Often in our relationships, we remind our partners to not be late, to call us, to spend time with us, etc. It’s like a broken record. We’re constantly nagging them and they are perpetually not learning.
You may feel frustrated and blue in the face from repeating yourself, so why not try a new strategy? You feel your requests to your partners and friends are quite simple, (e.g. move your dish two inches to the right and into the dishwasher rather than leaving it on the counter).
You may often get upset at these mistakes, and begin to point out the errors and ask for answers. “Why aren’t you taking the time to text?” “Why aren’t you double-checking your work before you send it to me?” These are negative tactics that make the mistake-doer feel bad and irritated. And you are left feeling like an exhausted broken record.
Instead of using negative tactics, what if you said nothing? In general, people don’t want to be judged and feel under the microscope. Most people feel bad after making a mistake but sometimes when you point out the mistake, the person is distracted by being criticized and has no time to actually reflect on the mistake. When you nag them, they tune you out, get irritated and don’t feel remorse. However, if you point out their wrongdoings in a polite manner and leave it at that, it allows them to reflect on their slip-ups and genuinely feel sorry about their actions. This is where change can happen.
We need to do less so that our partners, friends and colleagues can use their internal voice to discipline themselves instead of us telling them to do so. This encourages those who make mistakes to learn and start parenting themselves. We should allow their competence to guide them instead of our broken records. It’s much less exhausting and you will have a more enjoyable relationship.