Nitpicking is an unpleasant habit and it doesn’t make anyone happy. If you’ve been nitpicked by your partner, you definitely know this, but it’s also true if you’re the one doing the nitpicking.

If you’re the nitpicker in your relationship, you probably want to break out of the habit. You know that whenever you nitpick, it seems to just start an argument or push your partner further away.

You don’t really want to keep on finding fault with the way that your partner does things or to keep on pointing out the things that they’re not doing right – you just can’t help it. It seems so obvious that they are changing that diaper or washing those dishes in a way that’s messier, more time-consuming, and just plain…wrong.

3 Questions to Ask Yourself to See If You’re a Nitpicker

Perhaps you’ve been accused of nitpicking by your partner, but you don’t agree that you’re guilty. You think that you’re just trying to help by showing them a better way to do things. It’s true that positive assistance and constructive criticism aren’t the same as nitpicking, but maybe you’ve crossed the line. Do you:

  • Silently watch your partner doing a task, looking for mistakes?
  • Quickly find fault in their actions?
  • Jump in to tell them that your way is the best (or perhaps the “only”) way to do it?

If so, you might be nitpicking.

Tips to Help You Break Your Nitpicking Habit

If you’ve spotted nitpicking traits in your own behavior, or you have been trying to stop nitpicking for ages, here are some quick tips to help you control this habit:

  1. Reframe the issue. If you’re tired or stressed, it’s easy to think that taking an extra 5 minutes to inefficiently wash the dishes or to load the dishwasher in a less-than-optimal way is a huge deal. But it’s not. Work on reframing each issue as something small and irrelevant – remind yourself that this is “small stuff.”
  2. Distract yourself. You know that if you watch your partner fold the laundry, you’re going to spot the things they are doing wrong. Find something else to do in a different part of your home until they are done.
  3. Stop yourself from saying something. This is the hardest advice of all, but the most important. Think back to previous times when you did say something. If your partner didn’t receive it well the first, second, they probably won’t this time either. Bite your tongue and just say nothing at all.

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