It is thought that the word “nag” derived from a Scandanavian word that meant “to gnaw or bite.” And how appropriate that is — when we’re repeatedly asked to do something, even in a gentle way, it can feel like an attack. Hey, did you remember to pick up some milk? sounds more like Hey, I think you’re the type of moron who would forget to pick up the milk. Moron. The implied assault on our character is that much worse when we did, indeed, forget to pick up the milk.
Imagine a world where nagging was never invented. In this world, you have a clear understanding of the individual level of importance that every request from your partner carries. He never feels like he has to ask you anything twice. You never feel like you’re being attacked or criticized. What would it feel like to truly be on the same page, to actually assume good intentions, all the time?
We may never arrive at this ideal. A part of me will always be frustrated that my wife will spend more time complaining about her iPhone battery issues than it would take to go to the Apple store and have them fixed. But let me paint a picture of how life works with Tit for Tat (signup for our beta here!) Using Tit for Tat, the more we get done, the more we feel like a team and feel like we’ve “earned” time for fun. The more we have fun with each other, the more positive we feel and the more we get things done.
My wife’s car needed new wiper blades before a road trip we were going on. I don’t mind doing this kind of thing because I get to pretend that I understand how cars work. I even had a set of blades in the garage ready to go. But normally, this would be a low priority for me because it takes a lot of time to re-learn how to get the old blades off and it’s easy to forget because it’s not my car. So this type of task generally gets done when I get worn down. She asks me for the eighth time and I either get sick of hearing about it or it happens to coincide with a me having a few minutes to do it. Grudgingly, I stomp down to the garage to get it over with.
Using Tit for Tat, changing the wiper blades felt totally different. She didn’t nag me into doing it. I saw it on my list as a quick way to earn some points. After getting it done, I felt good! I didn’t feel like I had given in. I felt like I won a prize. And it wasn’t just because I was using my own app. I was genuinely surprised by how different it felt. That’s when I knew we were on to something.
Reduce nagging in your relationship? We have the technology.