DEAR MISS MANNERS: In the circumstance where someone suffers a horrific and life-altering medical event, is it ever OK for someone who is not a close friend or family member to relay the message?
When such an event occurs in my family, I prefer others to spread the news in order to take it off of our hands, so we may grieve and heal. However, when I am privy to such information that has yet to make its way around, I am highly reluctant to share with the uninformed parties.
Is there a “proper” way to go about this?
GENTLE READER: Give, or get, permission.
If the news is yours to give, and you would prefer someone else did the honors, then designate a close friend or relative to do so, specifying (and prioritizing so as not to overburden them) who would most need to hear it. If the information is given to you, ask if it would be helpful to tell others, and which ones.
Miss Manners has no doubt that circumstances and individuals will vary widely in either situation. Having good intentions and using tact and discretion will help in figuring out who prefers what methods for spreading unfortunate news, but it is wise to ask.