The important thing to remember when attempting to break bad news to someone, is to properly cushion it.
For example, telling someone bad news as they're being attacked by several tazmanian devils is probably not the most sound idea.
Three steps should be taken when attempting to break bad news.
- The first precaution is to make sure that your life will not be in danger when the undivulged information is made common knowledge. For instance, if this person is known to chuck mayonaise at the bearers of bad news, go ahead and tell them. No serious harm will come to you. However, if this person is famous for shooting poisonous darts at people who deliver undesirable news, run to a small meadow and hide in a prairie dog hole.
- The second precaution is to lead into the bad news. It is nearly never a good idea to start talking about French philosophers, and then tell the person that their pet newt died. If you start by talking to them about a book in which the main character's pet newt dies, and then follow-up with the news about their pet newt, it makes it easier. Good luck finding said book, though.
- Lastly, relate the bad news for the person to something that happened to you. One should not say--for instance--"You know what really bites? I accidently made you computer crash." Not only is it mean, it's also serverely lacking tact. One may say, "Last week, my nightlight burnt out...today, your computer crashed." The person will then know that you truly care!
If these simple rules have been followed, you should have no problem breaking the bad news to anyone!