A new study from Brigham Young University has concluded that there’s really only one good way to tell someone horrible news: just spill it, directly.
Two professors at BYU and University of South Alabama administered a study in which 145 graduates imagined themselves in two different scenarios while receiving bad news: one in which they were told indirectly (hearing some nice compliments and small talk before learning the truth) and directly (just immediately receiving the bad news.) The situations were moments like experiencing a break-up or being told you have cancer.
The students were then asked which scenario was “least bothersome” and overwhelming preferred the scenarios in which they were told the bad news directly. “If your house is on fire, you just want to know that and get out,” one study author Manning told the Washington Post. “Or if you have cancer, you’d just like to know that. You don’t want the doctor to talk around it.”
Because even those giving the bad advice might want to pad out the info with apologies and explanations, those receiving the advice really just want it immediately: