Have you ever been pestered enough that you do something that you wouldn’t ordinarily do?
That just happened to me. For the last 30 minutes while trying to work, Grace has been whining and pawing at my chair. It’s almost an hour before her normal dinner time. And sometimes she does get antsy when it gets near that time of day.
So my patience gave way and I got up to put food in her dish. Then I caught myself. Wait. What am I doing? How come she is calling the shots here?
Since I had already poured the food out, I figured I couldn’t stop the process. But I decided to make her work a little harder for it. I put her at a sit-down-stay where I normally do, but for several minutes instead of our usual 15 seconds. She made me feel like I was torturing her. She sat, but gave me a look of total annoyance at this game.
I figured it would deepen her sense of discipline. Whether it did or didn’t, it made me feel better. She also had to endure her inquisitive feline brother walking by, taunting her, as if to say, “I don’t have to sit there waiting for my dinner. Haha!” After about five minutes, I figured she had endured enough and gave the ‘ok’ sign. She ate happily.
Why does someone feel the need to pester? When they aren’t being heard. If they don’t get a response, they’ll try again. And again. And again. The more important it is, the more frequent and the louder the pestering becomes.
So if you’re feeling like you’re being asked to do the same thing over and over and over again, make sure your response, whether through words or actions, is loud and visible enough for the other person to understand. You don’t necessarily have to do what is being asked, but you should respond with your intentions. Provide a reason why you can or can’t do what they want. And if it’s not a simple request, offer a plan of action, including a timeline, to see it through to resolution.
Instead of feeling like you’re being bullied into something, ask the person to sit and stay and talk about it. I think they will like that more than Grace did.