Using Objectiveness effectiveness: (Dear Man)

D Describe
E Express
A Assert
R Reinforce

M Mindful
A Appear Confident
N Negotiate

Using Relationship Effectiveness: (Give)

G Gentle
I Interested
V Validate
E Easy Manner

Self-respect effectiveness: (Fast)

F Fair
A Apologies (no Appologies)
S Stick to value
T Truthful

THESE ARE THE ADDITIONAL NOTES FROM THE INTERPERSONAL SKILLS MODULE: We will be covering 2 types of interpersonal skills in this module. 1. asking for things, making requests, initiating discussion 2. saying no, resisting pressure, maintaining a position or point of view.

Everyone has these skills. The degree of mastery of these skills tends to vary from one situation, to the next. For example, some people may be quite comfortable saying no to strangers, but not to friends. Others may be able to say no to friends, but not to their bosses.

Deciding what skills to use, and when to use them.

Frequently people have good interpersonal skills, but are not sure when and how to use them. In order to decide what skills to use and when to use them, you need to know what your goals are in a situation.

Three types of Goals:

1. Objective Effectiveness: using skills effectively to obtain something you want.

2. Relationship effectiveness: using skills effectively to maintain or improve a relationship.

3. Self respect effectiveness: using skills effectively to mainatin your self respect.

Objectives Effectiveness

Getting what you want, getting your wishes taken seriously

1. standing up for your rights in such a way that they are taken seriously
2. requesting others to do things in such a way that they do it
3. refusing unwanted or unreasonable requests and making the refusal stick
4. resolving interpersonal conflict
5. getting your opinion/point of view taken seriously

Important to remember that no one is able to get everything they want from others all of the time. Some environments are "simply impervious" to even the most skilled individuals. Increased interpersonal skills will increase your probability of getting your objectives met, but they are not a guarantee. In situations where it is impossible to get what you want, distress tolerance and radical acceptance become important interpersonal skills.

Relationship Effectiveness:

"The art of maintianing or even improving an interpersonal relationship while you try to get what you want. When this works well, you will get what you want, and the person may like or respect you even more than before."

1. acting in a way that makes the other person want to give you what you are asking for.

2. acting in a way that makes the other person feel good about your saying no to their request.

3. balancing immediate (short-term) goals with what is good for the relationship.

Sometimes your main goal is to get the other person to approve of you more, stop criticizing or rejecting you, stay with you. In this case relationship effectiveness refers to choosing a way to do this (improve the relationship) that does not do damage to the relationship in the long term.

An example of risking a long term relationship for short term relationship gain would be attacking someone for voicing a criticism. This does not mean that you can not deal with the criticism, it does mean that you do this in such a way that you don't attack the other person.

It is also important to remember that you have to balance relationship goals with the other two type of goals. Continually sacrificing your goals for the sake of the relationship won't garantee that the relationship will go smoothly, approval will ever be forthcoming and no problems will arise. The key problem with this approach is that it just doesn't work.

Relationship begins -> person sacrifices needs and wants to keep the relationship -> frustration and unmet needs , huge inequities ->relationship ends: big fight, partner walks out or you leave the relationship in frustration.

Relationship begins -> difficult situations dealt with -> unmet needs assessed -> inequity assessed-> big issue addressed.

Self-Respect Effectiveness

Self-respect effectiveness involves maintaining or improving your good feeling about yourself and respecting your own values or beliefs, while you try to get what you want. It includes: acting in ways that fit your sense of morality and acting in ways that make you feel competent.

Diminishes self-respect over the long term:


1. Giving in for the sake of approval.
2. Lying to please others.
3. Acting helpless. - also diminishes your sense of mastery



You actually don't know what to say or how to act. You don't know how you should behave to obtain your objectives. You don't know what will work.

Lack of skill is frequently dismissed as lack of motivation. If you don't know what to say or do, all the motivation in the world will not show you how to do it.

People learn interpersonal skills the same way they learn other skills.

1. by observing others doing them
2. by practicing the skill themselves
3. refining the skills until desired results are achieved

Lack of interpersonal skills can occur when

1. you don't have anyone to model the skills
2. you don't have the opportunity to observe the skills being modeled
3. you don't have the chance to practice the skills

Degree of interpersonal effectiveness often varies from one situation to another, from one frame of mind to another, from one mood to another.


Worry thoughts get in the way of using interpersonal skills. In this situation you have the ability, but your worry thoughts interfer with doing or saying what you want.

Worrying about bad consquences..."they won't like me"...she will think I'm stupid"

Worrying about whether you deserve to get what you want..."I am such a bad person I don't deserve this"

Worries about not being effective and calling yourself names..."I won't do it right"...."I'll probably fall apart"...I'm so stupid."

3. Emotions (Practice noticing your breath to get you to get to a calmer state so you will get into wise mind)

Emotions may get in the way of our ability to behave. In this situation you have the ability, but it is interfered with by your emotions.

For example, you might get angry or anxious, or feel frustrated and guilty because of how you think about a situation, or because you don't know what to do.

Emotions can be an automatic response to a situation, based on previous experience. Emotional reactions can also be based on myths.

4. Indecision (Emotions/Worry create indecision)

You have the skills but you can't decide what you really want or what to do. This is likely to occur when:

1. you are conflicted/uncertain about your priorities
2. when you can't figure out how to balance asking for too much vs not asking for anything
3. when you can't figure out how to balance saying no to everything vs giving in to everything
5. Environment

There are times when even the most skilled individuals cannot be effective at getting what they want, keeping others liking them, or behaving in ways that they respect.

Examples of situations where even very good skills may not get you what you want:

1. when the environment is too powerful....others in this situation may
simply refuse to give the person what they want, or they may have the
authority to make her do what they want her to do. Saying no here, or
insisting on rights may have very negative consequences

2.When other people feel threatened, jealous, envious (etc.) there may be no
way to ask for what you want or say no and keep the other person liking you.

3. Sometimes the objective is so important (i.e. food for children) that one
will pursue it even though it may damage their pride or self-respect.

Interplay of Factors

The less you know, the more you worry, the worse you feel, the more you can't decide what to do, the more ineffective your are, the more you worry.

The more you experience non-giving, authoritarian environments, the more you worry, the less you practice, the less you know, the worse you feel, the more you can't decide what to do, and so on.

An important reminder

Even very skilled people often cannot, and do not get what they want. It is important to look at the factors that resulted in you not getting what you want...It is not helpful, useful or realistic to always blame yourself for not getting what you want!

Lastly, the belief that you can always get what you want (if only you are skilled enough) makes people feel that they "should" never be disappointed. This view generally leads to self-blame frustration and anger.

DBT Skills Discussion List Work Linehan's DBT skills to cope with BPD. This list can be very helpful but is not designed as a replacement for (not is it) therapy. It is a moderated peer-support list that facilitates the dicussion and working of Linehan's DBT Skills.

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as of October 29, 2003

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  • Last up-dated January 14, 2006