Bad News... How Do You Tell Someone Something You Know They Don't Want To Hear?

Bad News... How Do You Tell Someone Something You Know They Don't Want To Hear?

It is hard being the bearer of bad news, and too often the old adage "shoot the messenger" holds true. There is some news that must be shared, such as a death. But other issues such as an illness, cheating, or a betrayal of sorts, can wait or possibly, never have to be shared.

Of course there is always room to argue whether or not some things should ever be revealed. Should you ever tell your friend that their partner is cheating or a big liar? I guess it depends on the friend, the friendship, and the impact you think the information could have on their life. Some might say you should mind your own business, but this blog is about being there for your friend, and giving them difficult news.

I think that once you decide to tell someone bad news, some planning is required. You will need decide the when, the where, and the how. It is very important to know what you are going to say, and practice a couple of times if possible. Provide as much detail as possible, and allow the receiver of the news to ask questions. Below are some additional recommendations for delivering bad news.

  • Do It In Person
  • Do It In A location That Allows For Privacy
  • Be Empathetic
  • Praise Them, A Betrayal Is Not Their Fault
  • Remember You Are Not The Bad Guy, You Are Doing This For Them
  • Allow Them To Have Their Reaction, But Remember Initial Response May Be Shock Or Denial

The most important thing to remember when delivering bad news is to make the receiver feel supported. Whether they realize it or not at the time, they will need others to lean on to get through a challenging time. Remember to be a good friend, sister, daughter, or partner. At some point in time, we are all the recipient of bad news. Hopefully, we are all fortunate enough to have someone to lean on during those times.

How do you give bad news? Are there some things you just would not want to know? Is ignorance bliss?

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