Do you have trouble asking for assistance, setting limits with people or saying “no” to someone when you want to say no? The G.I.V.E. (be Gentle, act Interested, Validate, use an Easy manner) coping skill can help in these situations while nurturing a better relationship with the other person.
The goal of this skill is to communicate in an effective, wise-mind way that helps you set a limit or make a request and allows the other person to walk away still feeling good about the relationship.
Wise-Mind is that place where reasonable mind and emotion mind overlap. It is the balance of our inner knowledge and intuition with our rational thinking. – Marsha Linehan, Ph.D.
G: Be Gentle
People usually respond positively to gentleness as opposed to hostile behavior. Think about how you would like to be treated. Practice with a trusted friend and get feedback about your tone of voice, facial expressions and posture.
What to avoid… attacks, blaming, threats, judging statements, name calling, guilt trips, eye rolling, sarcasm, passive aggressive behavior, manipulation.
What to do … be gentle in your tone, facial expression and choice of words.
I: Act Interested
Really listen to what the other person is saying. Stay in the moment.
What to avoid… interrupting or talking over the other person, changing the topic of conversation abruptly, thinking about what you’re going to say next, only talking about yourself or your own interests.
What to do … make good eye contact, ask questions, maintain open body language, use non-verbal communication like nodding your head or leaning in, say something a little nice!
Validating is recognizing the other person’s problems, feelings, desires or opinions. It feels good to be heard and understood.
What to do … reflect back that you are listening and understand what the person is saying. Use statements like: “I can see that this is difficult for you,” or “I totally understand how you feel,” or “I can really see that this subject is very important to you.”
E: Use an Easy Manner
A smile and a little humor can help set a calm tone or help to reduce tension in many situations. A light-hearted attitude can help to ease along a conversation.
What to avoid… Don’t make demands, harass or nag.
What to do … use an “Easy Like Sunday Morning” easy manner! Not too intense, not too demanding.
Use the GIVE Skills in Difficult Situations
GIVE skills can make even difficult situations a bit more palatable. For instance, there will be times where you have to stand up for yourself and allow the other person to be angry, sad or disappointed. You might need to say, “I know that you are disappointed that I have responded to your request in this way. I am going to ave to live with you feeling disappointed in me for now.”
Practice using the GIVE tool by writing out a script to how you will communicate in a particular situation.
By using skills like GIVE, you increase the chance you will get what you want and maintain the care and support associated with important relationships in your life!
Kym Hansen-Duell, LMSW, ACSW is a licensed social worker at the Pine Rest Traverse City Clinic. Kym has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Central Michigan University and a Master of Social Work from Grand Valley State University. She is a member of the National Association of Social Workers and the Academy of Certified Social Workers. Kym is available to speak at community events on topics such as ADHD, depression, parenting, family issues and workplace stress