Confirming Behavior

IDevice Icon Definition

Confirming behaviors accept the other person’s identity as legitimate.They send the message that you respect the importance of this person and you respect the person they want to be.

Kenneth Cissna and Evelyn Sieburg (1981, p. 269) stated

"confirming behaviors are those which permit people to experience their own being and significance as well as their connectedness with others."

There are three kinds of confirming behavior: recognition, acknowledgement and endorsement. All three can be used in the same interaction, but to communicate respect, it is essential that you communicate at least one.

IDevice Icon Recognition


Recognition confirms that "You exist for me." "I recognize you as an important person." Recognition can be either verbal or nonverbal.

Nonverbal Recognition -- making eye contact with them when they wish to engage us, touching them when they’ve communicated a need for support, turning to face them when talking.

Verbal Recognition -- We can also use verbal communication to recognize the other, verbally addressing the person.

IDevice Icon Acknowledgement


Acknowledgement, which is usually verbal, is a statement about awareness of or interest in the other person’s perceptions, comments, or questions. For example, after hearing a person express a strong political opinion, you might acknowledge that by saying “You seem to feel strongly on this issue” or “You think that he intended to do that?” or “What did you mean when you said you wouldn’t support that policy?” The key to acknowledgement is that you can acknowledge the person’s perceptions, comments or questions, without agreeing with them.

  • Directly acknowledging the person’s statement or request
  • Asking for clarification
  • Directly acknowledging their feelings

IDevice Icon Endorsement


Endorsement is confirming behavior that sends the message "the way you are feeling is OK, or the way you are perceiving this is OK." It is the strongest level of confirming behavior because it endorses or supports the way they are experiencing the world. Endorsement can be communicated verbally or non verbally.

  • Agreements with Judgments
  • Agreements with Feelings
  • Supportive Response
  • Compliment

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