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Living with others

Part of our journey of personal growth as humans involves learning to live successfully with others in our communities, be that at work or at home. As the saying goes ‘no man is an island’. 

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Living with others

Assertiveness Skills - Using the ‘DESC script’

Part of living successfully with others involves asking for what you want from them. Without asking people may not help us or they may continue to act in ways we dislike. One approach to developing assertiveness is to use a method known as the DESC script. It stands for: 

  • Describe the behaviour or situation as completely and objectively as possible. Try and stick to the facts

  • Express your feelings and thoughts about the behaviour or situation. Try phrasing your statements with “I...” rather than “You...” to avoid putting people on the defensive.

  • Specify what behaviour/outcome you would like to happen.

  • Consequences: Specify the consequences of getting what you want versus the consequences of not getting what you want (both positive and negative.)


Limit Setting Skills - Use ‘Gentle Refusal’

Another important skill in living with others is to learn to say no. Otherwise we can easily become overwhelmed by other’s requests or end up doing things we never wanted to do in the first place. One approach to setting limits with others is known as ‘Gentle Refusal’. This involves the following steps:

  • Reflection - Let the person know that you have heard the question or request. This demonstrates that you have understood their needs. “It sounds like you really”

  • Refuse (set limits or say no) - Say clearly what your limits are and only if you choose to, your reason for saying no. “I can’t...because...” or "I’m not willing to..." 
  • Perhaps offer an Invitation to demonstrate you care. "However maybe we could...instead"


Negotiation Skills - Use the BODIPART method

Living with others also often involves trying to come to mutual agreement. In order to do this successfully it is important to try and work towards a win-win situation where both parties benefit and neither party feels that they have had to make any unreasonable compromises. This is where having good negotiation skills come in. 

  • - Have a Back-up plan (or Plan B) in case the other person does not want to cooperate. By having a plan B prior to dealing with any conflict, you can remain confident that you can still move forward even if your negotiation fails

  • O - Stay Objective - Focus on the problem to be solved. Don’t let emotions take over the situation. Separate the other person from the problem to be solved. Have compassion towards the other person (and yourself) if they (or you) become frustrated/angry.

  • D - Defuse the other persons anger/frustration-Use active listening and acknowledge their concerns, try and see things from their point of view and summarise their point of view.

  • I - Uncover both parties’ Interests non -confrontationally. I.e. what are both of your aims?

  • - Agree to work in Partnership towards a WIN-WIN solution. What are the shared interests? What is each party willing to compromise?

  • A - Generate mutually Agreeable solutions.

  • - Handover Responsibility to the other person to choose the solution.

  • - Thank the person for working with you.

  • Work towards greater autonomy- avoid creating dependency on others