Disconfirming Behaviors/Responses


Disconfirming responses show that you don’t care about:

1) the person, 2) what he or she has to say, or 3) the interaction. 


Disconfirming responses can negatively affect a person’s sense of self-worth.



Text Material


    Impervious Response:  No response—seemingly oblivious to what was said.


    Interrupting and Completing:  Interjecting your comments while the other person is talking.  Finishing the other person’s statements.


    Irrelevant:  Giving a response that has nothing to do with what the other person had just said.


    Tangential Response:  Starting to respond to the other person’s statement, but then changing the topic.  “Yes…but …. “


    Impersonal Response: Intellectualizes or uses third person to trivialize the other’s comments.


    Incoherent Response: Rambling and unintelligible response.


    Incongruous Response: When verbal and nonverbal messages are inconsistent.




Not in the Text



    Verbal Silence:  Failing to acknowledge that the other person has said something to you.


    Nonverbal Indifference:  Having a blank expression, or lack of any nonverbal response to the other’s message.


    Turning Away:  Physically withdrawing from the interaction.


    Engaging in Other Activities:  Reading the paper, stopping to talk to others, watching TV, etc. rather than attending to the person who is trying to talk to you.


    Monologue or Stage-hogging:  Talking all the time as though what you have to say is important and the other person’s are not.

Confirming Behaviors/Responses


Confirming responses show that you value:

1) the person, 2) what he or she has to say, and 3) the interaction. 


Confirming responses show other people that you are listening to them, that you value what they say, and have a positive effect on their sense of self value.




    Direct Acknowledgment: Responding directly to what the other has said.


    Agreement about Judgments: Confirm someone’s evaluation of something.


    Supportive Response: Express reassurance and understanding.


    Clarifying Response: Seeking greater understanding of the other’s message.


    Expression of Positive Feelings: Agree/acknowledge another person’s expressions of joy/excitement.


    Compliment: Expressing liking for something they’ve done, said, etc.



Not in the Text


    Expressions of Direct Interest:  Asking for more information; asking probing questions.  “Tell me more…”


    Reflecting or Paraphrasing:  Feedback in your words what you think the other person has said.  “So what you’re saying is that …..”


    Nonverbal Confirmers:  Good eye contact, body oriented toward the other person, providing full attention, responsive facial expressions and gestures.


    Summarizing:  Provide summaries of what you heard the other person saying to you.


    Statements of Genuine Concern:  Stating that you value and are concerned about the other.