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“Don’t Rain on My Parade!”

November 27, 2015

When you get some good news, of course you want to shout it from the rooftops! You’re brimming with excitement, bursting with pride, and looking for someone to share it with.

Researcher, Christopher Langston, refers to the sharing of good news as “capitalization,” where your feelings of positivity are intensified each time you do it. The more you share your news, the more vivid and memorable it becomes. What you don’t always think about, though, is how other people are going to react to it and how their reactions will effect you.

Research by Shelly Gable, identified four possible types of response: active-constructive, passive-constructive, active-destructive, and passive-destructive. I’ve experienced all of these first-hand when sharing good news…

I was promoted once, and I was delighted! I’d been in the team a while and had worked hard. I couldn’t wait to tell everyone.

“That’s amazing! I’m so pleased for you! Let’s go for a drink at lunch!” was one of my colleague’s responses. She’d mentored me when I first joined the team, had helped me to get to grips with the job, and had always been on call if I ever needed any help. Her response was active-constructive. I felt like she was genuinely happy that my hard work had been recognized and rewarded.

Another co-worker’s reaction was, “That’s good,” before immediately turning back to his computer and continuing with what he was doing. I hadn’t had many exchanges with this colleague, other than when attending some of the same team meetings. He always seemed to be engrossed in his work, or panicking about his deadlines. His reaction was passive-constructive. He appeared briefly pleased, but it didn’t seem like he wanted to engage in my conversation.

One team member warned me, “I wouldn’t get too excited, I think the list is going to be sold soon, anyway.” She happened to have been in my role before I was, but she’d decided to move to another part of the company because she didn’t find it challenging enough. Her comment was active-destructive. I felt like she didn’t appreciate me sharing my news. Perhaps she was wishing that she’d stayed in the role and had been given the promotion herself?

Another colleague replied with, “Mmm… Anyway, did you manage to find that email I was asking you about earlier?” He’d been on the team for the same length of time as me. Perhaps he was annoyed that he hadn’t been offered a promotion too. His reaction was passive-destructive. It made me feel like he didn’t have the time to listen to my news, and that he didn’t care about it either.

I wasn’t prepared for all of these reactions. I realized that some of my colleagues would be more enthusiastic about my news than others, but I wasn’t expecting any of them to have such a negative impact on me. Should I have shared my news in the way I did? Should I have expected everyone to share in my happiness? Did I come across as over-confident and boastful?

Everyone has their own perspective on your news and it’s reflected in their reaction. It’s important not to let this take the positive shine off it for you, though. Whatever reaction you’re confronted with, try to stay positive, and try to think about why they might be reacting in this way.

Today’s article talks about how other people can react to your good news, how to deal with their responses, and how you can react to theirs positively, regardless of your opinion.

Have you ever been surprised by someone’s reaction to your good news? How did it make you feel? Have you ever reacted to someone else’s news in a way that you regret? Join in the discussion below!

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