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Interpesonal Effectiveness

Your goals with this are:

1. Asking for something effectively

2. Keeping a good realtionship

3. Keeping your self respect

Keep your three goals in mind.

Getting what you want or need from a relationship is about being assertive, collaborative, and willing to tolerate not getting things your way every single time.

Being effective in relationships is about investing in others. Don't only think of yourself and your needs, but keep the other person's needs in mind too. But it also goes that you shouldn't only think about the other person's needs, you need to think about yourself too. A relationship is a two way street.

Self-respect can be accomplished by believing in your self-worth, having healthy boundaries, and getting to know yourself better.

Completing these three goals takes energy, flexibility, and motivation. You need to invest your time in all three goals to balance them.

What Stops You From Achieving Your Goal

  1. Worry Thoughts

You have the skill but your worry thoughts interfere with doing or saying what you want

  • Worries about bad consequences
    • "They won't like me" "They will think i'm stupid"
  • Worries 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 this right" "I am so stupid"

       2.     Lack Of Skill

You actually DON'T KNOW what to say or how to act

       3.     Emotions

You have the skill, but your emotions make you unable to do or say what you want. Instead of skills controlling your actions or what you say, your emotions do.

        4.     Can't Decide

You have the skill, but you cannot decide what you want.

  • Asking for too much or not asking for anything
  • Saying no to everything or giving in to everything

         5.     Environment

You have the skill, but the environment gets in the way.

  • Other people are too powerful
  • Other people may have some reason for not liking you if you get what you want
  • Other people won't give you what you need unless you sacrifice your self-respect

Cheerleading Statements

These are some statements you can tell yourself to boost your interpersonal effectiveness.

  1.  It is okay to want or need something from someone else
  2. I have a choice to ask someone for what I want or need
  3. I can stand it if I don't get what I want or need
  4. The fact that someone says "no" to my request does not mean that I shouldn't have asked in the first place
  5. If I didn't get my goals met, that does not mean I didn't go about it in a skillful way
  6. Standing up for myself over "small" things can be just as important as "big" things are to others
  7. I can insiste on my rights and still be a good person
  8. I can sometimes have a right to assert myself, even though I may inconvenience others
  9. The fact that other people might not be assertive does not mean that I should not be
  10. I can understand and validate another person and still ask for what I want
  11. There is no law that says that other people's opinions are more valid than mine
  12. I may want to please people I care about, but I don't have to please them all the time
  13. Giving, giving, giving is not the be-all of life. I am an important person in this world too
  14. If I refuse to do a favor for people, that doesn't mean that I don't like them. They will probably understand that too
  15. I am under no obligation to say "yes" to people simply because they ask a favor of me
  16. The fact that i say "no" to someone does not make me a selfish person
  17. I can still feel good about myself even though someone else is annoyed with me
  18. If my request was denied, it was still worth asking
  19. I can still be a good person even if they judge me
  20. I am no better or worse than any other person
  21. I can say "no" and others can understand that
  22. Can you think of other cheerleading statements you can tell yourself?

How To Ask For Something Effectively (needs met)

There are four things that can help you ask for something effectively so you can get your needs met:

  • The 5 "W's"
  • "DARE" to say No
  • Broken Record





Reinforce others




Mindfully present

Appear confident


Describe: Describe the situation. Describe what you want and why you need it. Be completely honest, don't make excuses for why you want what you are asking for.

Express: Express your feelings about the situation; start statements off with "I feel..."

Assert: Assert yourself by asking for what you want clearly and specifically, don't try to hint at it or avoid coming right out and saying it. Remember other people can't read your mind.

Reinforce: Reinforce the other person by explaining the positive outcomes of getting what you want. Make sure to thank them or say "I appreciate it if you could..."

Willingness: Have a willingness to tolerate not always getting what you want in the exact moment that you want it.

Openness: Have an openness to the other person's suggestions, ideas, or feedback about what you're asking for. Don't hear "no" and then stop listening; Be flexible in getting what you want, you may be able to bargain and get part of what you want.

Mindfully Present: Be mindfully present in the current moment. Keep your focus on what you want right now. Don't be distracted by the outcome of previous requests, or your worry thoughts about how the other person will respond.

Appear Confident: Make eye contact and use confidence in your tone of voice.

Negotiate: Be willing to give to get. If there is a problem, offer solutions and ask the other person to problem solve.

The 5"W's"

These can help you get what you are asking for

Who? Are you asking the right person?

What is the right question? Is it clear what you're asking for?

When is a good time to ask your question? Is the person in a good mood or busy?

Where should you ask the question: in private or in front of other people?

Why do you need to ask the question?

DARE To Say No

D Describe the situation, say why you must say no and be honest about it. Don't make up excuses why, this can give the other person a way to get inside your head and make you say yes.

A Assert exactly what you need, make sure you specifically say no and don't hint at it.

R Reinforce your "no" say things like "I hope you understand" or "I wish I could help, but I can't"

E Evaluate your response. Did it work? If not, then why? Can you partially do the request?

The 5 "W's" To Say No

Who can you say no to? Are you saying "no" to the right person?

What are you saying "no" to? Does it make sense for you to say no?

When is a good time to say "no"? Is it a request you should think about and get back to the person later?

Where should you say no? Is it okay to say "no" now or should you do it later?

Why do you need to say no? Does it seem unfair to do what the person is asking or is it illegal or harmful to say yes?

Broken Record

This strategy can be commonly known for negative thoughts. Oftentimes our negative thoughts just play over and over in our heads. But what we need to do is try having this broken record play positive things.

  • Keep coming back to yourself
  • Keep coming back to your needs
  • Keep coming back to your values
  • Keep coming back to your self-care
  • Keep coming back to who you want to be
  • Keep coming back to what you want your life to be like
  • Keep coming back to your commitment to having healthy relationships

Invest in Relationships/Keep Good Relationships

These can help you keep a good relationship with other people, instead of rocky ones.


  • GIVE 
  • Turn The Tables
  • Relationship Thinking
  • Dealing with Difficult People
  • Repairs
  • The 4 Horsemen



(be) Gentle: Be nice, respectful; keep your cool. Don't use threats. Keep your tone of voice calm

(act) Interested: Listen- act interested in what the person is saying. Make eye contact. Be patient.

   Validate: Show that you understand the other person's feelings or opinions. Be non-judgmental.

(use) Easy manner: Smile- use humor. Be light-hearted and keep your cool. Relax and take it easy.


Turn The Tables

This skill is about helping out and doing things for others. Helping others can be rewarding all on its own. You can do things for others when you're having a bad day or if they haven't done anything in return. Do things without being asked and see how the other person feels. You may make them happy and improve the relationship.


Think about these questions:

What are some things that make it hard to "Turn the Tables" in your relationship?

What are some ways to minimize what is hard about "Turn the Tables"?

What are some ways you can effectively "Turn the Tables" in your relationships regularly?

What are some things you can do any day to "Turn the Tables"?

Relationship Thinking

This skill helps to rid your mind of black and white thinking because in life there are shades of grey. Holding a both/and perspective in relationships instead of an either/or perspective will help you see the other person's opinion more effectively. Learning to appreciate other people's opinions, tolerating not always having answers, and acknowledging making mistakes can be hard sometimes, but it's important to work on these skills.

Think about needs and wants; self and others; as well as talking and listening. Care for others even when they annoy you. Realize others can care about you, but can be frustrated with you.

Instead of thinking in terms of "always" and "never" think of things as oftentimes and not often enough.

People may disagree with you, but that doesn't mean that they don't care about you.


Dealing With Difficult People

Everyone has times when they need to deal with difficult people who are unpleasant or argumentative. This skill is about having the tools to be able to deal with people that are difficult.

1. Describe the relationship without being judgmental. Say it is "tense" or "challenging" without saying something mean about the difficult person.

2. Explore what makes this person so difficult to deal with. Try to be non-judgmental and stick to observing and describing.

3. Participate in improving this relationship How can you remain non-judgmental? What can you do to make this relationship better?

4. Identify and overcome obstacles to improvement. Will your judgements get in the way of your improving the relationship? Keep your goals in focus.



This skill is for making healthy relationships last. It's about being able to make and acceptapologies as well as having the ability to let things go.

It may not be easy, but being able to admit when you've made mistakes and were wrong is very useful. Effective apologizing will increase trust and safety.

Occasionally, letting things go improves the relationship by allowing you not to have past baggage hold you down.

The 4 Horsemen

This skill is about identifying the 4 destructive forces each person can bring into relationships. Horsemen are things that cause stress and damage the relationship. Here are some examples that youth and adults may deal with:

 Youth Adult
  • Not communicating
  • Withdrawal
  • Dishonesty
  • Not going to school
  • Playing video games (too much)
  • Bullying
  • Violence
  • Drugs and alcohol
  • Delinquency


  • Dishonesty
  • Not taking mental health medication
  • Out-of-control spending
  • Credit card debt
  • Workaholism
  • Drugs and alcohol
  • Compulsive or addictive behaviors
  • Violence
  • Infidelity

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