How to react and respond to disappointing news

Once you first encounter it, unhealthy news could appear, nicely, unhealthy. Nonetheless, unhealthy news is essential to taking measured and deliberate motion and making progress in your profession and life.

However there are some proper and fallacious methods to give unhealthy news, obtain unhealthy news, and respond to unhealthy news. Science offers some essential insights on these specifics:

  • Sequence. Primarily based on a study at the University of California, Riverside, there’s a mismatch between our preferences for a way unhealthy news is delivered relying on whether or not we’re on the giving or receiving finish. After we give others unhealthy news, we normally choose to begin with positivity and observe it up with the powerful stuff. However after we obtain news, we’d fairly obtain unhealthy data first.
  • Velocity. In accordance to research by Brigham Young University, after we obtain unhealthy news, we might fairly the particular person giving us the knowledge reduce proper to the chase and not strive to cushion, pad, or preach.
  • Sensitivity. Within the College of California, Riverside examine, consultants discovered that past the sequence and pace of delivering updates, sensitivity issues most. The actual scenario, particular person, and nature of the knowledge ought to dictate how the news is delivered.
  • Stress. Surprisingly, a study by University College London found stress or nervousness helps us course of unhealthy news. As well as, a study at the University of Kansas discovered an emotional state within the face of problem contributes towards studying and enchancment. Researchers imagine it is because pressure places us on larger alert and causes us to tune in intently—and due to this fact course of unhealthy news extra completely.

No matter the way you give or obtain unhealthy news, it has has implications and key advantages on what kind of motion you are taking afterwards.

Responding in a means to construct resilience

There’s a profit to in search of out and brazenly taking in numerous sorts of knowledge (even that which doesn’t align with our opinions). It is because information and data lead to perception. The extra conscious you’re of various types of data, the higher you’ll be able to respond. It could sound like a easy means to keep away from burying your head within the sand, however the actuality is it may be unexpectedly advanced to take up completely different sources of data.

People choose readability and certainty, and we keep away from uncertainty and ambiguity. Consequently, we might keep away from new data or maintain blinders on with out even recognizing we’re doing it. Remind your self about how vital it’s to keep knowledgeable and conscious. The one means you’ll be able to regulate your actions is by absolutely realizing the scenario round you.

When you’re typically staying open to all data, be certain to additionally search for concepts outdoors your consolation zone. Staying conscious of data that doesn’t match your present opinions, will provide help to acquire perspective and study extra broadly. Additionally be certain to search for some good to go together with the unhealthy. It may be tempting to spend a Sunday afternoon doomscrolling on social media. However push your self to discover constructive views and steadiness the knowledge you’re in search of. Multiple points of view may help you perceive a scenario extra fully and due to this fact, act extra correctly.

Embracing ‘unhealthy’ suggestions about your self

As well as to searching for loads of data to deepen context, be open to details about your self. Ask colleagues for suggestions or request relations let you know what they assume. The constructive intention you had on your habits might not translate to others as you want—and chances are you’ll find yourself shocked once you actions have a unfavorable influence. Dangerous news will not be essentially hurtful, on this context. Like constructive suggestions, it will possibly provide help to enhance and make extra clever selections.

Sharing your objectives with trusted mates or household may help you study faster. Maybe you need to be assertive and converse up in conferences, however your coworker lets you’re nonetheless coming off as comparatively meek and shy. Maybe you need to be beneficiant and swish, however your loved ones factors out you’re usually impolite to waiters or store clerks. Whereas this type of data could be powerful to hear, it will possibly provide help to develop into the particular person you most need to change into.

Sharing data as early as doable

When you’ve gotten unhealthy news to share with others—both a couple of scenario or their habits—it’s smart to share it as rapidly as doable and face-to-face—even if you happen to’re on video fairly than in-person. When individuals hear unhealthy news sooner fairly than later, they’re in a position to put it in context, perceive it, and then take motion. This studying course of helps everybody clear up issues, improvise, and enhance for the longer term. Furthermore, you don’t need to delay passing alongside unhealthy news, because it won’t boring its influence; extra doubtless, the opposite particular person will marvel why you waited and really feel the sting extra acutely.

Dangerous news is tough to hear and demanding to share, however it’s vital means to make private progress and construct resilience, so embrace it in its many varieties and share it brazenly.


Tracy Brower, PhD, is a sociologist targeted on work, employees, and office, working for Steelcase. She is the creator of  The Secrets to Happiness at Work.