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.


         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.



         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.

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.


         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.



         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.