• Catherine Hansen

How do you respond to good news?

Have you ever shared really good news with someone, only to have them respond negatively or ignore you completely? Not only is it a complete buzzkill to your mood and dampens whatever goods news you shared, but it can be detrimental to your relationship with that person.


We're all guilty of this—we're only human!


I remember times when I've brushed off my child's energetic presentation of an incomplete cartwheel or I've been so eager to share my own good news that I interrupt a friend's news. And although it's not done purposefully, responding in this way can negatively impact your relationships.


Theoretical framework presented by psychologist Shelly Gable states that there are 4 ways we respond to good news, represented below in this matrix from Human Performance Technology.

The example above is of a wife sharing the good news of a promotion with her husband, but can work with any example, ie. reaching a professional milestone, sharing details of a fantastic date, or sharing excitement around shaving a few seconds off of an average run pace.

  • active–constructive (e.g., enthusiastic support)

  • passive–constructive (e.g., quiet, understated support)

  • active–destructive (e.g., demeaning the event)

  • passive–destructive (e.g., ignoring the event).


Can you think of examples where you've been met with a demeaning response in reply to your good news? Can you think of a time when a friend has show enthusiastic support? I can think of a few personal examples and they are completely different experiences and elicit polar opposite emotions when I think back on them!


According to Gable, "Active and constructive responding is the most effective way to respond, giving both the deliverer of good news and the listener a positive outcome." I'll share some of those positive outcomes with you next week! Until then, take notice of the different responses you receive (and give!) in your everyday life.