The purpose of this tool is to bring deeper connection in your relationships by helping you really understand the other person’s words and feelings.

When responding to the person who is sharing, try using individual feeling words as much as possible rather than long, wordy explanations in your attempt to let them know you understand them.

Please do your best to avoid giving advice or fixing problems. There is a time for problem solving, but for the sake of this tool’s purpose - listening and under- standing - this is not it.

*If you are new at practicing this tool, we recommend that you use non-volatile issues; don’t bring up unresolved problems in your relationship [or marriage].


  1. Person A, briefly describe one part of an issue, 10-20 seconds maximum.

    Talk about something of importance to you that is unresolved. It could be about work, family or any other situation or issue of significance to you.

  2. Person B, listen for what Person A is saying and feeling.

    • Once you have responded, ask for feedback to find out how closely you understood Person A.

    • If you understood accurately, Person A should let you know that they felt understood by you. If you did not understand accurately, ask for more explanation (10-20 seconds maximum) and try responding again.

    • Continue this process until Person A can say, “Yes, you understand me and know how I’m feeling.”

    • Do not let offense in if it takes you several tries! Remember this is about understanding Person A, not about you getting it wrong or right.


  3. Person B, ask Person A to let you know how it felt to be listened to and understood.