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Interpersonal Skills Training (by correspondance), barney.craggs, CC BY-SA.

Finally, the last week (for me) of interpersonal effectiveness! I’m looking forward to having three weeks off from DBT, although I’ll come back to core mindfulness yet again. I guess there are worse things, right? Right – I’ll have to actually think a little to come up with a few new blog post topics!

This week’s installment of acronyms focused on guidelines for relationship effectiveness and self-respect effectiveness. Under “keeping the relationship,” which basically equates to “play nice,” we have GIVE:

  • (be) Gentle – no attacks, threats, or judging. No hitting, manipulation, or moralizing. This seems so obvious to me that it boggles the mind.
  • (act) Interested – listen and pretend you care about what the other person is saying. Be sensitive and patient. Or at least pretend to be.
  • Validate – acknowledge the other person’s whatever it is.
  • (use an) Easy manner – humor, smiling, cajoling, because telling it to them straight is not a good way to keep a relationship going, of course.

So now we have: DEAR MAN, GIVE. But wait, there’s more!

For self-respect effectiveness, FAST is the way to keep your self-respect – and I really do understand why people have a hard time with this one. But I’m still going to be snarky.

  • (be) Fair – both to you and the other person. Yep, that can be a hard one, no question.
  • (no) Apologies – don’t be overly apologetic, e.g. for being alive, having needs or an opinion, having the gall to disagree with someone.
  • Stick to your own values – don’t sell out or compromise your integrity.
  • (be) Truthful – no lies, acting helpless when you’re not, exaggeration, or excuses. Really, how can you have self-respect if you’re lying to others and yourself? This is one I believe in pretty strongly. Being tactful at the same time is a little more challenging…

Since I’ll be away for the final session of the IE module, I was also provided the “managing interpersonal anger” handout and homework sheet. I think most of the suggestions on the sheet are probably typical anger management strategies, interspersed with some core mindfulness (nonjudgmental stance, turning the mind) concepts.

The grand total of interpersonal effectiveness? DEAR MAN, GIVE FAST. Below that, I jotted “me chocolate,” to insert between give and fast: dear man, give me chocolate fast – seems like a good relationship management strategy to me, anyway.