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Relationship building via GIVE and VALIDATE


Social-Emotional Learning MS/HS/College Strategy


Flexible Thinking Self-regulation Social Awareness

Relationship building via GIVE and VALIDATE

If your child has difficulty building friendships

How To Apply It!

Having a structured approach can help them develop the social and relationship skills they need. GIVE and VALIDATE are two mnemonic acronyms to try as you think about how you are communicating and interacting with others.


  1. G: Genuine. Be authentic and act from your true self. Let others appreciate who you are. They are likely to recognize if you are not being genuine so try not to pretend to be someone you are not.
  2. I: Interest. Show interest in what is important to them, not just what is important to you.
  3. V: Validate their views. Acknowledge their point of view and emotions. You do not need to agree with them to understand them.
  4. E: Easygoing. Even if you are not feeling great, try to smile and be pleasant. Yes, you want to be genuine but there is a time and place to express different types of feelings.


  1. V: Value others. Appreciate their strengths, even if they are different from yours. Try not to focus on what you do not like about them.
  2. A: Ask questions. The best way to get to know someone is often asking them questions.
  3. L: Listen. Listen to their answers. Ask follow up questions to show you are listening.
  4. I: Identify. Identify where you have common ground. Try to see their perspective even if it seems at odds with your own.
  5. D: Discuss. Do not avoid tough topics like emotions and differences in opinion. Instead, try to bring those differences out in the open.
  6. A: Attend to non-verbal signals. Some people will not tell you how they feel but they might show you with their eyes, hands or body language. Take those visual cues and do your best to respond appropriately.
  7. T: Turn the mind. Even if you disagree with someone, identify ways to focus your mind on the points of agreement to find common ground. If that is not possible, turn inward to understand your own feelings so you are not disproportionately upset or emotional.
  8. E: Encourage participation. Find ways to make yourself and others engage in participation. Participation is not always easy but helping yourself and others engage will be more positive overall.

Why It Works (the Science Of Learning)!

Students struggle with building relationship skills depending on their age, context, and student-specific needs. Providing children with a structured approach can help them handle challenging social interactions. Acronyms like GIVE and VALIDATE can be useful because they can be relatively easy to remember and apply in stressful or emotional situations. Source: Dialectic Behavior Therapy National Certification and Accreditation Association