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How to Deal With Nagging


by Glenn Shepard

March 3, 2015

Category:  Self Improvement





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Dear Glenn,


      I loved your Assertiveness Skills for Managers DVD and was going to ask if I could ask a question about it. But since you said that asking permission to ask a question is redundant and gives away power, I'm asking my question!

     You said that apologizing for something you haven't done also gives away power and I agree. But sometimes I have to apologize to customers for keeping them holding on the phone. But it's my boss who's keeping them waiting, not me. I'm apologizing for something I haven't done every time I say "I'm sorry to keep you waiting".

 What should I say instead?


Rhonda in Las Vegas



Dear Rhonda,


     The example in the assertiveness skills program was of a young woman in Atlanta who "apologized" for the cold weather, which she had nothing to do with.

     In your example, you're not speaking for yourself. You're speaking on behalf of the company, so don't change a word.

     One  basic principle of customer service is that anytime a customer is kept waiting, whoever they're dealing with should:


1.Acknowledge the inconvenience. This is showing empathy.


2. Apologize


3. Thank them for their patience. This is acknowledging good behavior.


4. Offer options. i.e. "Would you prefer to keep holding, or can I have Mr. Smith call you back?"


    Thanks for your question and kudos to you for paying attention. If you haven't already, send Rebecca your name and the names of anyone else who watched the DVDs with you and she'll send you personalized Certificates of Completion for everyone.


Glenn in Nashville, TN


Click the red Ask Glenn button to submit a question. You may remain anonymous if your prefer.

Naggers. They’re like a talking gnat that just won’t go away.


They come and remind us of our failings and unfulfilled commitments at the most inopportune times — often when we might be enjoying ourselves.


It might be a boss who micromanages everything to death and wants a detailed progress report on that big project every hour.


It might be a spouse who seems to make mowing the lawn out to be some life-or-death situation every other weekend.


In whatever guise they come, naggers can suck the joy right out of life — with by the hour updates required along the way.


If we all know that nagging is an irritating trait, why do naggers do it? Don’t they know when they’re stepping over the line and causing grief rather than raising an actual concern about whether or not something has been completed?


Unfortunately, most don’t.


There’s no intent to be irritating; they’re truly raising a concern about something that troubles them in some way.


At the end of the day, it boils down to trust. If an employer trusts his or her employees to get the job right and on time, there would be no need to constantly check on the status of the project.


If a spouse trusted a partner to fulfill the obligations of maintaining a home and the relationship, nagging wouldn’t be an issue.


A lack of faith, either irrational or due to past failures of people to fulfill their obligations, causes people to resort to nagging.


So how does one stop it?


First, be honest about whether it’s deserved. Does the nagging stem from past failures to do what you promised? Perhaps it stems from present patterns of destructive, unhealthy, or dangerous behavior. If so, then the people in your life who care about you have the right and obligation to nudge, nag, and yell if necessary to get you to stop sabotaging yourself.


If you truly can be counted on to do what you commit to do, or the nagging is about insignificant behavior, then it’s time to have a talk with the nagger.


Naggers tend to be very organized and don’t feel comfortable when things are not exactly as they think things should be. They tend not to realize that everyone doesn’t see the world as they do, so they believe that everyone else sees the need for organization the same as them.


Make a pact with the nagger that you will fulfill your obligations to the best of your ability if they will drop the constant reminders. 



To Your Success ,



Glenn Shepard



P.S. Get the nagger to agree on a price to be paid by the first one who fails to keep his or her end of the deal. Whether it be a massage courtesy of your nagging spouse, or a lunch at your favorite restaurant courtesy of your nagging boss, they'll listen far more closely to their nagging when there's a consequence for it.


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