And now, a great guest entry from Ellen on how to not make things tougher on a friend who is unemployed and looking for a job. Ellen?
Say “how are you?” just as you would with any other person, then let him bring it into the conversation. As with any life adversity, sometimes people want to discuss their problems, and sometimes they just want to talk about what a trainwreck “Smash” is.
Sympathize first, then suggest. Unless you’re at a job hunting workshop, he probably wants to vent more than he wants criticism, even constructive criticism. Sometimes it helps just to voice the obvious: “That sucks and I’m sorry.”
Don’t say “Have you found a job already?” This sets up the expectation that he should have one by now and the sense that he is disappointing you if that’s not the case.
Don’t say “Well, maybe it’s for the best!” This is naive and could be perceived as not taking your friend’s issue seriously.
If they change the subject, go along with it. Remember that he’s your friend first and a statistic second.