Women – Do You Nag Your Boyfriend/Husband/Cat/Imaginary Friend ?

Before the illiterate get their knickers in twist – “nag” NOT “you are a nag” … aka – the art of complaining persistently until you get your own way …


Google says this about nagging :

verb: nag; 3rd person present: nags; past tense: nagged; past participle: nagged; gerund or present participle: nagging
  1. harass (someone) constantly to do something that they are averse to.
    “she constantly nags her daughter about getting married”
    synonyms: harass, keep on at, go on at, harp on at, badger, keep after, give someone a hard time, get on someone’s back, persecute, chivvy, hound, harry, bully, pick on, criticize, find fault with, keep complaining to, moan (on) at, grumble at, henpeck, carp at, scold, upbraid, berate; More

    “I don’t want to nag you but you really should eat something”
    shrewish, complaining, grumbling, fault-finding, scolding, carping, cavilling, criticizing
    “his nagging wife”
    • be persistently painful or worrying to.
      “something nagged at the back of his mind”
      synonyms: persistent, continuous, lingering, niggling, troublesome, unrelenting, unremitting, unabating; More

      aching, painful, distressing, worrying
      “there was a nagging pain in his chest”
noun: nag; plural noun: nags
  1. a person who nags someone to do something.
    synonyms: shrew, nagger, harpy, termagant, harridan; More

Basically you nag and nag till you get your own way ?

Nagging is same as bitching or complaining or moaning, same as children do ?

Men aren’t allowed to – we get called things like “a whiney little bitch” or told we’re making a fuss out of nothing. So why then do women get away with it ? A special dispensation to be irritating, but on what basis ?

Also, it’s not the nagging itself that’s irritating to us guys (normally I just play Macarena or Spice Girls or the A-Team theme in my head … dun … dun … dun … dun dun dun) …

(Side Note – The A-Team full theme tune is good to extinguish a full 3’12” of nagging – powerful weapons in the “war on nagging”)

No it’s the extent and the screechiness and the appropriateness of the timing which are the issue … there’s no way I can continue to watching my movie totally engrossed with you screechily nagging me about putting the garbage out … totally destroys my Chi, man …

So, Ladies – Do You Nag Your Boyfriend/Husband/Cat/Imaginary Friend ? … be honest now – if you say no, then I’ll know you’re probably lying 🙂

What happened to “woman up” ? Can’t you see we’re exhausted, and need to relax ? Or busy and need to work ? Isn’t nagging us just a little self-centred ? Couldn’t you go and make more baby steps towards world domination instead ?

Last of all, when there’s no one else to left to nag (they’ve all left because they can’t stand it anymore), do you nag your imaginary friend ? Or does poor kitty get earache about not eating his cat food or spending the whole night out chasing tail ?

OR, would we guys miss nagging if you didn’t do it anymore ? Do we secretly love you for it ?

Deep questions today on the Don Charisma blog … serious ? … No don’t take yourself too, you might strain something important …


Don Charisma


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32 thoughts on “Women – Do You Nag Your Boyfriend/Husband/Cat/Imaginary Friend ?

  1. The bleak truth is, with linguistic research behind it, there is no style of speech women can use to reduce the odds of a male’s knee-jerk reaction of irkedness to ANY request of them by females. This, no matter what phrasing, pitch, or pacing is used. Check particularly Deborah Tannen’s work on this matter. (I remember in one of her books, she waffled about how to make requests differently to try to counteract this problem, but wound up admitting women ran into the “do this, you fail, do the other, you fail too”.)

    Further research on mixed-gender group dynamics documents what I refer to as the Peanuts “WaWaWa” effect: Men appear to perceive female utterances as just so much irksome noise: They interrupt women freely and constantly–yet, when asked, they report incorrectly that women were interrupting men much more often.

    And thus, we get what men call “nagging”. A request that has been issued multiple times from a woman, not initially when a man has been busy working, or in the midst of a film, but at first a simple request, ignored. A few days later, ignored. Again, ignored. Possibly, not even fully registered by him, all three times, although–and this is important–acknowledged all three times verbally by him. Perhaps even by agreement, because many men are socialized to think it is okay to pacify women without intent of follow-through–they don’t consider this lying:


    And now, after three weeks and three ignored requests, the woman, understandably, snaps. Gosh. Isn’t she the nag, though?

    Are some women pure gripe-masters? Of course! Are some men? You betcha! But that word “nag”, and the denigration, and frequent imitation of most women’s naturally higher-pitched voices, ever, much less when we get emotional–not cool.

    1. Eloquent, as has been my experiences with you … you raise some interesting points, in a very mature way 🙂 … I do worry a little when a sentence starts with “the truth is”, usually what follows isn’t … but c’est la vie I do the same thing myself, no one’s perfect.

      SO, as already discussed, a man can “nag” too, so there’s no basis for attaching a “sexist” meaning to the word, as it’s equally possible for both genders to be on the receiving end. Sexist would usually have to be something that ONLY happens to one gender or the other.

      Women do also repeatedly ignore men’s requests, which also can be infuriating … and to be honest, I yawn, and accept that a woman has a free mind and may choose to do or not do as she pleases. Letting her “be herself” for me is correct, and I’d hope that she’d have the same respect for me.

      Also, requests may receive a “yes” or “no” answer and each is equally valid. Persistently pestering someone after they’ve said “no” is a little bit creepy, and might imply an inability to let the other party think and do freely. Which is controlling, which most men and women don’t appreciate too much – definitely not cool …

      Whilst couples do need to do things together, they also do need their autonomy, without it they may feel smothered or imprisoned.

      People also need to be able to make their own FINAL decisions, based on what’s correct for them as an individual, which may result in a “no” to “put out the garbage” or “I want a pony” … No can mean no not now not ever, not no not now. Non-acceptance of a person’s final “no” is abusive in many contexts. Women definitely object to this too.

      My experience in my interactions with women is that they are just as likely to interrupt me, not actually listen to what I said, hear what they wanted to hear as opposed to what actually I said, and so on, or otherwise badly behave. Men do do the same things to other men, women do do the same things to other women and men do do the same things to women. So I reject there’s any gender difference, that’s just not my experience, I’ve experience all combinations personally.

      As for “sure”, well I’ve had this plenty from women along with “fine” which isn’t considered lying, even when it’s anything but fine. And what about “yeah, yeah, yeah” which means almost the opposite of an agreement, a “polite” way of saying “no” actually. Both men and women do use indirect language, that some may subjectively perceive this as lying – so again I don’t see a gender difference in this.

      Men also do have the right to freedom of speech and freedom of expression. The limiting, banning, making wrong or otherwise suppressing could be considered “censorship”, which the majority of people I think wouldn’t be in favour of. I also think that women wouldn’t like it if the shoe was on the other foot. Freedom is a valuable thing, most people appreciate this.

      So my conclusion is that this is largely a case of the “pot calling the kettle” black, both parties are equally “guilty” of bad behavior … and the assumption that men behave badly and women don’t, could fall under the definition of sexism if it’s based on vain pride, which sometimes it blatantly is.

      ANYWAY this is why, I have no seriousness for the issue 🙂

      Most of my commenters don’t seem to have either …

      Personally I try to celebrate the differences between men and women and try to work cooperatively in my relationships. Blaming one or the other I found very dis-empowering, which is why I try not to do it so much.

      As Jason Cushman said :-
      “My goal with this blog is to offend everyone in the world at least once with my words… so no one has a reason to have a heightened sense of themselves. We are all ignorant, we are all found wanting, we are all bad people sometimes.”

      Men aren’t better than women, nor are women better than men, we are equals, we always have been and we always will be.

      Lastly, one of my lady commenters said she just gets on with it rather than nagging, and husband usually follows suit. This is a very harmonious, mature and relational solution, to getting things done without “nagging”.



      1. Oh, dear:

        Para 1: “The truth is”. I speak literally unless speaking clearly tongue in cheek. No need to appear generous and let me off the hook for my wholly-intentional phrasing here. The truth is what I stated it to be.

        Para 2: That two groups CAN both do ‘x’ does not preclude the possibility that one group DOES do ‘x’, or does more of ‘x’, or is perceived by one or both groups as doing more of ‘x’. Nag, you are certainly aware, has been reserved as a pejorative term applied almost exclusively by males against females. One can say “Take it back, by applying it equally to males”, which is like saying “Take back the night” to prevent rape: It does nothing to change behavior or attitudes–in this Babe’s opinion.

        Para 3: Turning this issue of ignoring requests into an issue of personal freedom–that a woman, or man, isn’t respecting their partner if they expect any tasks of them in order to share living space–unless that partner does these unasked–what a lovely, perfect world you inhabit, Don. Cherubs lift your covers each morning, angels bring in your breakfast tray, and sirens sing you to sleep.

        Para 4: Straw Man argument: I certainly never brought up pestering after someone said “No.” If a partner says “No.” often enough to tasks needed to keep a partnership/household running, the partnership should end.

        Para 5: “Autonomy”–Sounds like some personal history crept in here, Don: Apparently, some of the pestering you’ve received has been “Will you please accompany me to places you, Don, don’t want to go?” I am a big believer in alone time, and autonomy. I have Asperger’s! I drove cross-country alone twice.

        My personal feelings about together jaunts, and I have my own prejudices (as do we all):

        Love, whether the love of friendship or the love of a partner, is not love unless there is an element of other ahead of self. You put the other’s desires and happiness ahead of your own at least some of the time. You tolerate some level of discomfort for the sake of achieving their pleasure. If they love you, they are doing the same. This may involve letting their head rest longer on that arm than is comfortable, or doing that position you’re not fond of at all but they like so well, or watching films the other likes more. It certainly involves participating in some of their jaunts sometimes. Some. Sometimes. That threatens no one’s autonomy.

        It is my observation among the couples I have known that she does his thing WAY more than t’other way round, and that can lead to uneven-sided pestering. In my case with one past BF, it did. But I admit it may be possible that my perspective may be skewed by my gender, or the very limited number of couples I know.

        Para 6, etc.
        Women Saying “Fine” When They’re Not
        You are right about many women saying “Fine” and not meaning it. I hate that sh#t. Yes, it is lying, and it effs up communication and it makes all women look bad. I wish those irksome females would stop it–NOW. Just like NO needs to mean NO, “Fine” needs to mean “Fine”.

        As indicated by my Sexist Word Hit List, I absolutely believe men should self-censor their words and behavior to show that they believe in gender equality. I think some women should do the same. And just to toss you a bone, Don, I think some women may have gone overboard about the the word “bossy”, which, unlike “nag”, is NOT applied exclusively to girls, but also to little boys, and still shows the potential of being recaptured in our language as a gender-neutral term (except when paired with “b#tch”–it is that PHRASE which is used in a sexist manner).

      2. 😀 … thanks for the bone, very magnanimous 🙂

        I’ve kept your history out of it, so I’d ask the same respect in terms of assumptions and implications. Keep it non-personal please, as I have tried to.

        Para 1 – I know that, and already said I do the same thing myself ! With the caveat of “the truth” is actually your subjective interpretation of “the truth”, not “the truth” period. As is mine I hasten to add.

        Para 2 – Yes, it’s possible I accept, but “in truth” ( *grins* ), it’s a weak argument if the opposite can be used to rebuff the argument. Men and women are allowed to be “pejorative”, without being labeled sexist, or indeed having done anything “wrong”, or having their freedom of expression curtailed. Expressing “contempt” or “disapproval” doesn’t make a person a bigot, or even a bad person, merely their own (perhaps authentic) expression of something they don’t like. The rape argument I’m not discussing as it’s an emotive and complex topic in itself, for both sexes, and most normal ordinary people find rape abhorrent, as I do.

        Para 3 – Accepted, and yes I’ll say hello to the cherubs for you tomorrow morning ! Within that both men and women have the right to “ignore requests” and say “no” to request, domestic complexities or not, cherubs or no cherubs 🙂

        Para 4 – Agreed. And I never said you did. I added this in, because often “nagging” in my experience continues after a “no” has been issued, one reason both men and women find nagging irritating. I am “allowed” to add in my own arguments, and don’t need permission 🙂

        Para 5 – I’ll ignore the “making it personal” comment, as out of character, I think it was a “slip of the tongue”. And I think we agree that it’s a balance between “together” and “alone” time that helps make a relationship work.

        “Love”, 99% agreed, nicely said. Although the self-sacrifice needs to be a) authentic, b) done on their own volition and c) not to the extent that it becomes harmful to the sacrificer and d) obviously not demanded, expected, forced, manipulated etc. My definition of love isn’t based on self-sacrifice as is popular, mine is based on acceptance. Put simply, letting the other person be them-self. Also I think expecting self-sacrifice, is probably preparing to be disappointed, because people are often selfish.

        Para 6 – This used to annoy me too, a lot. These days I think I understand the “real” meaning, and don’t worry about the literal meaning. So it doesn’t actually bother me too much. So, look I do get it, but don’t think it can be used as a supporting argument, is all.

        “Censorship” – I think your desire for people to self-censor themselves, is something I share. The utter verbal diarrhea I’ve seen in my 50000 or so comments on my blog, beggars belief sometimes. I in the end added a comment policy and disclaimer, because I was bored with the offensive stuff people felt the need to share, publicly on my blog. However I do think also that we should be very careful not to limit people’s freedom to express themselves, even if they may not be the most intelligent, articulate or “clever”. Just because we find their expression distasteful, doesn’t mean that it should be prevented or banned. There are obviously limits and laws to abide by, obviously.

        So I think we’re back to cutting people a little slack, allowing them to make a few mistakes. Sometimes it’s hard for other people to meet our standards. In which case there’s a lot of humility and respect, in the benefit of the doubt, and can mean the difference between a friend and a foe.

        Plus, you must know by now that most men aren’t as good communicators as women … throwing a bone back ‘atcha …

        As already stated I believe in gender equality, we are all already equals, every last single human being on the planet. I don’t believe in “forced” equality however, I think it’s false and leads to unnecessary conflict and in-authenticity. Ultimately it’s counter-productive and probably actually more harm than good. People will always prefer to have free choice, than be told how they must or must not be or behave.

        We’re all just floating along in this thing called life, trying to get along as best we can. The journey is happier and smoother with friends and allies, than a continual fight with foes and enemies … but each to their own really, the world doesn’t change because I say it should …


      3. Same hun, and thanks for the debate, very enlightening – I always find I’m a little wiser after discussing with an opposing opinion holder … especially one as charismatic as yourself 🙂

        Hope the cherubs are up to scratch !


  2. No. Emphatically NO! I just do it myself, because women are just so much better at whatever they apply their energy to. Strange thing is, whenever I start doing whatever needs to be done, my husband joins in immediately. Is this the reaction to an atavistic kind of guilt (the knowledge that “in the good old days” the men were the doers?) or a genuine desire to please? Now THERE’s a thought worth debate.

    1. Perhaps men always actually wanted to help, just didn’t want to be nagged into helping ?

      Whilst a little sexist “women are just so much better at whatever they apply their energy to” … I do often agree actually 🙂 …

      Rather than one-up-womanship and one-up-manships shouldn’t we be working together, celebrating differences and what each sex is good at ?

  3. Is it wrong that if anyone, whether it be roommate, girlfriend, parents, etc. start to nag me I just walk out of the room? I’ve been doing this since high school, and it does piss off the nagger, but when they approach me again I explain to them it’s my coping mechanism and that I feel I’m being talked to in a condescending manner, which in turn would lead me to an outburst that I would regret, so I try to dissolve the conflict. Sometimes it worked, other times I had to flat out leave the house/apartment.

      1. After reading the “Sexist Word Hit List” article, I’m done using the term Nag. I’ve been trying to not use any of those other terms on that list as well. Thanks for the informative post, or re-post.

  4. Whether I nag you’d have to ask he who would be the target of it but I know I am definitely NOT screechy (my voice is too low to be that) and my timing would be impeccable as always so I think probably not. Absolutely love the donkey in the photo.

    1. Great donkey yes, I like to add some visual reinforcement …

      Love the deeper feminine voice, that might even be soothing nagging 🙂 … I don’t have a direct line to “he who must be obeyed” so can’t ask him … I trust you so I’ll take your word for it …

      Back atcha ….

    1. Same for me Yoshiko … although my parents stopped nagging me when I flatly refused to do anything they nagged me about 🙂

      My girlfriend doesn’t do it much, and knows she’s better off appealing to my compassionate side …

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