Telling Someone Difficult News About You

When something troublesome or worrisome happens to you (i.e. an unplanned pregnancy, the need to enter rehab, a decision to quit a job, or being fired), you may experience a variety of feelings that could make it difficult for you to share your troubles with others. You might feel embarrassed, sad, worried, or confused about what has happened. It can be scary telling someone about a situation because the people you are telling may have set values and beliefs about the issue that could affect their reaction. Being unsure of how people may react may also make it hard to tell someone what is going on for you. All these thoughts and feelings are normal. It may be important to let people you trust know what is happening. They may be able to help you and support you. You may also feel a sense of relief after telling someone.

Find support. Having someone you can talk to about your situation can help you gain the confidence you need to tell others.

Be aware of timing. If possible, try to choose a time when the people you’re telling are relaxed or not preoccupied with something else that is going on.

Be knowledgeable about the situation. Knowing your options about the situation can help you answer questions and help you avoid stereotypes.

Understand your feelings. By taking the time to work out how you feel about the situation and your needs for the future, you can make it easier for you to tell someone else.

Cope with others’ reactions. Everyone has a different way of coping when they hear upsetting news. If people react negatively, try to remember that it might be because they were unprepared for the news and might need time to think. In time, they may be ready to ask you questions, listen to answers, and acknowledge your feelings. It might also be important to explain things to them a few times as they may not have heard it the first time.


Acknowledgement: This fact sheet was originally developed by youth and staff at, a website that helps teens get through tough times. 


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