The 6 Safest Steps to Telling Bad News
The 6 Safest Steps to Telling Bad News

The 6 Safest Steps to Telling Bad News

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Your score is bad. Or you lose your cellphone, and are afraid to tell your parents. You want to break up with a girlfriend. If you’re honest, you’ll be scolded. If it’s a lie, it’s not good. How are you? It’s a way of telling bad news without over-emotionalizing the other person.

1. Calm down first

You have chosen to be honest. This is the right attitude. If this bad news happened because of you (losing things, not doing your job), you have to be prepared with the consequences. Fatal mistakes, as subtle and as good as they are, will surely have consequences.

2. Just do both

If you want to give bad news, you should tell the people who are interested. If there are other people, I’m afraid that this person will complicate things, and their emotions will get out of control.

3. Start with small talk

Before delivering bad news, you need to start with small talk.

Speak lightly. Its function is to read the emotions of your interlocutor later. If your emotions aren’t good, for example, you’re upset, you may need to postpone telling them about the bad news.

In addition, small talk can reduce anger or emotions from the other person you are talking to later.

4. Be honest, don’t blame other people or circumstances

If this bad news happens because of your actions, for example your grades are bad because you never study, just answer honestly. Likewise if for example your parents are called teachers. If it’s your fault, tell the truth.

If you blame other people, for example blaming the teacher, blaming your boyfriend, blaming the situation, or blaming anything, you look like a coward. Parents also don’t like it when you blame other people.

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Honestly, I was scolded. But if you lie / hide and keep getting caught, the lie is even worse. People prefer to be told the truth. There’s research .

Be honest and admit it. Mention your mistakes anywhere, and face the consequences like an adult .

5. Understand the feelings of others

Another way to tell bad news is to understand the other person’s feelings.

When delivering bad news, there must be a negative reaction from the other person.

For example, if you lose something, your parents might scold you. Behind the anger there is actually a sense of disappointment.

For example, if you tell your parents about your boyfriend, your parents may be angry because they don’t believe you. Or maybe they see that your boyfriend is a bad boy, it’s not true .

For example, if you want to break up with your boyfriend, maybe your girlfriend’s anger is because of… various things. Eh maybe because he thinks you are his soul mate and you are destined to be together. There is a desire to continue to have you, even though the way may be wrong.

Whatever it is, try to understand the basics of why other people get emotional. Imagine if you were your interlocutor. By understanding the other person’s feelings, you will be able to move on to the next stage.

6. Apologize and offer a solution (if this bad news is because of you)

Be quiet and listen to the anger of the other person you are talking to. They deserve to express their emotions first.

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Remember, if you make a mistake, your job is to apologize. Do it as best and sincerely as possible. If your apology is not accepted, that’s their right.

After apologizing, offer a possible solution. For example, you are willing to cut your pocket money so that your cellphone is replaced. Or if because of bad grades, then you offer to take lessons. Show your responsibility.

Or any punishment, as long as you deserve it, then accept it bravely.

Remember, don’t bid!

Well, that was a way of telling bad news. Want to tell your partner, parents, or anyone else, the point is to prepare yourself, tell the truth, admit mistakes, understand the feelings of the other person, and take responsibility.


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Study Sociology at University of Indonesia