Keeping Relationships: Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills

In DBT the skill designed to keep relationships is called the GIVE skill.  It is an acronym, with each letter standing for a behavior that will help you keep a relationship.  You will find that it is a skill that you likely already use on a regular basis with people that you care about and whose company you enjoy.  However, these skills can become much more difficult when you are in a situation with people that you don’t like or enjoy.  A demanding boss, irritating co-worker or incomprehensible manager may test your abilities to stick it out with the GIVE skill.  If you feel angry, hurt, like someone doesn’t respect your opinion, or that you’ve asked for something skillfully and the person still hasn’t responded you may find this skill more difficult. However, if you find yourself at odds with the people in your life, then GIVE is likely a skill that will decrease the conflict you experience and increase your ability to ultimately get what you want from others.  The trick is to remember and use the skill while you are interacting with the person.

G:  Be Gentle.  No attacks or threats.  Be considerate.

I:  Act Interested.  Listen to the other person and their point of view.

V:  Validate the other person.  To validate you have to figure out what problems the person might be having.  Then you have to acknowledge those feelings or problems. 

E:  Use and easy manner.  Try to be lighthearted.  Use humor.  Smile.  Ease the person along.  People don’t like to be bullied or made to feel guilty.