How to React to Almost Anything
Whether the news is good or bad, how you reply is important! These tips can help improve your responses to anyone—partners, friends, family members, colleagues, or even strangers—and build your relationships.
Think about what the other person is saying. Notice her or his tone of voice. Try to hear—and listen—so you can really absorb the information.
Look up from your phone or computer, so you can face the person. Maintain eye contact and avoid crossing your arms or clenching your fists. Mirror the other person’s facial expressions—smiling or frowning—as appropriate.
React with care.
If someone else’s good news makes you feel jealous, be aware of what you’re feeling. Be mindful of bad news that often can trigger your own feelings of anger, fear, or sadness. Slow down, think, and give a thoughtful response
For good news, show enthusiasm. You might say, “That’s awesome!” Offer congratulations. You might say, “I’m so happy for you!” Ask for details. You might ask, “What was it like?” For bad news, empathize: You might say, “That’s tough, I’m sorry.” Validate: You might say, “It sounds like you’re pretty worried.” Offer support and specific ways to help. You might say, “Why don’t I help you with…?”
Sidestep distractions and give your full attention. Resist the urge to make it about yourself or be a “One-Upper.” Try to be as genuine and real as possible. You might say, “I want to hear all the exciting details!” Skip tough questions that can overwhelm the person or make things worse.