Active Listening / Proactive Sharing

Creating safe space simply and proactively

Sharing emotions can be scary, but sharing is the only way to feel connected. Let's make it easier for ourselves and our friends to talk about emotions.


One technique is for the Listener, and the other technique is for the Sharer. No matter what role we play, we can be powerful in connecting. These techniques are two of the simplest we can employ to create safe space and connect.

  1. Active Listening
    • Repeating back the Sharer's words
  2. Proactive Sharing
    • Asking for feedback while sharing

Try It Out

Active Listening

Goal: Seek to understand

  1. While the Sharer talks, engage: look at their face, nod your head
  2. When they say something that you suspect might have emotion underneath, find a way to casually repeat what they said back to them.
    • Experiment by finding ways to change their wording in small ways
  3. The Sharer will then tend to naturally correct any mis-understandings you had
    • You are helping them process!

Proactive Sharing

Goal: Get feedback, gain understanding

  1. While sharing, periodically ask for feedback
    • "Am I making sense?"
    • "You know what I mean?"

This encourages the listener to provide active listening. They will often attempt repeating back what you said, to which you can then gauge how clearly you communicated and whether your are understood.