the line between encouraging and nagging

by Joanna on August 15, 2012

Sitting at lunch on Sunday afternoon, tired from a long weekend but so happy I said to Mike:

so what do you want to do?

what do you want to be?

Mike has a great job but he still hasn’t found his perfect career fit just yet.  As I’m his number one fan and have so much confidence in him, and because I want this for everyone I love, I want him to find the perfect fit, to live up to his potential, to find the thing that will make him come alive. Because I love seeing him at his best.

But when a friend recently expressed concern about her boyfriend getting too comfortable in a job and getting stuck, my advice was this:

when the right thing comes along he will be stimulated and engaged and then he’ll make a move. 

As I was saying this I was thinking that maybe I should take my own advice.

I’m constantly wondering about Mike and encouraging him to find his “thing” and asking questions to get him thinking.

I was joking with my friends that Mike might actually pay me not to coach him, to just stay out of it.

But because he’s my husband I only want the absolute best for him.  I want him to be engaged and alive and happy.  I want him to be proud of the career path that he’s on and excited to share it with others. I want him to live up to his true potential and feel like he’s on top of the world.

While I’m only doing this out of love, the same way I do when I give my little sisters unsolicited advice, this behavior can create a rift between us, can make him feel pressured.

In this case I’m talking about work but this can also apply to fitness, health, parenting, family relations, hobbies, whatever.

So where is the line between encouraging your partner to move forward, supporting them where they are, and just being a nag?

I’m still trying to find the balance.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kari August 15, 2012 at 2:46 pm

I find myself in a similar situation sometimes with my boyfriend- who likes his job, but not where he works. But then doesn’t job hunt. I want to be supportive, but sometimes in the back of my mind I wonder “You’re frustrated, so why aren’t you doing something to change it?” After a string of not so great jobs I finally got one that is amazing- so I think I just want him to enjoy his job like I do.

I think sometimes it’s hard to not project the things we want onto others. Your advice to your friend was great- I’m thinking maybe I should be more mindful of that. Thanks!


2 Joanna August 15, 2012 at 2:57 pm

That’s exactly how I feel!

You also hit the nail on the head with projecting things we want onto others. I realized that I do that a LOT with my husband and I actually have a follow up post in the works about that! Stay tuned!


3 Emily @ Perfection Isn't Happy August 15, 2012 at 9:24 pm

Balance is key! I’m such a Type A, control freak type of person, that sometimes I just need to learn to keep quiet. My husband can speak for himself and make his own decisions ( and sometimes I forget that).

On another note, I am still trying to figure out my own career path. Sometimes I wish someone could just point me in the right direction so I can stop agonizing over it all of the time!


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