I’m thinking of a word that I would use to describe a situation in which one person (she) is listening to another talk about his problems and instead of shutting him down by saying his feelings are invalid, she just listens and says something like, “Yeah, that must be terrible for you.” (This is a good thing not a bad thing). I was thinking of something along the lines of

She _______ (validated/allowed/sanctioned?) his feelings

I just want to say that she did not deny what he was feeling and didn’t try to tell him not to feel it

closed as unclear what you're asking by AmE speaker, Bread, Nigel J, Edwin Ashworth, David May 15 '18 at 12:37

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  • 'enabling' is a word you might be after but I cannot use it as an answer if your title is 'allowing/sanctioning' . It is used more broadly than conversational support when support may not be the best course. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enabling – Tom22 May 4 '18 at 3:10
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    Wouldn't most people say '... sympathised with how he felt'? – Edwin Ashworth May 14 '18 at 22:43

acknowledge (American Heritage):

a. To express recognition of; make notice of: "When he saw me acknowledge him, he smiled as if we were dear friends" (Angela Patrinos).


I'm not finding a dictionary definition that matches with its current use in this context. This verb is a bit more active than acknowledge. When someone validates your feelings, you don't just get heard, you also get reassurance that your feelings are reasonable and understandable. (With acknowledge, all that happens is that someone took in what you said and confirmed that they heard what you said.

An even more basic option would be:

be heard

This means that someone heard you.


give ear to TFD

give one's ear to someone or something

As in:

I gave an ear to Mary so she could tell me her problems.


affirm - Offer (someone) emotional support or encouragement. (en.oxforddictionaries.com)

The "emotional support" aspect gets mixed up in legal meanings when talking about the word affirm. But this sort of bolstering is affirmation.

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