Responding to your Partner’s Charged Feedback: A Compassionate Conversation Response Process

Your partner just shared something with you that felt charged.  What next? 

(This process is not an ‘always’ and for ‘everyone’. It was one I developed with a a few clients who were intentionally exploring how to listen empathically with each other. Forever grateful for the courageous couples who never stop inspiring me.)


Step #1 — Look: Shift Your Attention to Gratitude & to the way they are being with you. 

1. Put your connection first.  Let them know you see them first. Appreciate that your partner shared and name how you see them in this moment. 

     Example: Thank you.  I appreciate that you shared so vulnerably.  I appreciate how loving and courageous you are.   

2. Share the Impact of hearing it.

     That is really meaningful to hear from you.  I want to keep learning from you.         (apology may go here if supportive-). 




Step #2 — Be curious about what is there (your own Monkey Mind might be chattering at you at this stage.  Notice it and return to being willing. 

3. Notice You: breath and also notice your own sensations and thoughts. 

Notice your Partner:  If they have more to add here let them do so.

-check for body language

-do they have more to share?


Step #3 — Tell the Truth: What did or did not actually happen in physical reality

Communicate the content you heard from them and Clarify what needs more understanding.

 4.  Share what you heard your partner say.

 5.  Check whether you acknowledged all the important parts.

Did I get it?  Is there something important that I missed?

6. Partner has time to clarify or add (if needed)

(Possibly repeat step 4 and 5 if new information.)


Step #4— Share your Takeaways & Make a Clear Promise of Your Next  Meaningful Step

7. What I’m learning/ getting from this is…   

8. What is mine to do with this information Now and/or Next Time.. ?

    What I’ll do now is… I’ll complete it by _____date.

OR: Here’s what I’m willing to try out if this kind of thing happens again.  I’ll know I did it because _____

9. Check with your Partner:  How would that be?  How does that sound? 



A few more optional questions here to consider: 


10. Ask for Support:  (from partner, from other resource, set alarm reminder… )

11. Is there a kind of celebration that could take place when it occurs well? 

12. Is there anything else needed now?  Later? Check with them.



Step #5 Close with Gratitude

13. Thank your partner for being in this process together.