communication with her, you will automatically get your space.”
The Nag: You spend too much time watching the World Cup. A particularly dangerous variation of ‘You never listen to me!’
What not to say : “Can this wait till the break?” Why she gets so bent: Sports never go away. A hard-core fan can spend hundreds of hours glued to the television, getting louder and fatter with each passing week.
Sneaky trick to stop it: Well in advance of a big match, tell your woman how glad you are that she’s not like your buddy’s wife, the woman who’s so needy and controlling that she can’t give her man a few hours to catch a damned cricket match. But this trick may not work for long.
Backup strategy: Talk her through it. “Most of the time you watch television at the cost of your mutual time. The key here is to have joint television times and try involving her during your important matches,” says Dr Parikh. Throw in a back rub, and she might end up enjoying it more than you do. Then again, it might be easier just to let her nag.
The Nag: When are you going to pick up your dirty socks? There are a million variations on this one, but count on this: whatever’s not getting done in the world, there’s a man somewhere who’s being nagged about it.
What not to say : “If you think it’s so important, why don’t you do it yourself?” Why she gets so bent: Face it, she doesn’t keep you around for your looks. Sneaky trick to stop it: The next time you see her wash a dish, clean a window or throw a load of a laundry into the dryer, tell her to stop. Put your arms around her. Tell her you appreciate everything she does around the house. Then take her out to dinner. See, it’s not just your laziness that makes your woman nuts; it’s your seeming failure to notice and value all that she does for you. On a serious note: “It is the responsibility of both partners to maintain cleanliness in the house. If your partner stops doing the house chores for days, even you would be frustrated about it,” says Dr Parikh.
Backup strategy: According to Sherry Lehman, a marriage and sex therapist in Cleveland, “When a woman stops resenting who does what at home, the couple’s sex life often undergoes a huge improvement. It’s not an exaggeration to say that picking up your socks could get you oral sex.” Imagine what you’ll get if you vacuum!
The Nag: You spend all your free time with youe friends! She suggests dinner and a movie. You tell her you’ve made plans to break in your friend’s new widescreen TV. “We never spend any time together!” she rails, even though you wake up together every morning. What not to say : “But honey, I see you every damned day!”
Why she gets so bent : A woman needs to know she’s the most important person in her man’s life, says Lehman. “If she feels like she’s coming in second, she’ll be angry and hurt. You will feel the same if you are in her shoes,” says Dr Parikh. “At a spontaneous level, you should not go out with your friends at the cost of your time with your spouse,” he suggests. Sneaky trick to stop it : After an evening with the guys, give her a recap. If she’s awake (and you’re sober), make your report as soon as you come home. If not, save it for breakfast. Just be sure you tell her. Backup strategy : If the nagging continues, you may have to make more efforts. For every evening you spend with the guys, plan to do something fun with her.
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