• Shruti GOCHHWAL

What Is Active Constructive Responding?

“People may forget what you said — but they will never forget how you made them feel.” — Carl W. Buehner

There is a huge importance to communication in our lives. Active Constructive responding is a better way of communication which helps strengthens a relationship. Learn more!

What Is Active and Constructive Responding (ACR)?

Active and constructive responding (ACR) is one of the ways how we respond to the good news. The concept of active and constructive responding was proposed by psychologist Shelly Gable. ACR is an effective way of how you react positively to a speaker. Both the speaker and listener are on a positive vibe.

Example of Responding To a Situation

If your partner tells you that he is planning to start a new business, there are several ways how you can respond to the question.

Active Constructive Response

Active constructive response

A woman responding happily, Credits: pexels


Response: Ah, it is a great idea hubby! You hold lots of potential and ideas in your core and your business can turn to a success. I wish you good luck and I am happy to support you in all possible ways.

So this response is active constructive responding. The receiver enjoys the news and extends her joy in the initiation of a new thing.

Characteristics: Very actively participate in the conversation with excitement and enthusiasm. The whole conversation is pleasant to the speaker and listener. The listener tries to extend the joy and tries to refill the happy moment.

Body language:Orientated into the conversation, an increase in movement/hand gestures.

Maintains eye contact, genuine smile, touching, and laughing.

Passive and Constructive Response

Response: That’s good that you are into a new venture.

The response is passive and constructive responding. The receiver of the news seems happy, but the response and reaction are not elaborate and the feedback is not very positive.

Characteristics:Passively involved, little enthusiasm

Body Language:A head nod and a gentle smile, no active emotional expression

Active and Destructive Response

Active destructive response

A discussion, Credits: pexels


Response: Oh! That’s Ok. I doubt whether it will work. Starting a business is not a joke. It requires huge investments and risks. Think again!

This type of response is an active and destructive response. The response is elaborative but in destructive mode.

characteristics:Points out the problems of the situation, creates doubt about the decision, kills the excitement of the good news.

Body language: Reactive or aggressive, authoritative movements, frowning

Passive Destructive Response

Response: Oh! Ok. So shall I prepare for your dinner?

This response is a passive destructive response. The total mood is spoiled and there is no reaction to the good news at all.

Characteristics: Does not involve in the conversation, changes the topic of the conversation

Body Language: Looks at watch, sighs, turning away, and leaving the room

What Are The Benefits Of ACR?

ACR helps strengthens a relationship

A happy couple, Credits: pexels


  1. ACR helps maintain a healthy and strong relationship.

  2. ACR can increase trust, and decrease loneliness.

  3. If you maintain an ACR, you appear positive and people will love to talk to you and interact.

  4. The more positive you communicate the more active and positive your life is.

  5. You are wholeheartedly happy about other’s success and this can strengthen your bond and image.

  6. Concerning relationship, ACR can increase marital satisfaction, increase intimacy, and commitment to the relationship. It also increases the stability of the relationship.

How A Negative Response Can Affect Your Brain?

The amygdala, is the most primitive part of our brain, that responds to our physical and emotional safety. A negative response can lead to disconnect and mistrust.

Also, experiences causing negative emotions trigger a fight-or-flight survival response in the brain. A negative response cause distraction, fear, angry, and dampens confidence.

Active Constructive Responding Log

Always try to maintain an active constructive response. If you are not practicing, try doing it and see the amazing things happening in your life. You can try the following.

Take-Home Message

Active constructive responding is a communication skill that can improve your relationships.

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