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  • Margaret Sala

DBT Interpersonal Skills - DEAR MAN


An effective type of interpersonal skills are the DEAR MAN skills, which are taught in DBT. DEAR MAN are effective for all types of interactions. DEAR MAN stands for Describe, Express, Assert, Reinforce, Mindful, Appear Confident, Negotiate


Describe the facts of the situation. At this point, you want to state only facts (do not state judgments!). Do not express your feelings or ask for anything yet. By first describing the facts, you are setting up the conversation in an effective manner. Example: You are often on your phone when I talk with you.


Express your feelings. It is important that you use I statements. This helps you be accountable, and prevents the other person from becoming defensive. Example: This makes me feel sad, distant, and withdrawn.


Assert by asking exactly what you need, in a clear and strong way. This is most effective when done as a question. Example: Can you please put your phone away when we are having a conversation?


Reinforce by communicating why the person should grant your request. This is because relationships are built on reciprocity. Example: This will help us have a better relationships.


Mindful. Try not to become distracted by other topics and stay focused on your goal. If the person you are speaking with becomes defensive, keep the conversation on course. Example: If your friend starts pointing out your flaws and giving you backlash, say: “I understand there are other issues we may need to discuss, but right now I want to talk about you often being on your phone when we are talking.”


Appear Confident. Regardless of how you feel, appear confident in your posture, voice, language, and facial expressions. Example: State things clearly, be calm, do not become reactive, and make eye contact.


Negotiate. You are asking for something, so you must be willing to negotiate. If your friend isn’t on board with your ask, be willing to “give to get”. Accommodate your friend as much as possible.

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