COVID-19 is affecting everyone in different ways, for a lot of people, it has affected their employment. We want to help you navigate that first conversation or two with a friend who has lost their job so they can feel validated and supported.
1. First things first, don’t be dramatic. Your friend is likely already feeling like the floor has given out below them, telling them that it’s a horrible thing isn’t going to help. You need to help to try defuse tensions, not heighten them.
2. Make sure that you give them space to tell you how they’re feeling. All too often we jump into solution-mode and want to tell someone that they will find a new job soon. It’s essential that you give them space to grieve. Try saying that you’re sorry to hear it, and do they want to talk about it? Give them space to lead the conversation.
3. Listen. The most valuable thing that you can do is actively listen to your friend when they are ready to talk. Make sure you’re listening to hear, and not listening to respond. This isn’t a time for unsolicited advice or anecdotes; it’s a time for kindness and patience.
4. Remember to validate their emotions. It’s expected that someone would feel sad, angry or scared during this time. Don’t rush them into getting over it; let them know that you understand they feel (sad/scared/angry) to acknowledge that you’re genuinely listening to them.
5. Finally, ask them what they need from you. It might just be someone to listen, or it could be advice, but let them guide their needs and be sure to support where you can. When your friend is feeling ready to jump into solution-mode, you can be there. If they want help with finding an income, you can introduce them to any contacts that you might have, help them update their resume or even provide support as they navigate the complicated welfare system.
Sometimes your friend will want nothing more than to feel like their old selves again, so be sure to make the time (social distancing permitting) to do what you usually would, even if it’s via video chat.
It’s going to be a difficult few months for a lot of people, so let’s be kind at every opportunity.
Want more? Click here for How To Land Your Dream Job and Top Tips For Creating The Perfect Resume.