Breaking Bad News: 10 Tips For Doing It Right

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Breaking bad news to someone is never easy

Breaking bad news to someone is never easy. It is tough to inform people about some bad news. A piece of bad news can affect different people differently. It can send a person into trauma or make the day dull. But bad news must be conveyed as it holds more importance than good news. 

In bad times people need more help, and that’s why bad news holds more importance. However, bad news must not be broken immediately. There are ways to tell bad news, which we will discuss in this article. Read the article till the end to get an idea about how to inform others about some bad news.

10 Tips to Break a Bad News:

  1. Stipulate and Try to Manage Expectations: Everybody has a different reaction to bad news. Some might be more affected, whereas others will have a minimal response. If you are going to break the bad news to someone, you must know that person closely. You have an idea about their temperament and reaction. Monitor these things closely before informing others about bad news.
  2. Plan a Set-Up: You cannot deliver bad news to someone suddenly. You need to do proper settings before providing the information. Call the other person to a spot, or go to their home for a personal meeting. Before the meeting, the concerned people ask them about their whereabouts. Analyze their situation before taking your next step.
  3. Be Straightforward: Don’t drill around the topic. Meet the person and tell the news directly. This method is less heartbreaking for a few people. Also, being straightforward in such situations is always appreciated. 
  4. Give Proper Detail of the Background: After giving the bad news, tell the person about the story’s background. When you inform someone about something, that person becomes curious about knowing the background of the story. Tell them in detail as you must know about it.
  5. Sit Down and Speak: Sit down with the person you will give bad news. Sitting on something has two advantages. First, the person receiving the news might faint after listening to the information, making it easy for you to handle them. The second advantage is that when people listen to bad news, they become unconscious and become out of control. While sitting, you can manage them easily. 
  6. Be Careful of Your Physical Position: While sitting with an aggrieved person, you must keep in mind your physical position. You can act as a barrier for that person emotionally and physically. When a person loses his cool, try to sit beside the person feeling the pain. You can console them personally by doing so. 
  7. Separate yourself from the Message: The person you deliver the message to might release his frustration with you. It is very common in such situations. To avoid this situation, separate yourself from the message. This can put you in a comfortable position and help you stand with the aggrieved person emotionally.
  8. Show Your Sympathy: Being sympathetic to the other person is the best thing you can do. Show your sympathy after breaking the bad news. It is the least you can do for the other person. Maybe the technical matter of the news is such that it can damage the other person emotionally. Analyze the situation and show your sympathy accordingly.
  9. Reframe the Situation: Maybe you don’t remember the lousy situation exactly. You can reframe the situation to depict the whole story in such instances. A story tells precisely what happened. So if you don’t remember the exact story, restructure it or reframe it as per the requirement. But don’t miss out on the actual facts of the story.
  10. Offer Solution: If you have a solution for the problem or the ‘bad news, tell it to the aggrieved person. This is the best way to share the pain with the other person. Resolving another person’s problem is always appreciated. 

The bad news must be told to other people in a balanced environment. This is because you don’t know what would be the reaction of the opposite party. 

This is why a balanced environment and circumstance are always required to break bad news.


Every news story has some background. While you break the bad news to someone, understand the situation well. We are social beings and full of emotions. After listening to bad news, the emotional breakdown is necessary as the feeling must be reflected to regain mental stability. While breaking bad news, keep the above points in your mind. It will help you to inform the information easily as well.