The GIVE skill is a useful tool in helping us have effective communication skills, which is important for maintaining healthy relationships. GIVE means:
- East manner
We are taught from a young age about being gentle, perhaps with a younger sibling or pet, or a school friend. As we grow, we are taught to be respectful of others. This is the cornerstone of GIVE. We must act in a way that is respectful to others, and also to ourselves.
It’s important to remember the things we shouldn’t do, as well as the things we should. We should avoid any personal attacks or threats, whether verbal or physical, to ensure all parties remain in a safe space in order to reach the goal of having our needs met.
We should avoid using threats or manipulations to get our needs met, it’s important to clearly state the negative outcome of not having our needs met but we need to do it in a calm, respectful way.
We should avoid negative behaviours such as rolling eyes or sneering, and should avoid judgmental behaviours (as we learned in the previous module).
We should be nice, gentle and graceful in our discussions, even if it gets painful.
How would you feel if you were talking to someone and they stared out of the window, interrupted you at random or crossed their arms? While we are aiming to get our needs met through calm and clear discussions, we must remember that we are not the only person in this conversation, and be respectful and mindful of their feelings.
Be interested in their responses to you, maintain eye contact, don’t interrupt, pay attention to what they are saying. And remember, be mindful of our feelings and the feelings of others, but don’t assume what someone else may or may not be feeling.
Validation (which we will talk about next) is an important part of life. We all need to feel that our feelings or emotions are valid, and that others understand what we are saying. Throughout these interpersonal conversations, we should show that we understand the other person’s point of view, that we hear what they are saying and recognise their thoughts on the situation. See things from their point of view and validate it.
Serious conversations can still be light-hearted. Smile, use ‘softer’ words where possible, perhaps even insert a little humour if appropriate. Avoiding conflict by using an easy manner and softwe language can make the difference between an effective conversation and one that ends in conflict or upset.