Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Tell Me About It: Keeping score on pet peeves will only lead to trouble

Q: Every so often my other half will complain about something I've done. It's nothing consequential. Example: I sometimes put bags on the kitchen counter even though the bottoms of those bags are not necessarily hygienic. While I think it's perfectly valid to communicate one's pet peeves, I can't get myself to do it when I find my other half doing bothersome things. At the same time, I hate feeling like crud when my other half points out a shortcoming and I don't have a comeback.

When I challenge in a generic way that (s)he (I'm keeping this gender neutral on purpose) also does things that bother me, so maybe we could just let this slide, I'm always asked to provide examples. However, because I don't "keep score," I can't. The last thing I want to do is keep tabs because it just seems so petty. But I don't want to be the doormat.

Scorekeeping

A: "While I think it's perfectly valid to communicate one's pet peeves. …" Really? I think it stinks. If you're talking about a one-time warning along the lines of "I have an irrational aversion to seeing unclean things on our kitchen countertops" with a rare, self-deprecating refresher — "Remember my bizarre countertop fixation" — then I do agree with you. But if one of you believes the other owes it to him/her to be ever mindful of his/her expectations, then it stinks. So it's to your credit that you don't have examples at the ready of your partner's nuisance moments. It also positions you well to stick to the more relevant point: "If you're suggesting that you're perfect and never do anything wrong or annoying, then I need to ask you to reconsider."

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