How To Give Bad News

So, giving bad news sucks. It really does. No one likes to receive bad news and I think sometimes, it’s even worse to be the person who has to tell the bad news.

So, in most scenarios, people like to balance bad news with good news.

For instance; “I bought us tickets to that concert you’ve been dying to go to! But, I have to cancel our date on Tuesday!”

See, good news trumps bad news. Yet, somehow, I feel like the person is still a little disappointed.

But, I have this theory that bad news should be prefaced by worse news. The worse news should be fake, of course.

For instance, “Mom, I’m pregnant… Just kidding! I dented the bumper of the car while I was reversing out of the driveway.”

See. It’s like, super bad news, and then you take that back and replace it with something drastically less horrible. That way, you’ve actually alleviated some of the disappointment. You actually probably provided the bad news receiver with some relief. You also did a favor by not trying to make up for the terrible news; because say you did dent the bumper, how the hell are you going to make up for that when you’re broke and unemployed? Doing dishes or making dinner for a week just don’t seem to cut it.

As the great Amy Pohler once sing-songed: “lower your expectations.”

PS, Mom, I’m not pregnant and I didn’t dent the car. Well, I mean, I did dent the car, but that was ages ago, and has since been reviewed and reconciled. I haven’t actually been near the car in 6 months, so if there’s a dent now, I’m all out Shaggy on this one. It wasn’t me.


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