Tactics Tuesdays: Handling a Nagging Woman


nagging womanTell me if you've ever been here before: you're talking to your girlfriend, or a girl you've started dating, or even (if she's really got gall) a girl you just met... and she starts nagging you, persistently, repeatedly, and annoyingly about something. She just won't let up.

I wrote this today to answer the question of how to deal with a nagging woman.

We've talked on here about angry women, and we've gone in-depth on women and drama, but this is something different. Nagging doesn't come from anger, and it isn't an attempt to stir up drama. Nagging is its own animal altogether.

Women nag all the time -- whether you're the spouse they've been together with for twenty years, or they've just met you that night. Usually men simply get frustrated at this, sigh deeply, and throw their hands up. I'm a strong believer that throwing your hands up is never the path to success though -- and this post is designed to help make sure you never have to (at least not when it comes to nagging!).

So if you're ready to stop nagging and get yourself on a smooth, even keel with the women you meet and the women in your life, read ahead.

 

Why Do Women Nag?

Why do women nag, you ask? The answer's simpler than you might think, and it's comprised of two parts:

  • Women want to get what they want to get, and
  • Nagging works, and women know it.

Just like everybody else, a woman wants to get whatever it is she wants to get. That might be answers out of you. That might be for you to do something you'd been promising to do (or just something she thinks you ought to do). Occasionally, that might be to get you to take action on something she doesn't really care about but she just wants to see if you'll do it.

Women test men's level of investment constantly. It is an in-born, natural behavior system used to screen men to see where they're at. Essentially, when a woman is nagging you, she's trying to find out who you are and how you value her.

Men's reactions to nagging come in 3 basic flavors:

  1. Men who give in are men who can be relied upon, but perhaps aren't as attractive.

  2. Men who blow up and get upset and refuse are unstable men who need to be avoided.

  3. Men who gracefully deflect nagging are charming and attractive, and women want them more.

Obviously, you want to be more like that last man that anything else to deal with a nagging woman appropriately. He's the one who gets the best deal out of all of it -- he doesn't have to do what he's being nagged to do, and he gets to look more attractive. It isn't always possible to not do what you're being nagged to do -- especially when it's a woman you're in a relationship with rather than some girl you've just met who's doing the nagging -- but you want to be handling things gracefully and naturally and smoothly regardless.

And here's how you do that.

nagging woman

 

How to Handle a Nagging Woman

To start with, understand that women who are nagging you aren't doing it because they're just annoying people. They're doing it because they want something, or because they're curious to see if you'll give them something, or (often) both.

They're quite often simultaneously trying to get something, and trying to see if you'll give it.

The feeling in a girl's mind when she's nagging a guy ends up being one of the following two:

This is fun -- I wonder if he'll give me what I want if I keep asking him.

or

Geez, he just doesn't get it -- how many times am I going to have to ask him before he does this?

So, either:

  • Impish curiosity, or
  • Frustration and annoyance

You need to quickly assess which of these you're dealing with, and then select the right response.

Good rule of thumb: if she seems unhappy or exasperated, it's usually frustration or annoyance.

Don't mistake insistence for frustration, though -- women are extraordinarily persistent in chasing down the things they want, and they go hard when they feel cracks in your frame.

An example of what I'm talking about is this:

Girl: How're you going to get us seats?

Guy: I don't know, but we'll be fine.

Girl: Wait, but like all the seats are full. I don't see how you're going to get seats.

Guy: It doesn't matter, I'll figure out a way.

Girl: What way? The seats are all full.

Guy: Trust me, we'll get seats.

Girl: But how?

Guy: Trust me!

Girl: I just want to know what you're going to do!

That's a guy who doesn't know how to respond to this girl's insistent nagging, and she feels those cracks in his frame -- put otherwise, she starts getting the sense that he doesn't know what he's doing or talking about and doesn't really have a plan or any valid ideas. And the more she picks up on that, the more she wants to get to the heart of the matter.

First, she starts off curious to see if she can get him to explain himself.

Then, when he's unable to, she begins growing worried that they actually might not get seats.

What were this guy's mistakes? He made of few of them:

  • He started qualifying himself
  • He didn't address her emotional concerns
  • He didn't provide any kind of logical solution
  • He got defensive and backpedalled, putting up walls as he did

You want to do the exact opposite of this.

What should your conversation look like? Something like this:

Girl: How're you going to get us seats?

Guy: I have a plan, don't worry.

Girl: Wait, but like all the seats are full. I don't see how you're going to get seats.

Guy: If I told you my plan, that'd ruin the surprise.

Girl: What plan? The seats are all full.

Guy: It's a secret. Just wait -- you're going to love it.

See that? That's cool, right?

This guy took the same exact questions that the other guy got from his nagging girl and addressed them with totally different responses. Instead of backpedalling, throwing up defensive fortifications, and qualifying himself, this guy made it a game.

He teased her.

He built suspense.

He smiled and winked.

What happens when they make it to the place they're heading and he isn't able to get them seats? Something like this:

Girl: I thought you said you had a plan.

Guy: I did. It just didn't work.

Girl: What plan?

Guy: To come here and see if there were any seats.

Girl: Gah!

I have interactions like this with women all the time. They express mock frustration (or sometimes even real frustration) if and when you aren't able to deliver on some things, but they always come out of it respecting you more and viewing you more as a strong, powerful dude.

Here's another example on being nagged:

Girl: What kind of business are you in?

Guy: I'm an entrepreneur.

Girl: Okay, right, but what industry?

Guy: I have my own special niche carved out. It's small.

Girl: Niche in what??

Guy: Helping people solve problems and make money. What do you do?

It's fine if you tell a girl something she wants right away, but once she's asked a few times and you haven't told her, you then can't tell her when she asks or else it'll look to her (and everyone else) like you're breaking. Instead, you've got to keep on until she drops it, then give her the information she wants later on on your own terms, and very naturally (don't make a big show of it).

For instance, that guy from our example immediately above could circle back to this and answer the question inadvertently in a story he's telling ("So one night I had to run over to a client's place -- I'm in home redesign, by the way, since you were asking earlier -- because he had a piece of roofing a contractor'd been working on fall in, and it was snowing outside and he had snow coming in his roof and piling up on his living room floor").

You can't appear to "break" and answer the nag once you've pushed back a bit already, and you can't appear to circle back to it explicitly to answer the question later (that implies its been on your mind and you need to clear your head).

Instead, you just mention it casually later on.

Finally, when you're getting nagged about something you have to do, respond with this:

Right, thanks for reminding me -- I'm on it.

Then get started in about 2 minutes.

The principles, teased out and boiled down, for dealing with a nagging woman are these:

  1. Stay calm

  2. Remain in control of the interaction and continue steering it toward what you want

  3. Don't get reactive if she's making demands or being insistent -- stay playful, reassure her you'll do it if it's something you should do, or playfully deflect if it isn't

By doing those three things, you assuage her emotions ("Okay, this guy is a strong guy, and he will take care of my emotions and me") and you remain in command of the situation and the direction of the interaction.

Nagging doesn't have to be a headache. You can minimize its ability to affect you by using the techniques covered here today -- here's hoping you encounter a lot less nagging going forward.

Talk to you again soon.

Always,
Chase Amante

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Comments

jr's picture

what if i disagree with the nag?


often times my wife nags me to do things that I don't feel need to be done. A lot of automotive nags. "you need to add fuel injector" -no, it's fuel injection cleaner, and it's not necessary as often as you want it.

"you need to clean the car" -no, it's my car and it's not even dirty

"you need to put towels over your floor mats" -no, i have the floor mats to protect the floor.

etc. i disagree with the nag. in your article, you posit that the man should eventually give in to the nag., well, what if the nag is wrong?

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