Talking to a Jobless Friend


Talking to a friend who has lost their job (or even if you are that person who lost your job) can be quite challenging at times. In either circumstance, it’s difficult to gauge what to say and what not to say. Here are a few tips to help guide your conversation along in a more positive manner.

If your friend has lost their job:

  1. Don’t constantly ask if they’ve found a job yet.

  2. Don’t say “it will be all right” because to them until they find a job – it won’t be all right.

  3. Don’t project your personal feelings about unemployment onto your friend.

  4. Don’t develop the “Survivor Syndrome” – feeling guilty because you’re still employed then worrying that you’ll be next. You’ll both end up in despair.

  5. Do realize that many people will experience the same stages of grief as losing a loved one. This includes mourning, denial, and possibly even depression.

  6. Do be sensitive when you are talking about your life, especially if things are going well.

  7. Do give tangible support such as jobs leads and references. Just be sure you ask first.

  8. Do attempt to talk about something else other than jobs and unemployment.

If you have lost your job:

  1. Don’t guilt your friends into helping you find a job, get referrals, or pass your resume on.

  2. Don’t take your frustrations out on your loved ones.

  3. Do get out and network. It's a good idea to attend free or low cost events. It's a great way to develop good leads.