DEAR MAN DBT Skill – The Most Effective Way to Make a Request

You can use the DBT skill DEAR MAN to resolve a conflict or make a request in a respectful and effective way that maintains a relationship. “DEAR MAN” is an acronym, with each letter representing its own skill. As you study and implement these skills, you’ll find that having hard conversations becomes easier over time. DEAR MAN stands for:
• Describe
• Express
• Assert
• Reinforce
• (stay) Mindful
• Appear Confident
• Negotiate

For more information on how to use DEAR MAN to protect & maintain healthy relationships, please visit or call us at 888-317-3961

Video Transcription:

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. Each letter is a reminder of how to implement this skill in a conversation. The D in DEAR MAN reminds you to Describe. First, let’s set up the conversation by only stating the facts about it. You’re not going to ask for, reject, or give an opinion at this point. You’re just going to set up the facts about the situation, so you and the other person are both on the same page. The E stands for Express. After setting up the conversation, you want to express your feelings and understanding of it. This is best done using I statements to take accountability for yourself and your emotions and to keep the other person from becoming defensive in the conversation. A stands for Assert. You’ve set up the facts and expressed your feelings and understanding of the situation. Now it’s time to be clear and assert, or ask, for what you do or don’t want. Be direct, don’t beat around the bush or assume the other person knows what you’re talking about. They can’t read your mind. You need to clearly state exactly what you want, so there is no misunderstanding. The R stands for Reinforce. Whether you’re making a request or turning one down, be sure to reinforce the relationship between you and the other person. Acknowledge that the relationship is important to you and express how you’ll feel about them regardless of the outcome. The M in Man stands for Mindful. Try to be fully present and focused on the current issue you’re resolving. Don’t fall into the trap of bringing up past events, or overpromising on the future. Use mindfulness to stay on topic and avoid going off on a rant. And of course, ignore the distractions of your phone or your environment. A in Man stands for Appear Confident. Look the part. Sit up or stand up straight and make eye contact with the person you’re speaking to. This lets the other person know that you’re taking this conversation seriously and that you’re confident you should get what you’re asking for. And finally, N stands for Negotiate. During this conversation, remember that your trying to make the situation a win-win for yourself and the other person. Make your offer more appealing if the other person is not on board with the outcome. Using the DEAR MAN DBT skill can feel a bit awkward at first, but keep practicing. It will be worth the effort to learn how to resolve conflicts and ask for things in a way that keeps a good relationship between you and those you love.

About Sunrise Residential Treatment Center:

Sunrise is a fully integrated DBT (dialectical behavior therapy) program founded on the belief that each girl is unique in her struggles. Some are depressed or anxious, others struggle with addictions or eating disorders. All struggle with deep-rooted emotional issues that limit their ability to unlock their potential.

Sunrise heals adolescent girls and their families in a real-life setting through a combination of integrated Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), community involvement, and our own private school. A relational-based program, we create individualized plans and provide each girl with opportunities to practice her skills and build her self-esteem.



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