We agree to abide by these guidelines in order to maintain healthy boundaries for open discussion.

  1. We agree to cultivate empathy for one another with curiosity and wonder; asking open and honest follow-up questions to better understand each other.
  2. We agree that no one is required to share and no one should be called on to share. (Do not take turns or go around the circle giving answers since this could make someone feel obligated to share.)
  3. We agree to share only with “I” statements and only from our own experience. This means we avoid the words “you” or “we.” For example, avoid statements like, “When you try to…” or “We all tend to…
  4. We agree to assume good-faith in one another, giving each other the benefit of the doubt.
  5. We agree to not share anything said by others in the circle with anyone outside the circle. (see Confidentiality Statement)
  6. We agree to allow for silence and to never monopolize the conversation.
  7. We agree to not try to fix, save, persuade, debate, teach, counsel, challenge or change others. (Avoid statements like, “What helped me when I was in your situation was…”)

Additional Agreements

  • Tell the group, in advance, if you will not be able to attend a circle.
  • Before the circle begins, let the group know if you need to leave early.
  • Review the fundamental question and follow-up questions prior to the circle.
  • Arrive before the start time (or log-in to the Google Hangout before the start time).
  • Give one another undivided attention. (No texting, no Facebooking, no side conversations, etc.)
  • Take notes on your own thoughts and feelings.
  • Allow for silent reflection or “lulls” in the conversation.
  • Avoid small-talk and do not allow the conversation to wander off-topic.

Know that it’s possible to leave the circle with whatever it was that you needed when you arrived, and that the seeds planted here can keep growing in the days ahead.”
— Parker Palmer