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By Lisa Cypers Kamen

Receiving bad news is never easy. How can you make it a little more smooth when you are about to receive bad news?

Prepare yourself to feel badly.

Set the context.

Deliver the bad news clearly.

Stop. When a person receives bad news, they always have some kind of reaction. Some cry. Some get angry. Some sit quietly in numbed shock. Some refuse to believe what they’ve been told.

Ask if there are questions.

Never destroy hope… except for one thing: if you destroy a person’s hope for a good outcome, they’ll suffer far more on the way to whatever bad outcome may be in store for them than if they’d had the opportunity to approach it full of hope.

  1. Write your questions down. Once the shock of hearing the bad news wears off—usually after they’ve returned home—many questions typically arise.
  2. Tell your family. People frequently struggle with this, often thinking first of the impact their illness will have on their loved ones rather than themselves, and seek to insulate their family from the news.
  3. Prepare yourself for what comes next. It may be more testing. It may be treatment. It may be both. It may be neither. At least while you’re engaged in treatment you’re doing something active, fighting the diagnosis.

All of us will receive bad news—devastating news—in the course of our lives, if we haven’t already.

Independent filmmaker, author, happiness coach and speaker Lisa Cypers Kamen creates these blogs to entertain, enlighten and educate us as we each undertake our own personal search for happiness.  Happiness is an Inside Job. To contact Lisa, email her directly at and check out her websites at & .

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