woman being comforted

Interpersonal effectiveness is a crucial component of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). Practicing the principles of D.E.A.R M.A.N can help you implement appropriate boundaries and enjoy healthier relationships.



Aim to describe the situation neutrally. Stick with the facts instead of sharing your own opinions or values. Remember that there will always be multiple perspectives, and that conflict resolution isn’t about deciding who is right or wrong.



Share clearly how the situation made you feel. Consider using an I-statement like, I felt ____ because ____. Avoid blaming others for your feelings or expecting them to inherently know how you feel about an event.



Share exactly what you need without assuming others can read your mind or interpret your desires. For example, I need ___ because ____.



Provide positive reinforcement when people respect your needs and boundaries. Let them know you appreciate their understanding.



When interacting with others, try to stay focused on your intentions and be careful to avoid letting other issues distract you. If an argument arises, aim to bring the conversation back to your original goals.



Appear self-assured and confident. Stay focused on maintaining good posture, appropriate eye contact, and confident body language. Even if you feel stressed or insecure, try to avoid becoming aggressive or withdrawn.



Be willing to compromise if needed. Try to work together to find a viable solution that respects both of your needs. Remember that it’s unrealistic to have everything solved (or go your way) at all times.

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