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Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills

I have Learned to get along with others while also asserting your own needs is essential to healthy relationships. It can be difficult to balance your own needs and the needs of others. How can you get what you need without being aggressive or neglecting of the needs of others? There are three sets of skills you will learn to help achieve this goal: objective effectiveness, relationship effectiveness, and self-respect effectiveness.

Objective Effectiveness (D.E.A.R. M.A.N.)

What is the goal of an interaction? Objective effectiveness is about getting what you want out of a situation. The acronym D.E.A.R. M.A.N. will remind you how to clearly express your needs or desires.


Use clear and concrete terms to describe what you want. Don’t say: “Could you please clean?” Do say: “Could you do the dishes before going to bed?”


Let others know how a situation makes you feel by clearly expressing your feelings. Don’t expect others to read your mind. Try using this line: “I feel ___ because ___.”


Don’t beat around the bush—say what you need to say. Don’t say: “Oh, well, I don’t know if I can cook tonight or not.” Do say: “I won’t be able to cook because I’m working late.”


Reward people who respond well, and reinforce why your desired outcome is positive. This can be as simple as a smile and a “thank you”.


Don’t forget the objective of the interaction. It can be easy to get sidetracked into harmful arguments and lose focus.


Appear confident. Consider your posture, tone, eye contact, and body language.


No one can have everything they want out of an interaction all the time. Be open to negotiation. Do say: “If you wash the dishes, I’ll put them away.”

Relationship Effectiveness (G.I.V.E.)

Relationships aren’t only about getting what we need—they’re also about the other person. The acronym G.I.V.E. will help you achieve relationship effectiveness by fostering positive interactions.


Don’t attack, threaten or express judgment during your interactions. Accept the occasional “no” for your requests.


Show interest by listening to the other person without interrupting.


Be outwardly validating to the other person’s thoughts and feelings. Acknowledge their feelings, recognize when your requests are demanding, and respect their opinions.

Easy Have an easy attitude. Try to smile and act lighthearted.

Self-Respect Effectiveness (F.A.S.T.)

Sometimes in relationships you might find yourself betraying your own values and beliefs to receive approval or to get what you want. The acronym F.A.S.T. will help you achieve self-respect effectiveness.


Be fair. Not only to others, but also to yourself.


Don’t apologize unless it’s warranted. Don’t apologize for making a request, having an opinion, or disagreeing.

Stick to Values

Don’t compromise your values just to be liked or to get what you want. Stand up for what you believe in.


Avoid dishonesty such as exaggeration, acting helpless as a form of manipulation, or outright lying.

Try these acronyms in your life and you will see positive results. Let's all practice these few simple suggestions.


Ernie R.

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