Delivering sad news is pretty tough, and not just on the person you’re dropping it on too. It’s hard for you to give news that you know will change some ones thoughts, moods, emotions and even life for a while.
I know this, I hear you, and I feel for you, and also the ones that will soon hear the news. It will be hard for you, but the delivery of this can have a great calming influence on the result.
After the shock of the news, the one(s) involved usually replays what was said in their heads (or most do anyway), and if you say something not of true nature, or something that is from a selfish point of view, it can hinder the healing process for them in many ways.
As hard as it is for you, this news isn’t about you now, it is about how you deliver it, and how you can make it easier on the ones involved.
The thing here is not to get too worried about what you are going to say. We can’t really read a letter out whilst standing in front of people (well we can but it would come better without), but we can say something from the heart.
Although we cannot script word for word what we would like to say in an ideal situation, we can look at the ones involved and ask ourselves how they would want to hear this news. How you see things could be entirely different to how others see things, so instead of thinking about how you can tell this news, try to think about how they would like it to be delivered.
Please take a pen and paper, and write down the name(s) of the person you are going to tell these truths to. Next to the name, write the news in one sentence.
Now look at what you’ve written and ask yourself:
How would they like the news to be delivered?
Where would they like the news to be delivered to them?
Write all of the things down that come into your head.
Would they like to be in their own home so that they can cry if they need to cry?
Holding their hand for comfort?
Would they like you to explain in thorough detail or just the core facts?
Would they like a family member to hand?
Having an indication how they will react, would they like to be alone after the news, or with someone if not you?
Would they benefit from some form of counseling/self-help?
Please write down your answers.
Now you have an idea of how you are going to say this. Knowing this person, do you feel that what you have written is the best way? Is there anything else that you can do, to make the delivery easier on them?
OK, now onto timing.
Make sure that your timing is right, i.e not straight after a stressful day at work, or an outing with all the kids, a time when you are both relaxed, sat down and in a peaceful mood.
Now on to you…
If your news is something that will enhance your own life, such as a new job and move to another country, as happy as you feel, you will need to tone it down for a while, after the news is given. This means holding back your excitement for some days, until you can see the person you’ve delivered to, coming around from the news and ready to ask you positive questions about it. After the news, after the absorption of it all, when the questions start to fire at you, this is a time to turn up the happy tone ever so slightly with positive answers.
Try your hardest to give positive answers rather than negative ones.
When delivering your news, try and mirror their body language slightly so that they know you are really engaging with them, and they have your full attention, which they will probably need.
I.e. – If they are leant forwards with their elbows on their knees, you could also lean forwards and put your hands on your knees instead. If they are sat back, you could sit back.
Staying with the person:
Instead of delivering the news and then doing a runner (which can have a huge impact on a person, because they may need to talk it through, to get it clear in their head) stay and do whatever this person wants from you. Stay strong in your mindset and do not crumble with negative emotions such as guilt, sorrow or disappointment for yourself. Stay strong for them, and do what they need you to do. As painful or awkward as this is, it could make a real difference in the healing process, and they will hopefully have a better outcome.
Tell the truth.
Do not drop news and then go back on your word, if they want you to do something differently than what you have delivered.
I.e. – you’re breaking up with someone and they talk you round into staying in the relationship. You are only putting off today what you want to do tomorrow. Stay strong and if they keep on persuading you otherwise, keep on giving them the same delivery line, that you first gave them.
“I’m breaking up with you”
“But why, we have so much to give each other.” (Reaches in for a kiss to change your mind)
“I’m breaking up with you, I’m so sorry”
And so on.
This sounds harsh, but the more they here the one same line, the more it will sink in, and they can start to accept this.
Offering your condolences and services: Always, always offer your condolences as much as possible. Too much is never enough, offer any services that you can, and really think about how you can lighten the blow. It isn’t always just the news, but the timing and all the things that surround it. There isn’t really any great time to be the bearer of sad news, but we can try to make it softer, by choosing a time that is right for them, choosing a place that is right for them, offering to be there for them, without running away, asking them what they would like you to do to help, even though you may be the last person they want, at least you have offered and they will look back at this time and remember that your actions were kind.
Look at your surroundings, even if soft lights and a nice cup of tea will help. Set the stage but don’t set it too much, as the person will suspect you’re acting differently. What do people usually do when they hear sad news?
Cup of tea/coffee?
Phone a family member or friend.
Have these two things to hand.
When you are trying to impress someone, you make all efforts, this is the same. You are still making the efforts which they deserve, don’t stop now just because the news is sad instead of good, news is news, and people are people. This person will eventually look back on this and see that you made an effort with your delivery. It wasn’t as cold as it could have been, because you tried to soften the blow by showing that you care about their feelings at this vulnerable time.
Although no one in the world likes truths that hurt, they are still truths, and with truth comes respect. The best delivery is the hardest one, THE TRUTH. Tell them as much truth as they need to know, hold their hand if possible and tell them what you have to. The longer you try to flower it up, the harder it will become, so, in the environment that you have created, tell them that you have something to say (in your own way) and tell them that you will still be there for them. This, I feel, is a good way of letting them know that you are still around. The shock of news is hard, but the shock of losing someone forever is a double blow, so by telling them that you will always be there, you are telling them that you are not running away from this, even if this news is a parting, you can still support the parting.
Once you have given your news, you have done what you had to. Now it is time to be there for them. Whatever reaction they give you, is out of love for you, so do not be upset by what is given, it is their way of expressing hurt. This is the only way they know how. Be there for them, let them go through the process of shock, anger, rage, questions, whatever it is that they have to go through, be there, stay with them, if you can, and go through it with them. Try not to say or do too much, after the blow, just be present and willing to give as much comfort and love as humanly possible, to get them through this news.
What comes next is whatever you both (all) decide, but always leave this situation with understanding, love and support for them. Do not leave in a rage (this is not your time, it is theirs), and no matter how much they shout at you, you must stay calm and be there for them, even after the event.
If your news is truth and it needs to be shared, then you’re doing the right thing.
Once you are single
Girl Next Door Books
Books for every emotion
“A friend for every difficult experience in your life”
Follow us to lift your mood @girlnextdoorbooks (instagram logo/facebook logo)
Regular self-help videos, tips and support at – girlnextdoorbooks.com
again, you will feel the relief that you are back in sync with the world and how your life should be.
For more support after your break-up, visit girlnextdoorbooks.com
Sending peace and love to your soul.