How effective are we at getting needs met? Do we end up hurting ourselves or others in the process? Perhaps we rarely see the results we want to see. The following skill guides us in following a 7-step process in getting others to be more likely to give us what we want or need. This process can be remembered as “DEAR MAN”.
This is the first step. We haven’t gotten to making demands yet or asking any questions. In this part of the skill, we’re going to set the stage. We need to talk about, in objective terms, the situation at hand. What are the facts that are leading up to you having this want or need? Help the other person to see the world you’re living in by giving them the details. But only the factual ones.
Here is where we can talk about how we feel. The keyword here is how we feel. Use “I” statements and refer to the details in step one. How do the facts you describe impact you?
Now we’ve gotten to the asking part. Be specific in what you would like or what you need. Remember, others cannot read your mind, so we cannot assume that they already know what it is we want or need.
Have you raised kids before? If so, you probably know what to do in this step. We’re going to let the other person know what’s in it for them. What are they going to get out of meeting your need? Perhaps your relationship will be improved. Perhaps they’ll be relieved that they can be of help to you.
In difficult interactions with other people, it can be easy to find ourselves being distracted by our own or others’ history and baggage. The key here is to stay on task. You can come to unrelated or indirectly related topics at another time. Continue to gently redirect to the request or need.
We should appear as if we know that we should get what we want or need. The key here is to appear confident. If you don’t feel confident right away, that’s ok. Sometimes by behaving as if we are, we begin to convince ourselves of what we know is true. Back straight, head up. Make comfortable eye contact.
This one involves a little skill. Sometimes, depending on the relationship and what our need or want is, we need to give a little to get a little. Perhaps meet halfway. The key here is to know your worth as a person. Never negotiate on your self-respect.
Final thought: We should keep in mind that no skill works every time and in every situation. We do not live in a vacuum and people are not robots. This skill is meant to increase the likelihood that someone will meet our needs and reduce the experiences of failure or making situations worse. We should always keep in mind the assumption that there are causes for everybody’s behavior and for every situation we find ourselves in.