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  • Writer's pictureIdiotTheWise

S26. U3. C4. DEAR MAN. Screenshots, bits n bobs. 

Updated: Mar 11, 2020

Live class done ✔️ Reading task done ✔️ Midweek material done ✔️ Weekend pledge done ✔️ Live class notes.... erm, not done 🤷‍♂️❌ DEAR MAN is an acronym in the Interpersonal Effectiveness DBT skills. Dear man skills teach you how to ask for something from someone while still maintaining a good relationship with that person. It's also a skill that can help you resolve conflicts and effectively say no when you need to.

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What on earth is D-E-A-R M-A-N and how is it supposed to help you get what you want in relationships? Good question. This mnemonic device was developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan as a component of Dialectical Behavior Therapy to help remind people of the basic skills involved in getting what you want in relationships in a healthy manner. It is important in all of our relationships that we feel capable of communicating with others about our expectations in relationships.

Without this open communication, relationships can foster resentment, unmet needs, and hurt feelings. One caveat to learning how to ask for what you need from others: you’re not guaranteed to get it! Even the most skilled communicators don’t always get what they want. However, there is a certain delicateness to learning how to gracefully accept hearing “no” from someone you care about.

DBT & Interpersonal Effectiveness:


To begin acquiring some tools to help you along the path towards this aspect of interpersonal effectiveness, let’s explore the meaning of the DBT acronym, D-E-A-R M-A-N, adapted from the workbook Don’t Let Your Emotions Run Your Life (Spradlin, 2003):


Use specific words to describe to the other person what you want, explaining yourself through language as clearly as possible. Leave little question as to what it is that you want or need. Practice clarity with your words.


Don’t shy away from being expressive. Part of learning how to effectively communicate, while still being intentional and mindful, involves using facial expressions, tone of voice, or gestures that capture the content and importance of your request. There is a delicate balance to be struck here. Work towards finding the happy medium of being expressive while maintaining a sense of self-control. This can be tricky for those of us who have a tendency to get lost in or overwhelmed by emotions.


Work towards finding your own balance between asserting your needs and staying away from aggressiveness (this includes passive aggressiveness). Be matter-of-fact as you assert your point(s).


Be sure that the other person understands exactly why they should respond to your request. Remind them of whatever positive outcomes would come from this request. Other people want to feel good about complying with requests – not like they are being coerced into meeting demands. Be careful not to offer rewards that are unrealistic or that you cannot come through on. Be true to your word.

Stay Mindful:

Don’t allow distracting thoughts or intense emotions to cloud your thinking. If the other person responds with defensiveness or hostility, don’t allow yourself to engage with the emotional intensity. Stay on track with what it is that you are asking for. If you respond to the other person with your own defensiveness or aggressiveness, your efforts will be sabotaged – you will probably not get what it is that you are asking for (at least not in the long-term). Rather than responding with intensity, practice opposite action, radical acceptance, and mindful breathing. Maintain your focus.

Appear Confident:

If you have trouble believing in the validity of your request, so will other people. Imagine yourself as confident, competent, and deserving of what you want or need. When you take yourself seriously, others are more likely to as well. Practice self-validation on your own to cultivate this skill.


When our ideal requests are not met, there is often a way to meet halfway – to find a solution that is “good enough” without compromising our values. A big part of negotiation is about respecting other people’s limits. It’s not just about you, after all. When the other person believes that you are capable of negotiating, they are much more likely to see you as a reasonable person. A positive consequence of this is that you are more likely to have successful interactions with this person in the future. Win-win, right?

How can you practice using the DBT mnemonic, D-E-A-R M-A-N in your future interpersonal interactions? What value do you see in learning how to be more mindful, intentional, and reasonable in your dealings with other people? It may be self-evident that these are desirable attributes of a healthy relationship, but if you reflect back on some unhealthy past or current relationships it might be clear that this is easy to forget in the heat of the moment.

Learning how to stand up for ourselves while still respecting the needs and limits of other people can take a lot of practice. Remember to be kind to yourself if some of these interpersonal skills are new. Many of us have spent a lifetime learning unhealthy relationship habits or patterns. The important thing is that you are making a choice now to do things differently.

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DEAR MAN in my life right now:

There are multitudes of predicaments that I can apply the DEAR MAN skill set too. Everyday stuff. After all its about life skills. We need to regulate everyday.

However, one specific situation I am in right now is very personal, tricky, a bit messy and has the potential to really upset the other person involved.

I am dealing with this situation mindfully employing all four of the DEAR part of the DEAR MAN model.

D: I am trying to be as clear as possible about my needs regarding some very confusing and nuanced feelings and emotions. I've not done brilliantly to be honest but moving forward I am very mindful about being very clear, honest and straightforward but gently, with care. Clarity is vital. Clarity. This person involved wants clarity. I must be sensitive to that and offer clarity. No bullshit.

E: As above to be honest. Clear, empathic, honesty. No bull. This person is zero bullshit tolerant.

A: I need to assert my thoughts and feelings and take on this prediciment and honour them and not just roll over and back track to avoid any potential pain. Pain happens. I have to be mindful of that.

R: I will be very mindful of positive reinforcement towards said person. This beautiful soul needs to be built up, not knocked down. This person has done nothing wrong. I Don want to upset this person. I want see said person become more confident and resilient. Good traits need pointing out.

And that's it. That will do. It's personal. Not for public consumption, yet. Needs to play out.

The MAN bit will follow regarding this topic when the time is right. An update will follow. See if I deliver my payload of emotion in a healthy manner. Here's hoping. I'm working hard on it.

Jolly good. That'll do for now. Toodle pip!

(who am I actually talking too? 🤷‍♀️)

DEAR MAN delivery. The MAN bit.

MAN up. I hate that fucking expression. Just saying.

Anyway, for the Man delivery bit of this thaang, I'm going to use a different scenario in which I had to deliver a message about an issue I was anxing right out over. The issue I reffered to in the DEAR segment has become inappropriate to comment on further outside of a closed private session.

First though, a little reminder:

The scenario I will briefly address was an everyday kind of happening but it caused me anxiety and stress non the less. My own bastard shadow does.

I had to pull out of a construction training course thing because of a double booking and the training did not tKe priority however, I was doing really well in said training course and was really enjoying it which made it bitter for me and I suspected the trainer might be a bit peeved. That was my own anx tricking mem the trainer had a class of 30 or so to deal with and is used to people having to drop it and come back to it later. Why would he give a fuck about me? Exactly. Chill.

So I went in at it like so:


  • I explained my situation honestly, clearly, straight forward, no fucking about. I went in semi scripted and delivered.

  • The trainer heard me out, didn't challenge my news and explanation and understood. Kushty.

  • Immediate anx reduction and relief.


  • I Wen in prepped, a bit anx but confident in my reasons and message delivery semi script.

  • I was clear, concise, friendly assertive and apologetic out of courtesy.


  • I negotiated too hop in on the next run of this bit of training that I want and my employer wants me to benefit from.

  • He was cool with that and we had a deal. Mint.

So that was that in brief. Successful interaction with the anxiety kept in check and a mutually beneficial arrangement to complete training.

That's all folks!


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