When someone shares good news with you – and yes, even now we occasionally have good news – how do you respond? Let’s say a colleague got a promotion, your sister decided to buy a new dog or your child found a worm in the dirt. To them, this is good news. They’re happy and want to share their joy so badly.
You have four options to respond and yes, there’s one in there that’s the best. But see for yourself.
Option 1: Responding to good news with mild interest.
The colleague-scenario goes something like this:
Colleague: “Hey, have you heard? I got that new job I applied for. I’m so excited, can’t wait to start.”
You: “Oh, that’s nice. I’m happy for you.”
Option 2: Not responding to good news at all.
The child scenario may play out this way.
Child: “Mommy, mommy, look what I found. It’s still alive. Look how it moves. It’s only a worm, but it can do all kinds of things!”
You: “Have you done your homework yet? You know you need to be ready by dinner time.”
Option 3: You respond to good news with concern. Out of love, of course.
The sister scenario might look something like this:
Sister: “Hey, I’ve finally decided to get a new dog. Next week I’m going to the shelter to see which one I can take in, I already ordered some toys online. This will be so cool!”
You: “Is this a good idea? Will you even have the time to care for it properly? I can imagine this is quite a burden given all the other things you have going on.”
What happened here?
You clearly have no immediate stake in any of these examples and none of these impact you negatively as such. Maybe you’re jealous of your colleague, are genuinely concerned for your sister or really just want your child to do its part (after all, you had a really stressful day at work). But may I suggest that none of these are reasons to react in a way that puts you over their joy and over your relationship. Just reading through those examples you probably noticed ow they all feel differently.
In fact, Option 2 is the worst. If you share good news with someone and they immediately change the subject makes you feel unseen, undervalued and unimportant. It hurts.
That’s why I challenge you to get over your ego (and let it be about them) and get real with the time (it won’t hold your day up for too long) and choose Option 4.
Option 4: Responding to good news with enthusiasm and great interest.
Here are some suggested responses to the previous scenarios:
“This is really great! [smile] When will it start? Who will you be working with? What are you most looking forward to?”
“Oh, that’s lovely, worms are so important to keep the soil in our garden fresh. Where did you find it? Where shall we put it next?”
“So good! You’ve been wanting this for a while now – what shelter are you going to? Tell me what day will look like when the dog is here? Do you need my help figuring out any of the logistics?”
Small adjustment to your response, huge effect on your relationship and how the other feels.
Try it out!
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