Interpersonal Effectiveness Handout 9

Guidelines for Relationship Effectiveness

Keeping the Relationship

A way to remember these skills is the word GIVE
Gentle (Be)
Interested (Act)
Easy Manner (Use an)

People tend to respond to gentleness more than they do to harshness. Avoid attacks, threats, and judgmental statements.
No attacks. This one is pretty clear. People won't like you if you threaten them, attack them or express much anger directly.
No threats. Don't make statements like "I'll kill myself if you...."
Tolerate a no to requests. Stay in the discussion even if it gets painful, then exit gracefully.
No judging statements. No name calling, shoulds or implied put downs in voice or manner. No guilt trips.

2. Act Interested
This involves being interested in the other person. People tend to feel better if you are interested in them, and if you give them time and space to respond to you.
Listen to what they have to say (i.e. share the air time)
Don't interrupt, talk over to the other person
Be sensitive to the other person's desire to have the discussion at another time if that is what the person wants. Be patient.

3. Validate
Be nonjudgmental, out loud. Validate the other person's feelings, wants, difficulties and opinions about the situation. Find the "grain of truth" in what the other person is saying. Try to figure out what problems the other person might be having with your request, then acknowledge their feelings or problems.
"I know that you are very busy, but..."
"I can see that this is very important to you...."
"I know that this will take you out of your way a bit...."
This is a good skill to practice even if no conflict situation arises. More than any other skill, this one has the potential to affect the quality of relationships.

4. Use an Easy manner
Try to be lighthearted. Use a little humor. Smile. Ease the other person along. This is the difference between soft sell and hard sell. People don't like to be bullied, pushed around or made to feel guilty.

Using the GIVE skills in difficult situations
GIVE skills can make even difficult situations a bit more palatable. For instance, there will be times where you have to stand up for yourself and allow the other person to be angry, sad or disappointed.
"I know that you are disappointed that I have responded to your request in this way. I am going to have to live with you feeling disappointed in me for now."

DEAR MAN skills also double as relationship effectiveness skills
When you use DEAR MAN effectively you are clear about what you need, want and are willing to do for others in return. In essence, you make it easier for the other person to know what you want and how to please you. This removes the burden of always trying to guess what you want or need, and increases the chances of them "getting it right."
Self Respect Effectiveness....maintaining or improving your good feelings about yourself, and respecting your own values and beliefs, while you are trying to get what you want.

This includes:
Acting in ways that fit your sense of morality
Acting in ways that make you feel competent