Introduction to Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills
Relationships are complicated and difficult at times, no matter what else is going on in your life. When we talk about relationships here, we mean any kind of interpersonal relationship you might have – with a romantic partner, a friend, a family member or colleague.
For people who struggle to regulate their emotions, and who may feel vulnerable in relationships, these skills can help in navigating these difficult situations.
There are three key skills we will look at in this module:
- DEAR MAN – this skills helps you to ask for what you want or need
- GIVE – this skill helps you to take care of your relationships
- FAST – this skills will help you learn to say no in such a way the you show respect for both yourself and the other person.
There are things thay you may come across which get in the way of being interpersonally effective, it’s important to bear these in mind so that you recognise the obstacles that may come up, acknowledge them, adapt and carry on.
- lack of skills – the reason we are here, and the purpose of DBT, is that we are lacking some skills which we need in interpersonal situations. This isn’t a reflection on us as people, we just need to learn these skills as we would learn any other skills.
- emotions are in the way – this is the most common obstacle to interpersonal effectiveness. We are all, at one time or another, driven by our emotions. Sometimes we follow our emotions without stopping to think of what we are doing. DBT skills (such as mindfulness in the previous module) help us to check in with ourselves before we act.
- not knowing what we want or need – it’s hard to be effective in relationships if we don’t know what we want or need. We find ourselves in situations where we repeatedly say no to a solution, rather than saying what we need in the first instance. These interactions then become frustrating and not helpful, and can leave people angry or upset.
- losing sight of our goals – when we are overcome with emotions, we can lose sight of what we are aiming for, instead acting in the moment.
Being aware of these pitfalls is a good step towards doing things differently, which will help to foster more meaningful relationships. 33