What to Do When You Get Unexpected Bad News
“The bad news is nothing lasts forever. The good news is nothing lasts forever.” – J. Cole
No one can predict when they’ll receive bad news. It could be they get a phone call or text that a project failed, or an urgent voice mail to call immediately. Sometimes the message is delivered in person, sometimes via impersonal email. Even rarer is the negative news sent via postal mail. No matter how you receive it, bad news is never welcomed. It can, in fact, throw you into an emotional tailspin, stall any motivation or forward momentum, even propel you into making irrational and reactionary decisions. Is there a better way to deal with unexpected bad news? Try these suggestions.
Take a deep breath. You need time to process.
Whether it’s the loss of a loved one or someone you know, learning you’ve just lost your job, suffered a demotion, found out your teenage son or daughter is using drugs, dropped out of school (or been expelled), you’re about to be sued or some other negative news, the first thing you must do is give yourself time to process the unexpected information. Take a few deep breaths and wipe everything from your mind as you calm yourself. This is vital to ensure you don’t make impulsive statements or do something drastic that can further worsen the situation.
Keep your wits about you. Avoid jumping to conclusions.
It’s natural to go to emotional extremes when you receive bad news. All sorts of dire possibilities assail you and you find yourself going to the absolute worst outcome in your mind. Avoid this at all costs, for it does you no good in coming up with an appropriate response and being able to clearly determine what you should do next.
Seek the facts.
While emotions run high and it’s tough to hang onto the facts, this is what you must do. Get the most accurate information possible on what just happened. Go straight to the source to eliminate bias or watered-down information that may be more opinion and hearsay than factual. To properly deal with unexpected negative news, you need to arm yourself with the facts.
Figure out your responsibilities and what you must do.