Helpful Tips for Delivering Tragic News to Someone

Updated on October 5, 2022
Helpful Tips for Delivering Tragic News to Someone

Life comes with all sorts of ups and downs, and occasionally things such as illness, death, and other unfortunate events will happen. In these cases, we often have to pass on bad news to other family members or loved ones, which can be challenging. However, with some helpful tips for delivering tragic news to someone, you can find a way to do it that works for you.

Prepare in Advance

If you have to tell someone that a loved one is ill or passing, it’s helpful to prepare in advance so that you can decide how you want to deliver the message. Brainstorming ideas and writing things down can be beneficial and allow you to put your thoughts on paper. Think about who you have to tell and what the necessary details are. Try to find a way to say it that is kind and respectful to everyone involved. You can also practice saying it aloud a few times until you find the right words.

Find an Appropriate Time

Finding an appropriate time to deliver this tragic news is also important. Obviously, there’s really no perfect time to give or receive bad news, but there are times that are more appropriate than others. For example, you probably want to avoid telling someone if they are at work, school, or another important engagement. You should find the time when this person is in a place where they feel comfortable and can sit down if they need to. You can also try to create a calm environment so that nothing else distracts from the conversation you will need to have with this person.

Be Straightforward but Empathetic

Another tip that can help you to deliver tragic news is to be straightforward but empathetic. You want to avoid being brash, rude, disrespectful, or hurtful. You have to be clear and straightforward with the information and details of the situation to ensure this person understands what is happening.

However, you also want to have empathy and kindness for this person as you tell them the news. You can let them know that you are sorry this is happening and that you are sad that you have to be the one to share the information with them. Offer your condolences, prepare for whatever reaction this person may or may not have, and let them know that you are there for them during this time.

Following helpful advice for delivering bad news to someone can make this difficult task just a bit easier. From here, it’s important to determine what the next steps are for you, your friends, or your family affected by this tragic news. For example, if the bad news you are delivering relates to an illness, knowing the steps to take after a loved one’s terminal diagnosis can ease you through this difficult experience. Remember to lean on others for help as you navigate the road ahead, even if you are normally the person who lends a shoulder to cry on.