Have a loved one or a friend who has lost a job?
You want to be supportive, but like many of the other tough times in life, you’re probably not sure what to say or do. Even if you have been through job loss yourself, each person’s experience is different. So while you may have seen that time as a generally positive time full of relaxation and reflection, your loved one may be filled with fear and anxiety or vice versa.
Or, if it is your spouse or significant other who has been impacted, it is very normal for you to be the one who is suffering the most, and you may find your anxiety is not only causing issues for you, but is impacting your relationship and your partner’s ability to move forward.
So what to do or say? While there is no one right thing, here are some alternatives that may give you more tools to be as helpful and supportive as possible.
It’s just a job. You’ll get another.
I know how you feel. You don’t.
How many resumes have you sent out? Contrary to popular belief, sending out zillions of resumes is not productive.
George down the street has been out of work for two years! This is not helpful, and your loved one is not George.
Got a job yet? Many people have told me that this is their least favorite question, the one that keeps them from going to parties, or any other event where they may get asked that question multiple times. One said “If I had a job, don’t you think I would have told you? It puts me in the position of having to “admit my failure-to-date” many times.”
Okay, so what should you say?