Non-Defensive Responding

There are different definitions of reflecting used in other approaches. Let me define reflecting in the approach I use. This kind of reflecting is a non-defensive response. Reflecting kicks The Defensiveness out of The Conversation; And out of The Relationship.

Using The speaker’s Words

Use only the words and phrases the speaker uses. Do not rephase in your own words. Simply reflect back what they said.

Change Pronouns

When the speaker says ‘I’, reflect that back as ‘you’. That’s because they are speaking about themselves. So you change the pronouns.

Example A

Speaker: I went to the beach.

Receiver: You went to the beach.

Example B

Speaker: You told me to leave.

Receiver: I told you to leave.

Rock Solid Relationships | Reflecting


Reflecting is a non-defensive response. You simply reflect back what The Speaker is saying. You do not react.

Tell yourself that you are just helping The Speaker to feel heard.

Tell yourself that you do not own what they say. You do not have to believe what they say. You do not have to correct what The Speaker says. You only have to help them feel heard. That’s all.

Practice Reflecting

To start practicing reflecting, ask the ‘two consent questions’.

  • Is now a good time to talk?
  • Can I be The Speaker? (Or, will you be The Speaker).

Pass the batton after you have had your turn.

  • Will you have a turn as The Speaker? (Or, can I be The Speaker).

Practice every day for 15 minutes. Perhaps you’ll help your partner to feel heard. This may bring goodwill to The Relationship.

When to Reflect

You become aware that something has entered the relationship and you choose to be non-defensive. This awareness is helpful. When anger, frustration, dissappointment or any difficult emotion seems to be present, you can choose a non-defensive response. Just reflect. Help your partner to feel heard.

Use reflecting often, daily.