Mastering Communication: Discover and Apply DEAR MAN GIVE FAST Techniques from DBT for Improved Interpersonal Effectiveness

Effective communication is paramount to flourishing personal and professional relationships. Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) employs two techniques, DEAR MAN and GIVE FAST, to foster more robust communication skills. These are acronyms for sets of skills intended to enhance interpersonal effectiveness. This article delves into what “DEAR MAN GIVE FAST” encompasses, how it functions, and its application in real-life scenarios.

DEAR MAN is a DBT acronym that individuals can use to assert their needs and rights – thereby improving their interpersonal effectiveness. Each letter stands for one element of this strategy:

  • Describe: Clearly state the facts of the situation.
  • Express: Use ‘I’ statements to express your feelings.
  • Assert: Clearly articulate your needs or wants.
  • Reinforce: Emphasize the positive outcomes of fulfilling your needs or wants.
  • (Stay) Mindful: Maintain focus on the objective.
  • Appear Confident: Display confidence through body language and tone.
  • Negotiate: Be open to compromise.

Although similar to DEAR MAN in promoting effective communication, the GIVE skill is primarily employed when maintaining a relationship takes precedence over asserting oneself.

  • Gentle: Exhibit kindness and respect towards others.
  • Interested: Demonstrate interest in other people’s viewpoints.
  • Validate: Recognize other people’s thoughts and feelings as valid.
  • Easy Manner: Maintain a light-hearted and optimistic tone.

The FAST technique is another tool within DBT aimed at preserving self-respect during interactions. It finds particular use when upholding self-respect outweighs getting what you want or sustaining a relationship.

  • Fair: Exhibit fairness to yourself as well as others.
  • (No) Apologies: Refrain from apologizing for existing or having legitimate needs.
  • Stick to Values: Do not compromise your values to achieve an objective.
  • Truthful: Avoid lying or portraying helplessness.

To effectively apply DEAR MAN GIVE FAST skills in everyday life, it’s crucial first to identify which element takes priority in a given interaction: objective effectiveness (achieving what you want), relationship effectiveness (maintaining the relationship), or self-respect effectiveness (preserving self-esteem).

After determining your primary goal, employ the associated set of skills. If being assertive aligns with your objectives, utilize the DEAR MAN approach. Should preserving a relationship be more critical, apply the GIVE skills. If safeguarding self-respect remains paramount, engage with the FAST skills.

Practising these DBT techniques remains essential for mastering them. As you continuously implement these tools across various contexts and situations over time, you’ll notice improved interpersonal effectiveness leading to enhanced communication abilities, increased self-esteem and improved relationships overall.

Should you wish further support on your journey towards effective communication via DBT techniques, consider joining an online group therapy session to develop new coping strategies that replace negative behaviours and emotions. Such programs typically span 24 weeks, where attendees meet once per week at scheduled times. Participating in such sessions could bolster managing anxiety symptoms while reducing emotional distress and fostering hope about prospects.


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