(Be) Gentle—when interacting with someone, be gentle in how you talk to them and how your body language “speaks”. Do not use any verbal or physical threats, don’t threaten or judge them or their choices. When you have an open and accepting approach, people begin to put their guard down and you both are able to be more present with one another, creating a closer bond. This does not mean you have to condone everything or agree with everything. It simply means accepting and respecting that it is their opinion.
(Act) Interested—simple things such as eye contact, nods when the other person is speaking, words of agreement when they are telling you something important can make the other person feel seen and heard. Even your body posture can show that you are listening. For example, don’t fold your arms in front of you or turn to the side and lean towards them slightly.
Validate—validating someone’s experience does not mean you have to agree or like their experience or thoughts/feelings. It simply means you hear them. For example, “that must have been hard to deal with.” It is a form of empathy—“the ability to share and understand the feelings of another person.” Even if you don’t get why a situation was “hard”, they are showing you it was hard for THEM. Validating can open up the line of communication.
(Use an) Easy Manner—the more you appear calm, present and with them in that moment, the more they feel connected and understood. Tips of an easy manner are using humor to lighten the mood, smiling and being gentle.
Be curious and mindful of what you notice as you use the GIVE skill in a challenging situation you have with someone in your life or if perhaps, you struggle making connections. The more awareness you have of yourself and others around you, the more you can create positive change.