The Dear Man

Recently, the focus of my therapy sessions has shifted from anxiety and depression treatment to more interpersonal skills, assertiveness training, and emotion regulation. I had talked about my frustrations at work and how I felt like I was unable to voice my concerns effectively. This has always been a weakness of mine. My counselor suggested that I attempt a strategy to be more persuasive and more accurately describe what I want. I present to you, DEAR MAN.

(D)escribe: Explain, as specifically as possible, what the current situation is. Be clear, and make you point obvious.

(E)xpress: Communicate how you feel. This part is hard for someone who has very little emotional control, such as myself.

(A)ssert: State what you want plainly, but not aggressively. There’s a balance here. It’s important to stay in control.

(R)einforce: When the other party inevitably asks “why should I do that?”, you respond here. How does your request benefit the other person?

Stay (M)indful: This has to do with maintaining control of both yourself and the conversation. The other person may respond emotionally, and it’s important for you to stay composed. There may also be an attempt to distract you or talk around the issues, and it’s up to you to keep the focus.

(A)ppear Confident: Because apparently people with anxiety disorders can just do this.

(N)egotiate: You may need to find a solution that makes both parties happy. Or one that at least makes everybody equally miserable. Whichever works.

This is one of those things that won’t come easy to me. I’ll have to practice, and I’ll hate every minute of it. Trying this in a session was awful (particularly the confidence part). I’ve always been the type of person to be like “oh sorry, let me move out of your way.” I don’t ask for things at other peoples’ houses. Don’t ask me to pick a place to eat, because 15 minutes later we’ll still be clueless. Clearly, I have some work to do here.

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