Bad News

I root for people. I can say that honestly. I hope everyone reading this finds whatever they want in life. And when I hear otherwise, I feel badly. It’s not anything I can carry around on my shoulders, but it hurts a bit when I hear someone is struggling.

The other day, I watched a really good friend receive really bad news. I was in the room. He got the call. I was just sitting there and the room isn’t that big. I couldn’t reach my headphones fast enough to pretend I was listening to something else. I couldn’t get up and leave in the middle, that would have made it worse.

Here is a guy who has been a really good friend, and somewhat of a mentor to me for a while, and he was getting similar bad news to what I got all last year. Tough to hear. Tougher to see his face. That fresh, raw feeling of sadness. That feeling of disappointment. That feeling that all this hard work is down the drain.

If this news had to happen, I wanted it to happen when I wasn’t in the room. To give him time to make peace with it. To give him time to spin it. To give him time to talk to someone else that knew him a bit better in these situations. Someone else to comfort him.

As you can probably tell from my writings on this blog, I’m rarely short on words or advice. But after he got off the call, I was basically speechless. I told him I was sorry, acknowledged that it sucked. It did. It does. Of course, I wanted to break out some urban samurai rants on him. But it wasn’t the time for healing. It was a time for grieving. I learned at that moment, that you need to sit with grief for a little while, before you can even think about healing.

Now this is a very talented guy. A very successful guy. And the second thing I learned in that moment is that all that success doesn’t matter. Bad news hurts. It hurts me. It hurts you. It hurts Bill Gates. It hurts Kobe Bryant. It hurts Oprah Winfrey. Everyone goes through bad times. And hard times. No matter how great a life you, or someone you only read about, might lead. We all go through hard times. Be sensitive to that especially those friends of yours who appear to you to be ‘on top of the world’ all the time.

He hung up from the bad call. Then he immediately made a phone call afterwards. The person he called wasn’t there. We exchanged a few words. Then a hug. Then he packed up and went home.

Bad news sucks.

After he left I thought about who he called. Maybe it was his wife. Maybe a business colleague. Maybe a brother. I don’t know. I do know that I didn’t deserve to hear that news first. There is that person we all call when we get bad news. That person who is going to make us feel better. That is who should have heard it first. Whoever that person is in your life, call him or her right now and thank them for being a great friend.

It may take a day. A week. Maybe even as long as a month. It’s tough to recover, but we do recover from bad news. So take your time and grieve. Call who you need to call.

You have to remember, that when you’re ready, you need to get yourself up. Or grab my hand and I’ll pull you up. We take time to heal. We don’t need any additional time to wallow.